The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has restated the commitment of his administration to continually collaborate with relevant associations working to preserve the cultural heritage of Lagos State for peaceful co-existence and freedom of religion.

The Governor disclosed this in his address at the Y2022 annual conference of the Association of African Traditional Religions of Nigeria and Overseas (AATREN) held at the Ilasan Playing Ground, Elegushi, Eti-Osa Local Government Area of the State with the theme: “Africa Traditional Religion, Catalyst to National Stability”. The event was a prelude to the annual “Isese Day”.

Sanwo-Olu, represented at the event by his Special Adviser on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Barrister Olufemi Martins, commended the sterling contributions of the association in the propagation of indigenous religion towards a just and peaceful society, adding that the State government will continue to support all efforts aimed at promoting and preserving the culture of Lagos.

Mr. Governor applauded the efforts of the President of AATREN and everyone committed to the sustenance of the rich cultural heritage of Africans, assuring that the State Government, through its relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, would render all necessary support to the Association in its efforts to promote traditional religion in Lagos State.

Also speaking, the Honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, stated that traditional religions are a significant part of the African Culture and should continue to receive the deserved recognition, adding that government will continue to create a conducive atmosphere for citizens to practice their faith without any hindrance as guaranteed by relevant laws of the land.

The Commissioner, who was represented by Mrs. Adeola Olagoke, an Assistant Director in the Ministry, expressed appreciation for AATREN’s has contribution to the peaceful co-existence in Lagos.

Earlier in his welcome address, the President of AATREN and the Opemoluwa of Ikate Land, High Chief Ifasegun Elegushi, prayed for continued peace among residents in Lagos State, in particular, and Nigeria in general, charging the citizens to stay committed to ensuring that their ways of worship do not interfere with their peaceful co-existence with others.

He said: “Let us rededicate ourselves to deepening our age-long traditional religions, indigenous languages, traditional etiquette, the ways of living together with others in harmony. We must not lose these to civilisation. Also, religion should not cause strife among us but should be an instrument of peace that will strengthen the unity of Nigeria and Nigerians”.

The High Chief also admonished members of the association to live by example and teach their children the tradition and culture they practice, stressing that most problems experienced by Africans can be attributed to the neglect of family rites, which can be solved by appeasing their family deities.

Elegushi, however, appealed to the Lagos State Government to consider its request for a work-free day in celebration of its annual “Isese Day” on August 20.

Dignitaries present at the event include eminent Obas, Baales, White Cap Chiefs, Iyaolojas, Babaolojas and various traditional religion practitioners, among others.

The Association of African Traditional Religion Practitioners of Nigeria (AATREN) is the umbrella body of all traditional groups and associations in Nigeria and overseas.