Kwara Ulama Council Warns Against Proposed Ifa Festival In Ilorin, Says City ‘Might Be Yoruba-speaking But It’s Purely Islamic By Culture’

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The executive secretary of the council, Justice Salihu Mohammed, who is a retired grand Khadi of the state, said this on Tuesday while addressing journalists

Kwara State Council of Ulama (Islamic clerics) has told traditional worshippers in the state not to hold their planned Isese festival in Ilorin, the state capital. 

The executive secretary of the council, Justice Salihu Mohammed, who is a retired grand Khadi of the state, said this on Tuesday while addressing journalists

Mohammed said the proposed Ifa festival posed a security threat to the state. 

Hence, the Ulama insisted 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.

Those in attendance at the meeting are 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.

Justice Mohammed was quoted by Tribune as saying: “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.

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“We don’t think any individual or group has anything to gain from the destruction of 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 they are also seen as an 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 breakdown of law and order.”

The executive secretary of the Council of Ulama also said it should be made “abundantly clear that we are not against the celebration of the 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,” he added. 

He continued, “We understand the motive behind their sinister and abominable move but warn that Ilorin has moved on. 

“The Emirate might be a Yoruba-speaking city, but it must be realised that its present culture is no longer that of Yoruba, Hausa, Fulani, Nupe, or any other, but purely Islamic.

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“We, therefore, advise that they allow peace to reign across Nigeria. All we are saying is that it should not be held where the celebrators and celebration would not be welcomed. Ilorin is certainly not among the places that should be considered for such a festival if the organisers are patriotic and well-meaning.”

While appealing to Muslim youths and other stakeholders to exercise patience, Mohammed appealed to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq “to direct all the security agencies in the state to take note of this threat to the peace and security of the state. A stitch in time saves nine”.

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