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Battle Of The gods: From Kwanzaa In The US To Isese Day In Ibadan, Bemused Nigerians Have A Day Off

The Oasis Reporters

August 21, 2023





Celebration time.               Qwuiga photo.

Africans have always had their diverse religious beliefs before Islam came to the shores of Nigeria, and it got an uptick through Usman Dan Fodio’s Fulani jihad that worsted northern Nigeria, killing the Hausa Sarakuna (kings) and replacing them with Fulani emirs to entrench Islam and Fulani minority rule.


Thus, the Hausa mode of worship was supplanted with Islamic mode of worship, with the Emirs as guardians. The Fulani conquest also got as far as the northern fringe town of Ilorin, a Yoruba town, but with Fulani emirs.

Christianity was also to follow, right on the back of colonialism led by the British which declared traditional modes of worship as idolatry.

Therefore, Nigerians became largely Christians and Muslims, religions with Middle eastern origin. Thus, utterly neglecting traditional religions.

But this is a new generation of Nigerians, clamoring for recognition of African Traditional Religions (ATR).

It was African Americans who led the charge, by fighting for “Kwanzaa” to be recognized as a holiday for African culture, tradition and religions.

That is, if Christmas Day (December 25) can be recognized as a public holiday for Christians and in Nigeria, Eid day would also be a holiday for Muslims, African traditional modes of worship must have a day of holiday set aside for them too, as holiday, to be called Isese day.

There’s a city with a sticking point in Yoruba consciousness, called Ilorin, a Yoruba city with a Fulani minority emir.

When the issue of Isese day came up, it met opposition from the elite in Ilorin, who recognized that indeed, the city was Yoruba speaking, but it was an Islamic city. Thus no Isese Day! The sticking point had just become a tipping point.

Resentment seemed to have boiled over. So Oyo State governor declared August 21, as Isese day.

Europe is in solidarity with Isese




More congratulatory messages on Isese day






More to know about Isese Day


Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun declares August 21 as Isese day in his state.



Gbadebo Rhodes starts with an oriki, all for a day of holiday, Isese day:

Yoruba A kú ọdún ó
Ọdún á yabo ó
Ìṣẹ̀ṣe á gbè wá ó
Àwọn Alálẹ̀, wọ́n á bá wa ṣe é
Ifá Ọ̀rúnmìlà á bá wa ṣe é ó
Àmín Àṣẹ Èdùmàrè

I commend a few of the Southwest governors for their recognition of the Isese Festival, celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the Yoruba people. Embracing our diversity and tradition is a bold testament to a shared commitment to unity and inclusivity.

However, It’s unfortunate that some oppose this celebration in Ilorin, a city with rich Yoruba history. It is my hope that our rich culture and heritage are not demonized or subdued.

We must remember God is love, father of all, and is divine consciousness.

Multiple canoes on the same stream.

We must continue to encourage understanding,harmony, and work towards an egalitarian society.



The varied comments say it all on Twitter and other social media platforms.

By Greg Abolo

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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