Oluwo Fasola Faniyi Wants Every August 20th To Be Declared A Public Holiday As This Year’s Isese Day Approaches.
A renowned Ifa Priest and Tradomedical practitioner, Oluwo Fasola Faniyi has urged the federal government to declare every 20th of august a public holiday to celebrate “Isese Day” as it is obtainable in Ileya, Itunu Awe, Easter, Christmas holidays. In this exclusive interview with VOA, Oluwo Fasola spoke extensively on the need for the government to institutionalize the activities of traditional worshipers as against the much priority given to foreign religion and cultures.
Can we meet you?
My name is Oluwo Fasola Faniyi Babatunde, a Tradomedical Practitioner and Ifa priest that is promoting the culture and traditional religions both at home and in diaspora.
What is Isese?
Isese belong to our forefathers. It centers on our deities in Africa be it Ogun, Sango, Obatala, Orunmila, Osun and so on. These deities were once part of us in Africa, though more powerful than we are, so as their followers we worship them.
What exactly is Isese?
Isese is a festival we use in remembering our fore fathers. This enable us to celebrate them once again. Just as Jesus Christ is an ancestor to the Jews and Prophet Mohammad is equally an ancestor to the Arabs. So, we remember them through “Isese” day just like Eid and Christmas, as their followers. No black man can run away from “Isese” in as much as such a person eats vegetable because vegetables aren’t meant for the whites, it belongs to Africans even when someone wears wrapper and top, it depicts our typical culture.
Some people may be wondering why ‘Isese’ day is necessary, anyone who has a family that is dead and such a person remembers the deceased in anyway, either through church remembrance or any other means, such act is also Isese. We use Isese to remember our warriors that has been through this world before. We use Isese to pay homage to our past warriors and deities.
Is the “Isese” Peculiar to the Aworis and Ota Alone?
If we go to different places, some deities are synonymous to the place such as Osun-Osogbo. The reasons why they celebrate Osun-Osogbo is because a deity, Osun who once settled at Osogbo enjoyed a good spell while living there. Likewise, Orumila was born in Ife, but he spent good time and was living in Ado- Ekiti, hence, why they call Orunmila a friend /folk of Ado.
We read about Ife and we have heard from elderly ones, if they want to chastise someone, they may say “as wicked as the witches in Ota”. We can deduce from this that Ota is the abode of the elderly women, sometimes called “witches”. (I pay homage to the witches).
—— Cuts in, Apologies for Interrupting, we have heard about the witches in Ota, and you as an Ifa priest, you should be able tell us more about them?
Laughs….. There is nothing we know about the witches in Ota. It is true there are elderly ones but the much ado about the witches in Ota amounts to nothing, especially in this present age of industrialization and increasing population in Ota. We cannot point to anyone as being a witch in Ota.
We also have the Eeguns followers, Sango, Ogun, Oya worshippers, even ogbodogi. But what is synonymous to Ota which no one can contest is that it is the settlement of the elderly ones.
Is there a separate day for “Isese” day celebration in Ota and around the world?
August 20th is the day set aside for traditional worshippers to gather and celebrate their deities and past warriors; this is known widely accepted as “Isese day”. It is celebrated worldwide, Some Igbos do celebrate with us, not forgetting the Eeguns with their own Masquerades and so on.
We used to do this at Ita-Oba every 20th August, but the crowd was becoming too much that some people had to set aside another location for this celebration and that is at Oba Aarinu’s palace.
We are imploring our Government to set aside20th of August as a public holiday to enable our followers that are civil servants to come together in order to celebrate the Isese day.
I am appealing to theatre practitioners to stop blackmailing the traditional worshippers in their movies. Not all traditional worshippers are evil as not all pastors and Alfas are holy. They create negative impression about the traditional worshippers and followers which make people to nurse needless fears about us. We have heard at times that some people argued that if they declare a public holiday for Isese day celebration, traditional worshippers will misuse it for ritual purpose and other forms of killings. This is a complete lie as Isese is not in any way closer to any of their allegations.
Has there been any Step to Sponsor a bill to declare August 20th a public holiday in the National Assembly?
We have taken several steps. We have different groups that have taken one step at a time, once the bill or letter gets to them and it gets to the wrong hands, perhaps a Christian and Muslims, they will trash it, we have verifiable evidence to this claim. The last confab that was held, they invited Christians and Muslims, but they failed to invite us. We are using this medium to appeal to our followers to also take active part in politics, so they can use their good office to meet our demands.
Lastly, as people prepare for the 2017 Isese day celebration, what is your world of advice for them?
I greet them all, may Olodumare make this year’s Isese day a peaceful year for us. I encourage everyone, both traditional followers and other religions to hold their heads that day and pray because our deities would be around. I also would like to warn them not curse anyone that day as that is set aside for answers.
Thank you for taking your time to speak with us
It is my honour.