The Bank of Industries (BOI) has commenced the distribution of cheques to 20 beneficiaries under the first phase of the one-billion-Naira Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund in Osun State.
The one-billion-Naira loan project is between the Bank of Industries and the House of Oduduwa under the leadership of the Ooni of Ife, H.I.M, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja the second.
At the presentation of the cheques to the beneficiaries in Ile Ife, Osun State, the acting Managing Directors of BOI, Waheed Olagunju, said the project wass to enable the unemployed become an employer of labour.
He state that the 20 beneficiaries who received 30 million Naira in the first phase have undergone capacity building programme over the last six months to enable them sustain whatever business enterprises they go into.
The BOI boss said he was confident that about 80 to 90 per cent of the beneficiaries would succeed based on the capacity building training they had received.
He further explained that the loan would cover services and Agro-allied businesses with repayment plan ranging between three and five years under a single digit interest rate of 7.5.
The Bank and the House of Oduduwa in Osun State on November 16 signed the one-billion-Naira agreement that would make loan facilities available to both women and youths in Ile-Ife.
Prominent among the features of the Memorandum of Understanding is the 7.5% interest rate to the beneficiaries.
Oba Ogunwusi signed for the House of Oduduwa while Mr Olagunju, represented the financial institution.
The monarch emphasised the need to get youths empowered, saying it was necessary for the nation’s continuous growth.
Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Najeem Salaam, has lauded the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) for picking the gauntlet against divisive tendencies among the Yoruba traditional rulers in the last one year of his ascension to the throne.
Speaking to newsmen in his office at the House of Assembly complex in Osogbo, the state capital, Speaker Salaam asserted that Ooni Ogunwusi has shown the world that the Yoruba nation is endowed with rich culture, value and moral fibers coupled with wise rulers, with the way the King has conducted himself.
Speaker Salaam stressed that the state parliament under his watch was proud of the Arole Oodua and his relation with other traditional rulers in the state and across the country.
“We, at the State of Osun House of Assembly are proud of Ooni Ogunwusi and his royal candor in relating with other traditional rulers in the state and across the country.
“We cannot but agree more to his world view on unity and the leaders across board for the good of the nation”, Salaam reiterated.
“I congratulate the great monarch as he clocks a year on the revered stool and pray that Ooni Ogunwusi would live long in good health to attract prosperity.
“He has been of great encouragement to youths in Ile-Ife and beyond, particularly in his drive towards reducing unemployment among the youths,
“He has shown that the youths can still go back to the farm and make their life worthwhile. In many ways he has rehabilitated many youths who have gone astray and has given them a new approach to life.
“What more can the people of Ile-Ife ask for? What more can Osun state ask for and what more can the Yoruba race ask for?
“Here is a king who understands what it means to unite the Yoruba race. We are so proud of his reign and we believe God will always be with our king.”
A former President of Nigeria, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo and Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, have declared their support for the moves to unite traditional rulers in Yorubaland by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II.
They spoke at the one year anniversary of the ascension of throne by the Ooni and launching of a book – ‘Venerated’ – detailing his background and emergence.
Both Obasanjo and Soyinka asked the Ooni to ignore comments or moves that could spur disunity among people of Yoruba race.
Obasanjo said he had been monitoring the activities of the Ooni since his ascension to the throne, urging the monarch to take the unification agenda as a key factor for the development of the Yoruba nation.
“I have paid keen interest in the unification move of the Ooni since his ascension to the throne. It is commendable. We need someone like the Ooni to ensure that the Yoruba nation remained undivided,” he said.
“We Know What We Know”
Professor Soyinka, who also identified the need for people of Yoruba race to unite, maintained that one of the controversial matters among the Yoruba leaders remained the origin of Ile-Ife.
He also argued that anyone who considered Moremi as a traitor was not saying the “reality”, referring to a statement by another monarch, the Olugbo of Ugbo, few days ago.
He said, “There is controversy about the origin of someone whom we know as the origin of Yoruba race, kingdom, black race and humanity. The controversy may continue for long but the reality is that Kabiesi, the Ooni of Ife above all Ile-Ife is the cradle of humanity.
“We know what we know. We know what we accept and believe and that remains the fact. I have just gone to see the statue of Moremi and the controversy on Moremi, I have heard and learnt that some people said that Moremi, the heroine, is a traitor. That does not touch any part of reality of what Moremi is or was. And I don’t want you (Ooni) to spend any time or energy at all responding to counter or alternative theories. It is not necessary,” the Nobel Laureate told the Ooni.
According to him, the influence of Ile-Ife transcends Nigeria and Africa.
“If you walk on the street of Cuba or Brazil, somebody will tap you on your shoulder because they know you are black, they say ‘who are you?’ And you say ‘I am Osun, Ogun, Sango’. At the end, they will ask you how is the Ooni? It means the Yoruba race, culture is beyond this environment,” he added.
He, however, assured the Ooni of his support, saying, “I can see that you are sent on a mission of the unity of the Yoruba people wherever they are in any part of the world. We promise to work with you to bring that dream to reality.”
While emphasising the importance of peace and unity, the Ooni vowed not to stop his moves to make the Yoruba nation one.
He explained that his one-year of ascension to the throne was focused on tourism, agriculture and youth emancipation.
He said: “There must be peace in Yoruba nation and entire country. It is when there is peace among Yoruba leaders that we will progress and develop. Our peaceful co-existence is non-negotiable that is why we are preaching peace and I will continue to preach it.
“We won’t stop working and we will continue to seek partnership with the three tiers of government,” he added.
The Bank of Industry in Nigeria and the House of Oduduwa in Osun State have signed a one billion Naira agreement that will make loan facilities available to both women and youths in Ile-Ife.
The loan was secured by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.
Prominent among the features of the Memorandum of Understanding is the 7.5% interest rate to the beneficiaries.
Oba Ogunwusi signed for the House of Oduduwa while the Acting Managing Director of Bank of Industry (BoI), Mr Waheed Olagunju, represented the financial institution.
The monarch emphasised the need to get youths empowered, saying it was necessary for the nation’s continuous growth.
Reducing Youth Unemployment
He urged other monarchs across the globe to be dedicated in developing the youths in their various communities so as to reduce the rate of unemployment in Nigeria.
“I challenge monarchs across the country to be dedicated to developing youths in their communities.
“I won’t mind going hungry to empower the youths. If the youths of today are empowered, many generations will benefit from them and poverty will be abolished.
“Today’s event is another giant step in the history of Ile-Ife. We are moulding the future of our youths in the areas of agriculture and agro-allied industry.
“I put a challenge to other monarch’s to engage in community partnership. We should stop relying on the government. There are so many initiatives that community leaders can tap into.
“Community leaders should go into partnership with multinational companies and financial institutions to benefit their people.
“This one billion Naira funding will obviously help the youth of the entire House of Oduduwa and beyond. This is a very good template that should be emulated by others. As monarchs, we should think of what we can do for our people and support the government in its empowerment moves,” he emphasised.
The Ooni further advised governments at all levels to set up a body that will particularly focus on local contents initiative.
“The body should also be responsible for quality assurance and control. With this, over 60 per cent contracts will have local input,” he says.
On his part, Mr Olagunju explained that the initiative was aimed at reducing youth unemployment in communities.
“Feeding The Whole Nation”
A substantial part of the loan will be disbursed to women and businesses that show high sustainability, agriculture, solid minerals and services especially those who deal in Made in Nigeria Goods, he says.
“We have been partnering with multinational and corporate companies, but today we are collaborating with traditional rulers.
“These are people who have access to the grassroots. Partnering with them is a way of democratising entrepreneurship. We identify areas in which communities have comparative advantages and invest in them.
“The beneficiaries will be selected using the world best practices.
“For this edition, about 15 to 20 per cent of them will be those who deal in local products.
“We are working with the Entrepreneurship Centre of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife. Applications are expected to be submitted and a joint committee of BoI team, the Oduduwa House and OAU team would access it.
“They are to be monitored by members of the committee and elders, especially the traditional rulers. We estimate that about 5,000 youths will benefit from this,” he explained.
Also at the signing ceremony was the Chief Executive Officer of Hephzibah Network, Olamide Awosunle. He estimated that with the loan, Ile-Ife would begin to supply food to South-West states.
“This is to complement the Agro-prenuership Summit and it will help to grow Ile-Ife and south western Nigeria.
“In a short time, Ile-Ife will be feeding the whole nation and South-west states especially will depend on Ile-Ife to get food,” an optimistic Olamide, who is the project director, added.
The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, over the weekend launched an environmental sanitation programme tagged ‘Gba’femo’ [Sweep Ife Clean].
The programme is worth millions of Naira and anchored by Motherland Beckons and has as part of strategies to push residents’ involvement a cleaning competition among all the streets in Ife.
The cleanest street in Ile-Ife and its environs when chosen would receive a cash reward of 100,000 Naira every month. At the commissioning of the project held in front of the Ile-Oodua, Enuwa Square in Ile Ife, Osun State, Oba Ogunwusi, who was accompanied by his queen, Olori Wuraola Ogunwusi, said the provision of the two new Leyland trucks and waste disposal bins was to encourage the people of Ile-Ife to take the issue of sanitation very seriously.
He declared that “environmental sanitation or cleanliness is crucial in the drive to make Ile-Ife a tourist destination. And Ile-Ife has to be prepared ahead for the millions of tourists expected to visit the ancient historical city from next year”.
According to him, this is why about 200 youths have been selected and enlisted for the take-off of the programme in collaboration with Local Government Authorities.
Waste To Wealth Programme
Oba Ogunwusi, therefore, urged the women and elders to co-operate with them in order to make it successful.
“We should not leave every responsibility to the government alone. We are the ones that voted for those in position of authority. Thus, we are also part of the government. Therefore, we need to support the governments at all times to make our environment clean, neat and healthy.
“It is part of Ife anthem to uplift Ile-Ife. It is when we uplift our community that the government would be encouraged and give necessary assistance to our community,” the Ooni told reporters.
He noted that the event was a great one before God. “This is because God dwells in cleanliness. And that is why the event is special to me,” he highlighted.
Oba Ogunwusi emphasised that environmental sanitation and cleanliness in all ramifications should be properly observed and carried out in all the nooks and crannies of Ile-Ife.
He encouraged all the residents to ensure that Ife city became the cleanest city in Nigeria.
He said that the programme would begin from each household.
“It is the women that ensures cleanliness of the home. Therefore, all the women in Ile-Ife and environs should give priority to environmental sanitation and cleanliness, the monarch added.”
He also urged the Environmental Sanitation Vanguard in the palace to ensure the replication of the clean palace environment observed in the last six months despite visits by thousands of people daily to the palace.
Earlier, the Project Manager, Mr Tunde Awoyemi, while addressing the crowd at the event said that Ooni Ogunwusi had challenged the youths, women and elders of the community to be actively involved in environmental sanitation and cleanliness of Ile-Ife and environs.
He added that the two new Leyland trucks and waste disposal bins provided by the monarch would go round the city to collect refuse and dump them at a designated dump site where it would be separated for recycling, converting it to wealth. “It would be waste to wealth programme,” he stressed.
Also the Ife Traditional Council led by Obalufe of Iremo, Oba Idowu Adediwura and Lowa Adimula of Ife, Oba Julius Omisakin, spoke glowingly in support of the programme initiated by Ooni Ogunwusi.
They said that they had chosen wisely in picking Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi as their king.
They also appealed for support and co-operation of all and sundry in Ile-Ife and its environs to make the programme successful.
Scout Nigeria has conferred on the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the ambassador of Messenger of Peace in Nigeria and a member of the group’s Board of Trustees.
At an investiture programme held at the palace of the Ooni of Ife in Ile-Ife, Osun State over the weekend, the Scout group said they believed the monarch was on the same level as the King of Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz or beyond his level, who was given the honour as the world’s Messenger of Peace, earlier this year.
They said he was worthy of the post.
True Messenger Of Peace
The group said, their belief was that in a short period, the king would also rise to the position of the world patron of the Messenger of Peace.
The President of Scout Nigeria, Folabi Shofolahan, told the monarch that the main reason he was picked, was that when he ascended the throne in 2015, he broke a 79-year long rivalry between the Ooni and the Alaafin of Oyo by paying him a courtesy visit, which typifies a true messenger of peace.
“Scouting is a game for that boy and girl that is out to build them physically, mentally, emotionally spiritually and socially and make them useful to their individual community and the international world.
“It’s good to let you know Kabiyesi that worldwide we are about 40 million and our expectations is by 2023,the young side of scouting will be 100 million. And in trying to look at how we can achieve that, we have come up with different strategic plans, one of them is the preaching of the messages of peace”.
“Kabiyesi since your ascension to the throne of your father, you have done tremendously well in terms of managing peace within the Yoruba land and particularly Yoruba in diaspora.”
“You also broke the age long rivalry between your throne and the Alaafin of Oyo and that is what scouting is all about”.
“Our programme today, we call it “Messenger of Peace” established by two great men – King Gustas IV of Sweden and Late King Abdulhazeez of Saudi Arabia – and we believe that we have people who are equivalent and even more than them that can foster and promote peace and that is why we are here today to decorate the ‘Kabiyesi’ (King) and confer on him, the “Ambassador of Messenger of Peace”.
“Scouting started in Nigeria in 1915 and we will do all not to let scouting die in Nigeria. We are back to the source and we will start from the source to get to other leaders”. Kabiyesi, we believe so much in your vision and we will always support you,” Mr Shofolahan stated.
Oba Ogunwusi, after he accepted the title, promised to repay the gesture with commitment to the mission he had been asked to embark on, saying he would support the group whenever he was called upon to do so.
In his words: “My life has been completely dedicated to service of mankind and this is one of the things that signifies service to mankind. Scouting I believe helps to extend love to one another all over the world to make others happy and I am dedicated to this course”.
“In every situation I give God all the glory and the adoration. The best way to serve God is service to mankind.
“Many do not know the difference between holiness and religion. They are two different things, when you serve mankind it is one of the commandments of God. If you serve God and Love mankind, there is no way you will steal, be covetous and kill. Love God and love your neighbour.
“This two are strong bonds. What you are doing is basically to keep the association together. It is service to mankind and you are growing eaglets, teaching them what selflessness is all about and you are doing it with fullness of joy without being paid salaries”.
He further commended their efforts and promised to be a good Ambassador and Messenger of Peace.
“Service attracted me to this group and I promise never to fail you as I reassure you of my further commitment.
“God Bless Scout Association of Nigeria and the entire world, God bless our country Nigeria and the Yoruba Race worldwide, I thank you for this honour,” he added.
The Ooni of Ile-Ife has called on the Federal Government to intensify investments in culture and tourism, saying the sector is capable of bailing the country out of economic recession.
The Ooni, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, also advised the government to promote Nigeria’s culture, as a unifying force for the people within and in the diaspora.
Ooni Ogunwusi made the request at the unveiling of the Olojo Festival logo, which marked the beginning of the 2016 Olojo Festival, held at the the Ile-Oodua Palace on Friday.
Oba Ogunwusi while launching the logo said: “What we are doing is indeed a new one. We have improved the branding and we want to show the landmark uniqueness of Ile-Ife as a tourist centre.
“Both the government and private entrepreneurs should begin to use tourism for unity and economic development. Tourism is about movement. It is like a mandate that draws people from every part of the world”.
Oba Ogunwusi said embracing culture and tourism would bail Nigeria out of recession, describing it as a lasting solution to the current economic challenges.
The Ooni also mentioned that the sector was capable of making Osun State one of the richest states in Nigeria.
While describing Olojo as one festival with world class recognition, he emphasised the fact that ‘the festival draws all sons and daughters from across the world’ and that it would be a good opportunity to reinforce the notion of Ife, as a foremost cultural centre and sensitise them on the need to tap into tourism and culture.
The Director General of the Office of Economic Development and Partnerships (OEDP), Dr. Charles Akinola, who represented the Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, said that entrepreneurs involvement was necessary for cultural renaissance and socio-economic development.
Explaining further, he pointed out that Ile-Ife had no less than 12 tourist centres of international standards and also made reference to some other countries who have generated revenue ranging from $20.2 billion to $177.2 billion.
He stated that the government already had a tourism master-plan and had been developing it within the possible financial circumstances.
“When these are developed and well marketed, they will generate jobs in arts and craft; tour guides, transportation services in airlines and taxicabs and hospitality services,” he stated.
Dr Akinola called on entrepreneurs and those interested to partner with the government in order for the nation to benefit from the tourism ‘money-spinner’.
Stressing the importance of this partnership, he explained that culture separates one human group from another.
“Culture is the capsule that houses the economic system, science and technology, behavioural pattern, beliefs and religion of a people.”
He further expressed concern that Nigeria was not tapping into the economic aspect of culture, saying: “We can build a thriving economy around our culture and monuments”.
Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd.) has appealed to the Federal Government to do all at its disposal to bring an end to the economic recession which Nigeria is currently grappling with.
General Gowon made the call on Wednesday at the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, in Osun State.
He told reporters in Ile Ife that he was optimistic that the team put up by the Federal Government can come up with a solution to the crisis.
The former Head of State, who declined to speak further on the state of the economy, however admitted that the masses and businesses were going through a tough time.
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to find a way to restore the confidence of the people in the economy and the country at large.
“Let the current authority find a way out of the current economic crisis. The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has been telling us what they have been doing to get the economy strong again. She said all will be well by September. Let’s wait till then.
“I have left government for a long time, so I may not really know what the problem is. The current administration should do whatever they can to solve the economic challenge. They should find a way to restore confidence in citizens and the nation at large by fixing the economy.”
The Federal Government has commenced the planting of 2,000 cashew seedlings to kick start the 2016 cashew planting season and Cashew Expansion Programme in Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.
The Federal Government commenced the programme in line with its goal of reviving the agriculture sector and creating jobs for the youths,
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, who flagged off the programme in Ogudu Village in Ife, Osun State said the government is determined to build the future of Nigeria by reviving cashew farming to make it earn more foreign exchange.
The Minister assured that the government will roll out two million cashew seedlings annually to sustain the programme.
Speakers at the event harped on the need for all to return to the farm especially the youths to help revive the sector as well as provide and create jobs for the unemployed.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola and others spoke about the health and financial benefits derivable from planting cashew should be the driving force to sustain the programme.
Mr Ogbeh re-affirmed the readiness of the Buhari – led administration to improve the lives of Nigerians through agriculture.
He assured that a cocoa and banana plantation programme will also be unveiled very soon .
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, while speaking blamed the nation’s ailing economy on the total abandonment of agriculture, stressing that agriculture remains the largest employer of labour in the world.
The cashew plant is expected to begin to yield it’s fruits three years from now.
The event was graced by several traditional rulers, officials of the Bank of Industry and the Bank of Agriculture and a delegation from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, says Nigeria can generate five trillion Naira annually from mining and exporting of its vast solid mineral deposits.
Dr. Fayemi made the observation while in a meeting with other experts on Friday at the third Dr. John Agboola Odeyemi Lecture held at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
He expressed hope that the development would be accompanied with several multiplier effects on job creation and social infrastructure in various states across Nigeria.
The Minister added that Nigeria’s potentially most beneficial solid minerals such as: limestone, coal, diatomite, gold and silver among others were spread around the country.
He said it was necessary for the Federal, State and Local governments to partner with private investors, to harness the resources and turn it to a win-win situation for the nation.
In his speech at the event, Dr. Agboola, who was marking his 77th birthday, could not agree less with the Minister.
Other speakers at the event tagged ‘Harnessing Our Natural and Cultural Heritage for National Development’, were the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Chairman of the occasion, Professor John Alo and a representative of the Vice Chancellor of OAU, Professor Omolayo Ajayi.
The monarch had also stressed the need for further diversification of Nigeria’s economy, with a call on the government to explore the solid minerals in Osun State.
Oba Ogunwusi expressed optimism that an exploration of the huge solid minerals in his state, especially gold, would give an unprecedented boost to the nation’s economy and shift it away from volatility of the crude oil market.
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has held a closed door meeting with the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The meeting is coming shortly after President Buhari played host to the Liberian President, Ms Johnson Ellen Sirleaf; the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church Of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, among others.
The Ooni of Ife, who visited the President on Tuesday, had earlier stressed the need for further diversification of Nigeria’s economy, with a call on the government to explore the solid minerals in his state.
He expressed confidence that Ile Ife would be the take-off point of the new Nigerian economy in a post oil and gas era.
Oba Ogunwusi also expressed optimism that an exploration of the huge solid minerals in the state, especially gold, would give an unprecedented boost to the nation’s economy and shift it away from volatility of the crude oil market.
He stressed the need for focus to shift from oil and gas to other solid minerals in Nigerian states.
The monarch said that he was already working with the State and Federal governments to promote solid minerals, tourism and agriculture to keep the youths engaged and promote the local economy.