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How mother’s core values prepared Ooni Ogunwusi for royalty, leadership

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Oba Ogunnwusi


The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi (Ojaja 11) on Thursday at Chatham House, United Kingdom (UK) said his late mother’s core values of responsibility really prepared him ahead for leadership roles as an individual and traditional ruler, saying African youths must imbibe the spirit of responsibility and commitment to positive ideals that can enable them to contribute meaningfully to the development of their society.

Ooni Ogunwusi, who spoke at Chatham House, London in UK on “Inclusive Governance and Community Engagement: The Role of Traditional Leaders” recalled how a bungled errand given him by his late mother actually moulded him for leadership position in life.

“As a child, she would send me on errands. She once gave me her most valuable dress to iron. I plugged the iron and left to play, hoping to return to do mum’s bidding but the iron had become so hot and I got the dress burnt to the anger of my mother.

“You will pay dearly for this, I will punish you well so you will know what you have done wrong. That was a dress I was saving in case the King requested to meet me,” mother said.

“That phrase stuck into my brain. She had reserved a dress in case the King requested to meet her. This goes to show the recognition of Kingship and honour earned by a king in our culture.”

A statement on the Chatham House outing prepared by Ooni’s media aide, Comrade Moses Olafare recalled how the foremost African monarch admonished children to obey their elders and parents. He equally charged parents to respect the traditional leaders in society in line with African culture and traditions.

The Co-Chairman of Nigerian Council of Traditional Rulers also underscored the need for the involvement of traditional institutions in governance for a better tomorrow.

“You cannot separate nature and human beings, we believe traditional leaders and institutions are key in national building human capital development civilization,” the monarch added.“Traditional institution based on my background is part of nature’s custodian of heritage and culture. We had ancient means of governance in the Kingdoms.

“Before governance came into play, traditional rulers were the first to discover different things which later became forces of civilisation such as: smelt iron, we were the first to weave cotton, this and many more started from the Yoruba race and now used all over the continents though in an improved format.”

Ooni further corroborated his claims saying that,  “Antiques/artefacts all over the world made from Africa has shown that civilization started from us. Traditional leaders were the forces behind everything we are benefitting today because rulers set that pace in Africa and pioneered before the advent of modern day Government. Hence, Traditional Rulers need to be properly included and blended with modern day government. This arguably, will make a significant change.

“A nation that intends to grow must uphold the heritage and tradition of that nation. We must not lose touch with our root, heritage and tradition. Before the advent of colonialization, we had kingdoms across Africa. Colonialists had to go through the traditional leaders.

“Northern and southern protectorates were in 1914 merged to become Nigeria. This had to be done through traditional rulers and several African monarchs were either elected or appointed to serve in government.

“At the Nigeria’s Independence, former Ooni of Ife, Sir Adesoji Aderemi was the first indigenous African Governor. The government across Africa couldn’t do anything without the inclusion of traditional leaders in decision-making, administration and policy making. That was a beautiful system!

“To date, it is commonplace in Nigeria, for most politician vying for positions of power to go through the traditional institutions. This system can be properly synchronized and aligned in a fair and civil manner.”

Ooni said Nigeria is at the forefront of leading Africa and urged the government to join hands with the traditional institutions to take that continent out of our current state, saying the continent is the fastest growing population with 70 per cent of its population as youths mainly between the age of 16 – 25, which is an added advantage to our human capital if properly utilized.

He added that Africans should go back to the root.“Very important to rise-up to that occasion and know that at some point things were running well in Africa when the traditional rulers were at the forefront. Let us blend our tradition and culture in everything we do today.

“Asia is still holding on to their heritage and culture. Africa should not lose theirs. We need to know the roles of culture and this is achievable by involving our tradition rulers in the day-to day running of our system in Africa. Africa has lost its roots. We must learn to project the continent as positive!” the monarch exclaimed.



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