Isese:Soyinka is Right, Emir of Ilorin is Wrong

By Adeola Soetan

Can the Emir of Ilorin cancel Ramadan or Ileya festival celebration in the town and in the 5 local govt areas of the emirate because the Isese people are threatening that the Islamic festival should not hold?

The respected Emir is a lawyer and retired Judge so he knows what the Supreme Constitution of Nigeria and UN Conventions say about Freedom of Worship by all citizens in Nigeria, and in every country of their origin and residency.

Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ICCPR states:

“Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching”

“No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice…. .”

.Section 38 of the Nigerian Constitution guarantees – Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion to all citizens.

As it is, Nigeria is a secular State without any state religion adopted. So where did the Emir and the religionist tormentors who invaded the residence of Yeye Osun to threatening her not to exercise her freedom of worship or organise Osun festival in Ilorin and in five local governments in the Emirate derived their power from? Definitely not in the constitution the Supreme law of the country which takes precedent over any other law, directive, or religious belief. Their action is offensive and crisis ridden which can precipitate a religious crisis due to intolerance. Boko Haram founded by Yusuf in Maiduguri Borno state started gradually this way. “Boko Osun” / “Boko Isese” in Ilorin is a red alert which the law enforcement agencies must investigate and prosecute the offenders immediately if they are still alive to their responsibilities.

That the Emir of Ilorin, a retired justice, through his spokesman justified the illegality, affront and brazen breach of the constitution is worrisome. It reflects that Nigeria is a lawless country where the low and the mighty can take law into their hands, while the low when caught are punished but the mighty are untouched to further trample on the constitution and fundamental rights of the people. .

The excuse of being proactive to avoid crisis by stopping Yeye Osun and Osun adherents from peacefully practising their faith is flimsy and not acceptable to discerming minds free of religious bigotry. To be proactive was to have called the protesting Islamic fundamentalists to order and educate them on what the constitution and international Conventions say on the fundamental right of citizens to worship and practise any religion of their choice. .

By the way, the three major religions agreed that there is a judgment day, so why are all these religious extremists always eager and impatient to execute their own human judgment before the final judgment of God /Allah?

On this issue, Prof. Wole Soyinka is very right constitutionally while the Emir of Ilorin is Wrong. The Emir’s response to Soyinka’s public letter defending right of worship of the citizens is better sent to the Marines.

Soetan is leader of
Citizenship Civic Awareness Centre
aka Democracy Vanguard

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