Need to involve indigenous religion people in confab (2)

source: Guardian News,  6 May 2014

EQUAL opportunity, freedom and respect for each other’s freedom is a must. We form the silent majority, and constitute not less than 60-70 per cent of the population in spite of all the wrongly derived figures bandied around. That we are silent does not mean we should be silenced. The minority, which constitutes the elites, is carrying it too far. 

To justify our claim of being in the majority, one just need to review the data by UNESCO in 2009 figure of literacy rate of 33 per cent in Nigeria. This means that the non-literate people constitute 67 per cent of the society. 

  Because the mode of recruitment into Christianity and Islam is through school registration, missionary work, evangelism all of which result into false conversion, the literate elites, who form the bulk of the Christian and Islam group of the citizenry of Nigeria thus constitute about 10 per cent each because even among the literate, there is a high preponderance of Indigenous religion, Isese of probably not less than 10 per cent. 

  The American Central Intelligence Agency 2013 figure for Nigerians above 15 years of age, who can read and write that is quoted by the National Population Commission of Nigeria, is 61.3 per cent. The population of Nigerians in the working age bracket of 16 to 55 years is 55-60 per cent. This meant that the Dependency rate is 40 per cent. 

  Therefore, in a triangular population schematic structure like Nigeria, government is leaving out a very big chunk of the country when Isese religion followers are not involved in decision-making and implementation.  

  The Isese people that were sidelined about 100 years ago because they did not have Western education are quite different from their grandchildren now who have both Indigenous knowledge and Western knowledge education. This has put them in a better stance and they can be more useful to the country. 

  They are able to cope, comprehend and manage the contemporary times better since their wisdom is based on a solid foundation of the holistic experiences of the past and the imported knowledge. 

  Not capitalising on the advantages of the indigenous religion and knowledge is quite unwise and government is supposed to be wise. Sidelining the Isese religion people and even the indigenous knowledge people from the conference that would determine the fate of a country in which they form the real majority is a sort of neo-colonialism of the majority by the opportune minority. This may not augur well for all of us at the end of the day. 

  Indigenous religion, Isese people should constitute at least 60 per cent of the delegates to the on-going National Conference and other arms of government and governance because we constitute not less than that in what is now Nigeria. It is because the minority elites are the ones calling the shots that we are having problems moving forward. 

  By condemning everything that is indigenous, we are throwing the baby out with the bath water. Other peoples and developed countries built their development on the foundation of their indigenous knowledge systems. That is what we should do. 

  Emperor Constantine developed the indigenous religion in Europe and we have what we now call Christianity. As Constantinople, the city named after him became Istanbul, Islam religion got developed. 

  Isese religion is the development of our indigenous religious beliefs and practices and it is when we follow this that we can realise that contrary to the current trend of feeling that we do not, as a people, have history and relationship with the Creator, we had on record been worshiping and having direct contact since at least 13,000 years judging by the records of the discovery of human settlement in a cave near Akure, which had been radioactively date to have human skull bones and parts buried with other artifacts to 11,000 B.C. Knowing this makes us to have strong confidence in ourselves. 

  We know that the convenient point chosen by the Palestinians to begin their history from, that is Adam and Eve, which was dated to be 3,500 B.C., could not have been our beginning. That was about 5,500 years ago. 

  Anybody that knows arithmetic would know that what it meant was that we had been in contact with the Almighty creator some 8,000 odd years before Adam and Eve. So, our ancestral contact had been longer, experientially better and more sustainable. 

WHAT we are doing at the National Conference in Abuja today is pursuing an exercise that will end up as an “Incomplete Metamorphosis.” The organism, which will emerge, will have all the internal organs missing. We shall just come up with a carcass of a body lacking in its soul. Isese is the soul; it is the religion of most of the people. It is the basis on which they relate with life environment and the totality of nature. 

  In 10-20-30 years’ time, if we don’t do the proper thing of involving the soul in whatever we are doing now, then it may be too late. 

  Our children don’t speak our languages again; very soon, we as a people, apart from our languages, would become extinct. 

  We are being made to hate ourselves as a people and we are wishing we were like other people. We want to be better Arabs than the Saudi Arabian, better American than the USA man, better English than the English man. 

  Baldwin Zimmer, the former Head of the European Delegation in Nigeria, was pleasantly surprised when he was shown the way our indigenous governing system worked. He then expressed admiration at the discovery of why, despite all the trouble that the world saw during the post-June 12 imbroglio, Nigeria did not break. 

  He found that the real government of the people happened at the individual community, village levels where people bring their experiences to play, merging the newly introduced Western ideas with the original indigenous mode of doing things, which had worked for generations. 

  He became a member of the indigenous parliament, the Osugbo/Ogboni, which people mistakenly labeled as a cult as prescribed by the European colonialist who found it difficult to break as a body. 

  They were and still are the lawmakers and the parliamentary building is the Uledi. The Oluwo is the Prime Minister; the Apena is the Speaker; the Olotu Ijo is the Senate President; the Olotu Egan is the Speaker of the House of Representatives; the Olotu Igharefa/Iwarefa is the Chief Justice; the Olotu Erelu is the Head of the Women Parliamentarians; the Olotu Odagba is the Chief custodian of the of the scared drum for non-verbal communication. The Oba is the President and the Ajo Ofuva/Ofuwa/Oloye is the Council of Chiefs/Ministers. The different religions exist outside the parliament with their different heads. 

  An incomplete metamorphosis is the pre-requisite for an incomplete organism. Those we today see as developed people, countries and economies based their foundation for development on their indigenous religions and faiths, indigenous languages, their traditions and culture, their indigenous education systems, indigenous technology and sciences, indigenous agricultural systems, all of which they developed into what we now see today and envy. Let us do the same on our own for others to look at and envy. 

  It is never too late to make corrections. Even when a matter is in the court and judgment about to be pronounced, fresh evidence that can sway the decision of the court for a better, equitable and fairer decision is entertained. 

  Alienating Isese people, who form majority of the county from decisions about their country, is a grievous mistake that shall take its toll on the country if not quickly corrected. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine. 

  We abhor and condemn all these violence, killings and massacres. It is senseless and will get us nowhere. It should stop and let everyone come to the negotiating table and discuss. 

  We cannot afford to lose all these lives that constitute great human resource asset to the country. Let all these violence stop. 

  We feel deep pains in our hearts for those who died and those whom they left behind. Please, let us stop all these killings. 

  We are looking forward to the new world power predicted to emerge from Africa to be Nigeria. We are also praying that this world power that would emerge, Nigeria, should be a very stable and peaceful one such that when we all look back in years to come, we shall be happy that we did the right equitable things and did very good balancing acts. 

  We then shall be proud that we left peace, progress, full-blown development and a country that we can beat our chest about, a country for the others to look up to, not a country where some people will feel left out, ignored, cheated and hated. 

  It is, therefore, advised that government should involve Isese Agbaye people in the ongoing National Conference, all other activities of government and give them the necessary support to make them feel a part of the project Nigeria. 


• His Royal Majesty, Oba Adedayo Olusino Adekoya (Erinsiba I), President-General of the Worldwide Isese Agbaye Community (WIAC), presented this memo on behalf of ‘Isese Agbaye’ Religion People.

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