Ilorin: Whither our culture and tradition?



In the name of Allah, the most Beneficient, the most Merciful.

The mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly things diverts you. Until you visit the graves (i.e till you die) Nay! You shall come to know! Again, Nay! You shall come to know. Nay! If you knew with a sure knowledge  (the end result of piling up, you would not have occupied yourself in worldly things). Verily, You shall see the blazing Fire (Hell). And again, you shall see it with certainty of sight! Then, on that Day, you shall be asked about the delight (you indulged in, in this world)!

Truly, we live in a frightening time. A time when criminals and criminality have no boundaries. It is truly a time when society is enmeshed in vices beyond comprehensibility. No one, group or status seems extricable. Clerics, teachers, parents, politicians, traditional rulers. Mention it. Just no one is immuned. Is it the slaughtering of men by men with no religious or ethnic boundaries or kidnapping, or stimulation of it, by those on whom rest our tradition and culture?

It is difficult to explain the growing incidence of crime and criminality all around us these days? As I write these words, my mind is on the number of people killed inside a church at Ozzulu, Anambra state. But my mind is also on the den of suspected ritualists discovered in Lagos, few days after a shrine had been discovered in Ikorodu, arguably the most notorious community in Nigeria today in terms of crime outside of the north east, no thanks to the activities of Badoo.

And back home here in Ilorin, the things we are seeing and hearing are truly frightening. It would have been somehow comforting if we only heard of them without proof, for that would enable us to doubt them, an opportunity to still believe in our common humanity and heritage. But we see evidences of these crimes around us and they bring unto us the stark reality of what we face today.

It is disheartening that Ilorin, the city of Alfas, has also become the city of gruesome criminality. But truly, this is the town of God-fearing men and women. This is the city of Sheikh Alimi, that veteran scholar and preacher who taught and preached Islam and established our emirate. This is the city of Sheikh Belgore, Sheik Nda Salaty who requested for Allah’s and got it the same day. Ilorin is the city of Alfa Omo Ikokoro, Sheik Kamaldeen, the soft spoken erudite preacher; Sheikh Adam Abdullah Al-Ilory, the fearless, bold but courageous scholar and preacher; Sheik Alaya, Sheik Koro, Sheik Olosin and many more.

The elites were also in their multitudes. The Saro Olokonlas, Dan Yahaya, S. K. Dan Alhaji, Oloriegbes, Alhaji Iwo who along with others established the first textile mail in Ilorin, Alhaji Sanni Okin, Buhar Edun, Saadu Gbogbo Iwe Alanamu, AGF Razaq, not to talk of our own Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki and others too numerous to mention were the faces of an harmonious community.

Today’s Ilorin is not what was bequeathed to us. As young boys, we grew up in a community with no other tradition other than Islam. We woke up in the morning to our Ile kewu where we learnt not only the Qur’an but moralty. It was a routine. Even after school, we would still go to Ile kewu. No child loitered in the community without being challenged by some one, a truly concerned neighbour. The entire community was involved in a child training. Those few who engaged in immorality did so under cover. Cigarette was meant for elders and not children, not to talk of what we called Indian hemp. We lived a community life where one was truly another’s brother keeper.

All those have disappeared. We no longer care for our neighbours. Parents have also abandoned their responsibilities for materialities. Most of our clerics have become politicians in disguise. Rather than address pervasive immorality in society, they live substance for shadow. Their secrets are worst than that of a common criminal.

Where are we really heading to. This year alone, about 30 people have died in this city, due to cult related clashes! It was this development that made the IEDPU to organise a security summit last week to discuss the matter. What shall we do? How did we get to this point? How come that Ilorin, the city of clerics, is becoming the city of ritualists? And just as the conference was rising we came to hear the shocking news again of a set of brothers who allegedly exhumed the corpse of their friend, removed some parts for money rituals. These brothers are supposed to b cleris, men who have opportunity to speak to God on behalf of the oppressed and depressed, men who are supposed to be sources of refuge for those running from the wickedness of this world. But alas, like the Yoruba saying, “igi ti a ba fi ehin ti o fi gbogbo ara she egun”, those we suppose to seek refuge in have become our traducers. What a paradox!

When did Ilorin come to this despicable point? I have been ruminating over this  matter for the last few days and then I came across this piece below, which I must confess, truly describes what I feel, I think it is worth sharing: ILORIN is a City well known worldwide for its Islamic and Quranic prowess. It is a City used to be believed as the most peaceful and  safest in Nigeria.

Ilorin Indigenes may not be too rich or live an affluent life, but we strongly believe in getting the little we see at the time of need i e Asiri bibo. Ilorin has many reknown families, individuals and compounds with good names that the present generation including those yet unborn should be proud of. Any where I find myself, I am always proud to say I come from Ilorin. If I am addressed as Ara Ilorin, I reject it and correct them that I AM FROM ILORIN.

But it is very disturbing today to hear series of ritual killings in Ilorin, Ilu Alfa. Only recently, the story of the body of one Alfa Sulaiman who was exhumed by his closest friend before his demise at Oloje was on air. The news of another ritual killing at Panpo, Ogele area was also aired. This is pathetic, particularly for the loss of life involved, more so, because this is happening in our City of pride, Ilu Alfa.

Though, ritual killing is not peculiar to Ilorin, it is happening in many other cities and towns,  we should be more concerned as it affects our City. The glory of the City been a Religious City is gradually being eroded. This is calious and calls for serious attention. I want to appeal to all Stakeholders in Ilorin, including our highly respected Emir of Ilorin, the true Alfas who are from reknown compounds, the politians who really have the love of Ilorin at heart,  the Security operatives, including the Vigilante groups to please rise up to the task and stop ritual killings in Ilorin. I also wish to appeal to all Community Associations, ward Leaders, social clubs, NGOs etc to collaborate with IEDPU and Security operatives to stop ritual killings in Ilorin. May Allah protect us and our relatives from ritual killings. Amin.

We must all go back to our culture and tradition and be responsible parents and neighbours.


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