By Adeola Badru
TRADITIONAL worshippers, under the aegis of Traditional Religion Worshippers’ Association, TREWA, Oyo State chapter, yesterday, staged a peaceful protest over what they termed discrimination against the body by the state government.
The worshippers, who staged the protest at the front of the Oyo State Government Secretariat complex, carried placards with various inscriptions as: “Stop discrimination against traditional religion;” Oyo is a secular state, stop discrimination,” among others.
They also appealed to Muslims, Christians and others to join them in appealing to the state government to grant their request for public holidays.
General Secretary of the association, Dr. Fayemi Fakayode, who spoke on behalf of others, said the government should look into their plight and address their agitations, adding that during elections, politicians promise them heaven on earth but neglect the group immediately after getting to office.
His words: “We are gathered here today to make our plight known to everybody in Oyo State. This peaceful demonstration is necessitated by the attitude of the Oyo State Government under the leadership of Engineer Seyi Makinde to the practitioners of Yoruba Traditional Religion in this state.
“The present administration under Engineer Seyi Makinde has refused to give the practitioners of Yoruba Traditional Religion in Oyo State audience despite seeking his attention through letters.
Like his predecessors, he has denied usr any kind of recognition, hence, our questioning justice and equity as bedrock of democracy in the case of Oyo State.
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“As if the discrimination we are suffering is not enough, the state government has also been depriving us our constitutional right of having public holidays.”
“We hereby implore the Muslim community in Oyo State ,Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and other stakeholders in this state, in the spirit of religious equity to join us in our appeal to Oyo State Government to stop her game of discrimination, neglect, relegation and frustration against practitioners of Yoruba Traditional Religions in Oyo State.”
“The public holidays we are agitating for are five ranging from May 15 for Ela festival, first Saturday of June and Friday that precedes it for pilgrimage to our land of Otu-Ife and 20th August which Oyo State House of Assembly has already moved motion for since February 2017 now awaiting executive consent.”
Also, the President-General, Isese Foundation and President, Oyo State Traditional Religions, Baale Olukanmi Egbelade, said: “We want the government to give us the recognition we deserve. There is freedom of religion. August 20 of every year should be given to us as public holiday. It will add value to the economy in terms of tourism and promotion of our cultural heritage . Through this, the Oyo State Government will generate more revenue.”
While responding on behalf of the state government, the Executive Assistant to the Governor on Security Matters, Mr. Sunday Odukoya, who received them, promised to pass their message to Governor Seyi Makinde.
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