A Badagry High Chief asks Nigerians to return to their traditional religion
The 2012 edition of the Badagry Festival began on Friday at the Heritage Museum with the remembrance of victims of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
The festival was declared open by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Intergovernmental Relations, Sewanu Fadipe, who represented the State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, and the Commissioner for Tourism, Mr. Oladisun Holloway.
Mr. Fadipe recounted Badagry’s losses to the slave trade saying “from my knowledge, the festival is built around the history of Badagry and the slave trade experience of the 16th century to the 18th century.”
The Permanent Secretary, who called for a minute silence for the repose of the souls of those slaves that died during slavery, said that the foundation of Badagry was a result of six centuries of the evil trade.
“Badagry has been affected by the slave trade since 1474 when the Portuguese came to buy our people, chained them and took them away into cities like Spain, Cuba, Brazil and Columbia for hard labour,” he said.
He observed that though Badagry experienced pains from the trade, blacks in the Diaspora had been able to export its culture and heritage tradition to the outside world.
“I saw Zangbeto masquerade in Brazil, while a place was dedicated for the worship of Olokun too,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Possu Awarawuru, a Badagry High Chief, urged the people to shun foreign religion and embrace African traditional religion and way of worship.
“Before Christianity and Islam came to Nigeria, our forefathers worshipped Orisa and the society was peaceful,” he said, while calling for cultural renaissance.
The programme of events for the festival includes cultural exhibitions, Zangbeto masquerade performance, drama presentation, Gbenopo royal carnival, and art exhibitions.
Many eminent personalities from within and outside Nigeria are attending the festival which has the theme: “Reconnecting with the Root,” and will run till August 25.