Emir of Ilorin, Ibrahim Sulu Gambari has said the planned Isese festival was cancelled to prevent a crisis in Ilorin, Kwara State.
This is in response to the criticism by Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka who took a swipe at the monarch for his role in preventing an Osun priestess, Yeye Ajesikemi Omolara, from holding an Isese festival in the state.
In a statement on Friday signed by his spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Arowona, the emir said the decision to cancel the festival was the only way of preventing situations that might lead to a crisis in parts of the country.
The statement read, “To set records straight, Professor Wole Soyinka tends to be economical with facts, forgetting that war is what nobody wants,” the statement said.
The spokesperson noted that the emir decided to cancel the festival because it was capable of causing chaos in the society, if not quickly addressed.
“This is to prevent crisis and not wait until it erupts because the cost of managing crises cannot be equated to the wisdom or courage required to prevent it.
“Such proactiveness is necessary in order to sustain peaceful co-existence in the society.
“It is therefore surprising to hear that the position of Professor Soyinka is identical to someone who does not consider what might transpire if the programme was hosted,” the statement said.
It added that the priestess had lived “harmoniously” in the town for years “until she decided to go beyond her boundaries”.
“It may result in issues which could also lead to reprisal attacks by sympathisers or promoters of such belief (Isese festival) in other parts of the country.
“There are many non-indigenes in Kwara who are serving and retired, including business owners who have vowed to move their families to the state due to the peace and harmony enjoyed therein.
“Yeye Ajesikemi also confirmed that she has been living harmoniously in Ilorin for many years, not until she decided to go beyond her boundaries.”