Isese: Stay away from Ilorin emirate, Ulama council warns traditional worshippers

The Council of Ulama (Islamic clerics) in Kwara State on Tuesday warned those planning to celebrate the traditional festival in Ilorin, the state capital, to take it away from the metropolis in the interest of peace.

The council warned that the Ifa festival, under any guise, would not be allowed in any part of the Ilorin emirate, comprising Asa, Moro, Ilorin East, Ilorin West, and Ilorin South local government areas.

Speaking with journalists, the executive secretary of the council, Justice Salihu Mohammed, who is a retired grand Khadi of the state and flanked by imams from the 16 local government areas of the state, made the position of the council known at the residence of the chairman of the Council of Ulama and Chief Imam of Ilorin, Sheikh Mohammed Bashir Salihu.

Mohammed was flanked by Imam Gambari, Ajanasi Agba, Sheikh Yusuf Pakata, Professor Badmas Yusuf, two former grand Khadis, Justices Idris Haroon and Ola Abdul Kadir; former president of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU), Alhaji AbdulHamid Adi; and representatives of Imams and Alfas from all the 16 local government areas of the state.

He stated that the insistence of the youth wing of the International Council for Ifa Religion (ICIR) to hold their festival in Ilorin on August 20, 2023, posed a danger to the security of lives and property across the state.

“It is in light of this that we have found it extremely necessary to plead with the Kwara state government and all stakeholders to appeal to the ICIR and similar interest groups to stay away from Ilorin, as available evidence convinced us that the staging of the event in Ilorin would have a serious negative consequence on the peace of Kwara state.

“We are not unmindful of the pillage of aspersions and insults mounted on our father, the Emir of Ilorin and chairman, Council of Emirs and Chiefs in Kwara State, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari by individuals that are expected to know better, which are unfortunate, condemnable and inexcusable.

“We don’t think any individuals or group has anything to gain from the destruction of the harmonious coexistence. The people of Ilorin Emirate, particularly the Kwara State Council of Ulama cannot be coerced by any person or group of persons claiming to be representing intellectualism or atheistic practices to destroy what our forefathers have fought for.

“As community and opinion leaders in our various places of abode, we are not unaware of the readiness of various youth groups never to allow the staging of the so-called ‘Isese’ festival anywhere in Ilorin.

“To them, such activities would pollute the peace and tranquillity of the community as it is also been seen as invasion and an act of cultural imperialism.

“We as leaders, see merit in the position of the Muslim youths. We sincerely believe that it is unwise and wrong for non-residents of a community to forcefully impose imported thoughts or practices on their hosts. This is repugnant to natural justice and it will certainly lead to the brake down of law and order.”

“We must make it abundantly clear that we are not against the celebration of Isese festival. What is important to let the whole World know is that we, the people of Ilorin, have absolutely nothing to do with it. We understand the motive of their sinister and abominable move but warn that Ilorin has moved on.

“The Emirate might be a Yoruba-speaking city, but it must be realized that its present culture is no longer that of Yoruba, Hausa, Fulani, Nupe or any other, but purely an Islamic culture. We, therefore, advise that they should allow peace to reign across Nigeria.

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