Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has said nothing will diminish the Isese tradition, adding that it has come to stay.
This was as he noted that Isese had always been with humanity and would remain for eternity.
He made this known on Friday during a public exchange held at the Kongi’s Harvest Art Gallery, Freedom Way, Lagos State.
Isese Day, which was celebrated in states in the South-West, had been a subject of controversy, especially in Ilorin, Kwara State, where an Osun priestess, Yeye Ajesikemi Olatunji, who had planned to celebrate the day on August 20, was verbally attacked and asked by the Emir of Ilorin, Mallam Abdulazeez Arowona, and other Muslim adherents not to commemorate the day.
The Emir’s spokesman, Mallam Abdulazeez Arowona, in a statement, noted that there had never been a time in history when what he described as “idolatry activities” were carried out in the Ilorin Emirate.
Recall that a popular Ilorin Isese devotee and activist Adegbola Abdulazeez, also known as Talolorun (Who is God), who was at the forefront of the fight for Isese recognition in the state, was arrested and detained for alleged defamation.
He had since been charged to court for “insulting the Emir of Ilorin among other offences.”
But, speaking during his presentation, the Professor of English Literature, spoke against Talolorun’s detention, adding that nobody deserved to be detained and put in a dungeon for issues bordering around belief.
“It transcends religion since it calls to what is innate to all sentient beings, those strange advocates of freedom who, paradoxically, nonetheless persist in fashioning chains for themselves and for their fellow beings.
“Isese liberates. It is an expression of the collective human spirit, its enveloping, compassionate accommodation of human experience, yet one that strives towards the seemingly inaccessible, intuitively felt as an elevating dimension of one’s material estate.
“Isese is a path, not a destination, a seizure yet a pursuit of what we experience as the inner quest for ultimate illumination. Isese does not conclude, and neither does it exclude. It does not diminish, rather, it enlarges. It teaches the community to embrace, explore, and adjust.
“Isese promotes, as foundational consciousness, gratitude for, and sanctity of human life. It repudiates the supremacist claim of any structure of spirituality over another. Content with the pursuit of inner serenity, which is the climax of, and extraction from celebration, Isese does not seek to exercise power. All true religions know that celebration is a prelude to community equilibrium,” he said.
Soyinka also warned Muslim adherents whom he (Soyinka) said had gone on a smear campaign to desist from such crusade.
He stressed that there was never a time when he said he displayed hate for any religion, adding that he stands only for equity, fairness and justice.