Yeye Ajesikemi Olatunji, a traditional religion adherent and devotee of Aje Olokun, recently spoke about the cancellation of the Aje festival in Ilorin, Kwara State, and the opposition she faced from an Islamic group. Olatunji is a member of the Kwara State Association of Traditional Religion, also known as Isese, which is an association of people practicing traditional religion.
The Aje Olokun festival is an annual event that Olatunji had planned to celebrate. While previous celebrations were held within the confines of her home, this year’s festival was intended to be more elaborate and include the recognition of some friends who have supported her. The festival was scheduled for July 22 to 24 and was intended to be held at an event center in Ilorin.
However, misinformation spread through social media created confusion and false claims about the festival. It was falsely reported that Olatunji intended to worship the Osun deity and celebrate the Ogun festival, which caused misinterpretation and concern among the Muslim community in Ilorin, known as a center of Islam.
Olatunji clarified that she did not print or distribute fliers about the festival, although she had printed invitation cards. She only shared the information on her Facebook page and within the Isese group. The circulation of false information through social media caused people to react negatively to the festival, leading to threats and misconceptions.
Due to the advice of elders, religious leaders, and the police, Olatunji decided to cancel the festival to maintain peace and prevent any potential religious conflict. She expressed her respect for the Islamic leaders in Ilorin and emphasized that she did not want her name associated with negative actions or to cause any harm to the town’s peace.
Contrary to rumors, there is no evidence of people leaving the area or threats to burn down Olatunji’s house. Olatunji is known for her philanthropic activities and is currently involved in the construction of a mosque in Ilorin. The mosque is being funded by a philanthropist, and Olatunji’s involvement is to ensure the construction progresses smoothly. She highlighted that her actions are not to please others but to serve humanity and worship her creator.
In conclusion, Olatunji urged people to listen to both sides of the story before passing judgment and emphasized the importance of love and respect for one another. She advised the government to treat all recognized religions equally and grant public holidays for traditional religious festivals like the Ifa festival or Oke Itase, to promote peace and inclusivity.