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I will unite all Yoruba, says Ooni


Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye after the installation… yesterday. More on pages 2, 11 PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM

Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye after the installation… yesterday.  PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM

Buhari urges monarch to work for peace

ALL roads led yesterday to Ile-Ife, the cradle and the spiritual home of Yorubas, to bear witness to a glorious new dawn of a people who hold the kingship institution dear. It was at the coronation of the Ooni of Ife. They came mightily and lowly — from the West, from the North, from the East and North-Central.

There were more than 200 traditional rulers. It was a display of colours and of power, of pomp and pageantry; it was a blend of traditions, of diversities, forging a veritable union. The traditional rulers moved in style. So did the political leaders. There were generals. It was their day, all.

The Ooni arrived in resplendent, immaculate white attire to a roaring applause, with the gentle harmattan breeze fanning the well-cut edges of his traditional dress. The part of the dress touching the ground was in woven braids. His shoes were white, so were the beads, symbolising purity and sacredness of his high office. His wristwatch was Rolex and gold-plated.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, came in a buoyant mood, leading the traditional rulers. The Obong of Calabar, Ediden Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu, was also there.

Others on the roll call were the Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran, as well as monarchs from Edo and Delta states, including the Dein of Agbor, Benjamin Ikechuku Keagborekuzi I.

Eminent citizens from all walks of life present on the occasion included governors Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Akinwumi Ambode (Lagos) Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, former national chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Gen.Theophilus Danjuma and wife, Daisy.

Others were the Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu, the National Coordinator of Oodua Peoples Congress, Otunba Gani Adams, Chief Alex Duduyemi, former governors of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, Osun, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Prince Tokunbo Sijuwade, members of the Osun State House of Assembly and their counterparts in Lagos state and the Deputy Governor of Osun, Titi Laoye Tomori.

Also on the list of guests were the Archbishop of Ibadan Diocese, Bishop Joseph Akinfenwa, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Kalafite Adeyemi representing the AIG, retired AIG Tunji Alapinni, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and wife of Osun State governor, Mrs. Sherifat Aregbesola.

Representatives of the Olu of Warri, members of Ife Traditional Council, representatives of Oba of Lagos and Sat Guru Maharaji, among others, were also in attendance.

As he acknowledged homage some traditional rulers paid him, the Ooni smiled and waved his horsetail. Various cultural troupes sang moving and resonant Yoruba cultural songs with matching, practised dance steps.

The unprecedented mammoth crowd went into wild jubilation as Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola presented him with the staff of office at exactly 1:53p.m.

The event took place at Enuwa Square, adjacent to the Ile Oodua as Ooni’s palace is described.The event took place in a makeshift hall that barely accommodated dignitaries that were allowed entry into the coronation ground.

To the new king occupying the throne of Oduduwa, the progenitor of the Yoruba race, his major challenge is to unite the entire Yoruba people wherever they reside and be a role model to the youths to live a positive life.

And to achieve these, the Ooni will not engage in any supremacy tussle with any monarch but would cooperate and work with everybody to ensure oneness among all Yoruba people wherever they may be all over the world.

The new Ooni, who was full of gratitude to God for making him a monarch, said: “It is indeed a new dawn. It is our God that makes a king, and I am grateful to God for preparing me for this throne. I did not become a king by accident, God designed it to be so because as a prince, I had personal dealings with over 20 kings and I will explore this to work for the unity of all Yoruba monarchs.

“Immediately I was selected by the kingmakers, I called the Awujale of Ijebuland Oba Sikiru Adetona and discussed with him the essence of bringing everybody together. I am glad to say that today we are on the same page.

“I also called Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi. We spoke at length. He came around during my seclusion. I have also met with Oba Akiolu of Lagos apart from many other traditional rulers that I have personal relationships with. So gradually, the Yoruba kingdom is coming together. I want to admit that fingers are not equal, but there must be unity.”

Oba Ogunwusi, who dedicated his staff of office to youths, charged them to be positive about life and shun social vices. According to him, Nigeria is blessed with opportunities and urged the youths to tap into them and stop condemning the elders.

“I will do a lot for our youths and improve on our values. I consider myself to be fortunate because for somebody within my age grade to be closer to many leaders, is a rare privilege. And I have started some serious discussions with some monarchs that we are in the same age bracket to improve on the traditional institution.”

President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, urged Ogunwusi to rise up to the huge responsibility of leading the Yoruba ethnic nationality with courage, integrity and loyalty to the people.

Buhari noted that the Ooni throne, which is a deeply revered institution in Yorubaland should be well guarded, and the occupier should rule in a manner that would promote peace, unity and development to the society.

His words: “We are reminding you today that you are being given the primary responsibility to carry the virtue of Omoluabi in the discharge of your responsibilities to the people because the throne of Ooni is powerful to the Yoruba race.”

He urged the monarch to imbibe the virtue of Christianity in the discharge of his responsibilities saying as a Christian, the virtuous king is a blessing to his people.

Quoting from the Book of Ecclesiastes 10 vs. 16 and 17 from the Holy Bible, the Vice President noted that as Omoluabi, people expect many things from him; expressing optimism that God would provide the monarch the wherewithal to do his best during his reign.

“On behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, I congratulate you on ascension to the throne of your forebears.”

In his speech, Aregbesola noted that the Ooni is the most glamorous king in the southwestern part of the country.

He stated that Ooni Ogunwusi was solely made to sit on the throne of Oduduwa by the people of Ife, maintaining that the role the state government played was only the role assigned to it by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He noted that history had placed in his hands to perform the role of ‘Oranmiyan,’ the title he adopted in the twilight of his political struggle to install the 51st Ooni of Ife.

Aregbesola, who expressed delight at the array of eminent personalities from all walks of life drawn to the event wished the reign of Oba Ogunwusi, would be longer than that of his predecessors.

While urging the monarch to use his position as king to embrace all as father of everybody in his kingdom, he appealed to other contestants to join hands with him in moving Ife and Yoruba nation forward.

He said: “Today’s event has brought to closure all contestations to the throne. It should be clear to all that it is God that enthrones both political and secular leaders.”

The Sultan of Sokoto, who spoke on behalf of all traditional rulers, pledged the support of all traditional rulers in the country for Oba Ogunwusi and charged him to work with the government in the area of job creation for the youths.

The Sultan, who, however, observed that the new Ooni came to the throne at the time when the country was facing security challenge, counselled that engaging the youths in gainful employment would help to solve the crisis and other social vices.

According to the Sultan, “This is time for us at the National Council of Traditional Rulers to work with the government to provide jobs for our teeming youths to solve myriads of social vices and security challenges facing our country. A hungry man is an angry man.”

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