The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, has bemoaned the erosion of Yoruba culture by what he called the importation of Islam and Christianity.
The monarch spoke on Monday while declaring open the international conference on Yorubaland and politics since the 19th Century and beyond, held at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, in honour of a renowned historian, the late Prof. Joseph Atanda, which was the 5th in the series.
Oba Adeyemi lamented that with the advent of both religions, some aspects of Yoruba culture and traditions suffered great assault leading to the extinction of family life, pattern of social relations, family names and praise names.
The monarch explained that both religions had portrayed Yoruba values and traditions as evil, satanic or demonic.
He said, “Yoruba land is at a critical juncture today more than ever before. The assault on our culture has assumed frightening dimensions, coming from the received religions of Islam and Christianity, especially their puritanical and pentecostal trends.
“Family life, nature and pattern of social relations, indigenous social welfarism, family names and praise names, values and traditions have almost been completely destroyed by their portrayal as evil, satanic or demonic.
“It is no longer that they represent inferior civilisation as was the case when the religions just came but that they are evil, demonic and satanic in all areas.”
The monarch, however, urged all stakeholders in Yoruba land to revive the dying culture and tradition for the sake of the present and the coming generations.
Oba Adeyemi, who eulogised the late historian, describing him as an activist and enthusiast of Yoruba history, said he had followed closely his academic odyssey.
He said the late Atanda placed Yoruba culture in its proper perspective in his works.
In his keynote address, the Executive Vice-Chairman, Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy, Dr. Tunji Olaopa, canvassed regional integration in which the six states in the South-West would set the pace for other Nigerian states.
He said, “It is high time the Yoruba began taking their cultural and socio-political heritage seriously.
“It is only through this that Yoruba can be counted among those who are taking Nigeria seriously.”
Presenting the collection of works by the late Atanda, the Chairman, Bi-Courtney Group of Companies, Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), urged other historians not to shy away from telling the authentic story of the Yoruba.
In his contribution, Prof. Toyin Falola of the University of Texas, Houston, said currently two students of higher institutions were beneficiaries of the scholarship awards instituted by the Atanda family.