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Emir of Ilorin unaware of Isese festival — spokesman

The spokesman of the Emir of Ilorin, Mallam Abdulazeez Arowona, has said that the Emir is in the dark over the issue of the Isese festival reportedly scheduled to hold in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

Arowona said this while speaking with our correspondent in a telephone interview on Sunday.

He, however, noted that Ilorin Muslims will be against the Isese festival because they have always been against idolatry practices.

He said, “The Emir’s palace isn’t aware of the incident because it isn’t part of our culture. Just like others, we’re assuming the issue is a mere rumour.”

The PUNCH had reported that a Muslim group, Majlisu Shabab li Ulamahu Society, in Ilorin, Kwara State, went to the house of a traditional religion priestess to warn her to desist from holding any Isese festival in the state capital.

The priestess, Yeye Ajesikemi Olokun Omolara Olatunji, an Osun devotee, had reportedly released fliers announcing a three-day traditional event aimed at celebrating certain Yoruba deities.

When asked whether the Emir of Ilorin had sent the team of Islamic clerics to Ajesikemi’s house, Arowona said, “Not at all. The Emir himself made it public that no idolatry activities should be held in the Ilorin Emirate.”

He further said that the group’s visit was, “because of their commitment to the Islamic doctrine and culture of Ilorin Emirate. They’ve also done that based on the responsibility that they owe Ilorin Emirate. So if they’ve done that, they’ve also played their own part to ensure that such an event does not hold.”

“And since the Emir has made it public that he’s not in support, and he’s warned them to stay clear away from Kwara or from Ilorin Emirate. So any group of such that shares the same view and opinion with His Royal Highness can also come out and then do such, which the group you just mentioned now has done,” he pointed out.

The Emir’s spokesman noted that there had never been a time in history when idolatry activities were carried out in the Ilorin Emirate.

“There wasn’t any time when they prominently performed events of such. No event of such has ever been associated or held in Ilorin, within Ilorin Emirate.”

“Our culture is Islamic-based, so we don’t promote idolatry activities at all,” he said. 

So, immediately the emir made the announcement that the event should not hold in Ilorin, then security officers in the state will be well-briefed, and then they’ll also do the needful because they’re the ones in charge of protection of lives and property in the state.”

He added that “The emir doesn’t hold a gun, neither is he police personnel. But the instruction that has been given, that has been sent is enough for individual agencies to be able to play their roles and ensure. Because, at least, for any event of such to be held in any state or any community, they’ll have to take clearance from police for them to have a lawful, or what you call ‘Legal assembly.’

“So once approval is not given by the police because of the directive of the emir, then, it’s as good not holding. It’s a collective decision and a collective responsibility of the entire arms of government in the state to ensure that such an event does not hold, to sustain the relative peace and harmony that we’re enjoying in the state. And most importantly, in Ilorin Emirate.”

He noted that the whole of the Ilorin Emirate consists of Ilorin East, Ilorin West, Ilorin South, Asa, and Moro.

He added that the Ilorin Emirate is home to people from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

“All manners of people live in Ilorin – Igbo, Tapa, and so on. But we don’t tolerate activities that are alien to our culture, like Igunu and Oro,” Arowona noted.

When asked whether the Emir might want to involve the State Police Command in case the festival holds, he gave his assurance that the people of Ilorin will not allow such to happen.

He said, “No, it’s the people of Ilorin that’ll revolt against it. They will resist it. It’s not even the Emir, but the people of Ilorin Emirate will resist and revolt against it in totality, in its entirety, because it’s not part of our culture.

“Emir of Ilorin is the Amir-ul-Muminin. Likewise, we have other groups and associations. We have the IDPU. We’ve several religious organisations and sociocultural groups, and elite groups; whose interests are purely to safeguard the tradition and customs of the Ilorin Emirate. So, all these people will also stand against it.

“According to the directive by the Emir of Ilorin and Chairman of Kwara State Council of Chiefs, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, CFR, the failure to abide by the directive is tantamount to daring any unforeseen consequential repercussion.


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