By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA — The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, yesterday, raised the alarm over the erosion of Yoruba culture by what he called received religions of Islam and Christianity.
The first class monarch explained that both religions had portrayed the Yoruba values and traditions include traditional names and celebrations as evil, satanic or demonic.
Oba Adeyemi stated this while declaring open the international conference on Yorubaland and politics since the 19th Century and beyond held at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, in honour of renowned historian, late Prof. Joseph Atanda.
The monarch lamented that with the advent of both religions, some aspects of Yoruba culture and tradition had suffered great assault leading to extinction of family life, pattern of social relations, family names and praise names among others.
According to the Monarch “Yoruba land is at a critical juncture today, more than ever before. The assault on our culture has assumed frightening dimensions, coming from the received religions of Islam and Christianity, especially their puritanical and pentecostal trends.”
“Family life, nature and pattern of social relations, indigenous social welfarism, family names and praise names, values and traditions’ have almost been completely destroyed by their portrayal as evil, satanic or demonic.’’
Late Prof. Jeseph Atanda had taught African and Yoruba Culture among others at the University of Ibadan . He thereafter worked at OOU Ago-Iwoye formerly known as Ogun State University as Professor of history .
In his keynote address, titled:Yoruba Nation: (Dis)Unity, national politics and the Republican spirit, the executive vice-chairman, Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy, Dr Tunji Olaopa, canvassed regional integration in which the six states in the South-west would set the pace for the Nigerian state.’’
Launching the collection of works by the late Prof. Atanda, the chairman, Bi-courtney Group of Companies, Dr Wale Babalakin, also eulogised him, urging other historians not to shy away from telling the authentic story of the Yoruba.
While recalling his frienship with late Prof. Atanda, Babalakin said he hid in the house of the late historian during his trouble with former head of State ,late Sanni Abacha .
In his remarks , Dr Toyin Falola of the University of Texas, Houston, announced scholarship award by the Atanda family.