The Association of African Traditional Religion of Nigeria and Overseas (AATREN) has appealed to the Federal Government to declare Aug. 20 as public holiday to celebrate African traditional religion.
Its Public Relations Officer, Mr Lekan Ajirotutu, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Wednesday.
He said the religion was crucial to the socio-economic advancement of the country.
According to him, declaring Aug. 20 annually as official day for traditional worshipers to celebrate their deities and past warriors would endear a lot of Nigerians to embrace the nation’s cultural heritage.
“Several efforts had been made at States and Federal Government levels to ensure that the traditional religion is given recognition and practised but all to no avail,’’ he said.
Ajirotutu said this would boost tourism as international tourists who found the religion interesting would visit the country on such day.
According to him, Osun State had declared Aug. 20 as African traditional religion day since three years ago, saying that this should be emulated by other state governments.
“Just as we have a day earmarked for the Christians and Muslims for the celebration of their religion, we the traditional worshipers want a day earmarked for us too.
“African traditional religion cannot be compared with Christianity or Islam because they are foreign to us but traditional religion is our root.
“We are not ritualists neither are we primitive.
“It is so sad to know that some of those who imported the western religion value our religion more than we do,’’ he said.
Ajirotutu said that African traditional religion was deeply rooted in the belief and worship of “Olodumare’ (Supreme God) through the assistance of divinities.
He noted that traditional religion should be acknowledged by the Federal Government so that it could be well packaged for more acceptance globally. (NAN)