The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has pledged to turn the ancient city around to attract tourists and boost its economy.
Oba Ogunwusi, represented by Moses Olafare, his spokesman, made the promise at a news briefing held in his office within the palace in Ile-Ife Osun state.
Mr Olafare said that Ile-Ife was a land of expansion and a sacred town globally known as the source of the Oduduwa race.
“The town is known for its peaceful nature, accommodating to visitors and tourists, and home to 201 Yoruba deities,” he said.
The Ooni’s spokesman further told reporters that there were several historical monuments and sites in the ancient city that when developed into international standard, millions of local and foreign tourists and visitors would like to visit, having read about them in history books in the past.
According to him, the ancient city is endowed with shrines and monuments that include: the Moremi Ajasoro’s statue of liberty reputed as the tallest statue in Nigeria and the third in Africa.
In Osun, there are also the Oranmiyan groove, the Ooni’s palace, Olokun, Osara, Obatala, Orunmila, Oranfe and Oduduwa shrines.
He said that these and many more were the cultural heritages that tourists, visitors and Nigerians in the Diaspora could use to trace Yoruba history, their routes and other descendants of Oduduwa.
The monarch also said that no fewer than 200 tourists and visitors visited the Ooni’s palace daily, saying this was beside the over 500 visitors that visited the various shrines and monuments across the city every day.
“The hotel operators in Ile-Ife and adjoining communities, as well as operators of taxicabs and commercial buses, have been benefiting from the influx of tourists and visitors that throng the town regularly.
“Business men and women in addition to residents of the community have also been benefitting in one way or the other from the visitors and tourists that came into the town,” he said.
The monarch said that these had improved the living standards of the community, maintaining that since his coronation as the monarch, the town has continued to witness tremendous infrastructure development in areas of roads and provision of security for residents and visitors alike.
He lauded the state government for embarking on a holistic development of the state.
“The government has been playing its part by developing the various cultural sites, tourism and monuments across the state.
“I want to complement the state government’s efforts by upgrading the ones around me to international standards.
“It is part of my plans to give splendid facelifts to the several monuments and heritage sites across the city which I have begun to do.
“The idea is for tourists and visitors to have several attractions to see in the ancient city and to also have value for their visits and monies they will be spending there,”he said.
The monarch said that in the last one year of his ascension to the throne as the Ooni of Ife, the ancient town had recorded unprecedented human traffic and economic growth.
The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi (Ojaja II), has been described as the Oduduwa re-incarnate by the the Alayemore of Ido-Osun, Oba Adedapo Aderemi.
Oba Aderemi praised the Ooni for celebrating Obalufon Ogbogbodirin the father of his own ancestor Obalufon Alayemore.
He made the observation on Thursday at the unveiling ceremony of Obalufon Ogbogbodirin Statue and grand-finale celebration of Obalufon Festival, 2016, at the Ile-Oodua palace in Ile-Ife.
Oba Aderemi, who is also the secretary of South-West council Obas told the gathering that Obalufon Ogbogbodirin as a hero gave birth to another hero Obalufon Alayemore who had founded several of today’s Yoruba towns including Ido-Osun.
“Yes they are both heroes worthy of this celebration. My progenitor, Ooni Obalufon Alayemore, succeeded his father Ooni Obalufon Ogbogbodirin, he founded my kingdom Ido-Osun, having been driven out by Oranmiyan who had just returned from his sojourns where had earlier gone to establish many Kingdoms, he forcefully succeeded him as Ooni.
“Apart from Ido-Osun, my father, Alayemore, also founded other towns like Ifon Osun, Ilara, Erin Efon-Alaaye and other towns in Ekiti before he came back here (Ile-Ife) to succeed Oranmiyan making him the only Ooni who was crowned twice,” Oba Alayemore said.
Indications Of Oduduwa Re-incarnation
He commended Ooni Ogunwusi for preaching peaceful co-existence among the Yoruba traditional rulers, acknowledging him to have visited Alafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi twice within a year of his reign not minding his status as the father of all Oduduwa children all over the world.
Oba Aderemi stated further that within a year, Ooni Ogunwusi had transformed Ile-Ife beyond any imagination, adding that the Ooni’s giant strides in infrastructural development, agricultural revolution, cultural tourism, empowerment for the youths, the aged and widows among others were enough indications of Oduduwa re-incarnation and will remain appreciated by the entire Yoruba race.
“This is unprecedented. I am not surprised that Ooni is reforming these deities’ statues because the previous Oonis from Oduduwa were also known for unprecedented giant strides, let me remind you all here that his great-grandfather, the Ojaja I, was responsible for the first documentation of the history of kingship system in Yoruba around 1883.
“I must also commend the humility of his leadership. Despite the fact he is the spiritual leader of Yoruba race, he has been travelling to meet other Yoruba monarchs in their various palaces without claiming any supremacy” he stated.
The traditional ruler lauded Ooni Ogunwusi for his development and unity of Yorubaland and human race, to the extent of taking his peace and unity campaign to foreign countries such as UK, Ghana, Australia, USA, Germany, Canada and the Caribbeans for impactful partnership.
He averred that ‘Ooni Ogunwusi is Oduduwa’ and has come to complete the unfinished work of his ancestors as the current father of all Yoruba traditional rulers, maintaining that the new Ooni was selected by trinity so as to civilise his community and to bring into remembrance the past glory of Yoruba land.
According to him, no fewer than 401 deities existed globally, but Ife took 201 in which Ooni is the only existing living deity among them all for which he deserves to be duly honoured and respected.
Also, the Obalara of Ifeland, Oba Olugbenga Fadoyin, commended Ooni Ogunwusi for celebrating the past powerful ancestors that showcase the existence of humanity.
Fadoyin said that Obalufon was a great hero who used all his life for the safety of Yorubas adding that the work of art started from the cradle of Yorubas in his time as Ooni of Ife.
Detailed Historical Account
On his part, the Obalufe of Iremo-Ife, Oba Idowu Adediwura, applauded Oba Ogunwusi for promoting Yoruba culture and uplifting work of his forefathers.
Adediwura urged indigenes of Ife and Yorubaland to support the African foremost monarch so as to take Ife and Oodua race to its promise land.
In his remarks, the Ooni thanked the traditional rulers and other guests who witnessed the occasion, stating that Obalufon played a pivotal role across the world which calls for his celebration at all time.
He gave a detailed historical account, saying Obalufon Ogbogbodinrin was created in his special way by God and lived a very special life particularly in the area of arts and fabrics.
“Ile Ife has been a city state with unprecedented socio-economic significance and a sophisticated kingship system (Oduduwa Monarchy model) thousands of years before Christ. Obalufon alayemore was the fifth Ooni of Ife and the son of Ooni Obalufon Ogbogbodirin the fourth Ooni, they were from the lineage of Osangangan Obamakin the Second Ooni of Ife.
“Obalufon Ogbogbodirin reigned for centuries and was transfigured into a metal figurine as he ages, thus becoming a deity and holds the spiritual classified codes for Ooni’s long reign.
“His son, Obalufon Alayemore’s reign was marked with the first ever renaissance recorded in human history (pre-dating the Carolingian renaissance of 8th -9th century) evident in the artifacts and ancient technological exploits that was credited to his historic tenure.
“He was the grand patron of arts, science and technology with kin value for intellectual excellence and artistic intricacies, urbanization, economic revolution, standardization of career paths, conflict resolution, wages and salary system”.
“Obalufon Alayemore was also deemed to have established many other towns and cities like Ido Osun, Efon Alaye, Erin and many more.
“Obalufon Alayemore created new city plan for Ile-Ife with construction of several temples and building of city walls which economically enhanced cosmopolitan state of Ife. Bronze casting and all forms of alloys and metals crafts, glass beads and other jewels got to its peak of refinement during his reign further making Ife a commercial hub.
“Obalufon Alayemore was transformed into a stone effigy when his reign was ended by conspiracy associated with traditional and political complexes.
“Obalufon shrine till date plays an important role in the Installation of the Ooni, as Aare crown must be blessed in his shrine before it could adore the head of the new Ooni”. Ooni Ogunwusi stated,” Oba Ogunwusi told the gathering.
The Ooni had earlier described the unveiling of Obalufon statue as another remarkable day in the history of Ife, Yoruba and the entire black race, saying that all the ancestors needed to be celebrated, having gone through their history when they were alive.
He charged the Yorubas to always promote their culture and heritage which he said were the next solution to economically move Nigeria forward.
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.”
Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has called on Nigerians to jettison the thoughts that the 276 girls abducted by the Boko Haram sect in Chibok town of Borno State in 2014 could ever be rescued.
The former President said this while addressing a crowd of the students, lecturers and the Vice Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor Bamitale Omole, at the university’s Staff Club in Ile-Ife, Osun State, in southwest Nigeria.
In his speech on the “Reflections of an Elder Statesman”, he stressed that the major problem affecting the development of the nation was lack of continuity.
Mr Obasanjo also pointed out that if the fight against corruption must be entrenched, it has to start from the top government functionaries down the ladder.
He noted that the present organs that was being used to fight corruption – the Economic Financial Crimes Commission – was put in place because of the prevailing existence of corruption when he was in power.
Before his arrival at the venue of the lecture, the former President had visited the palace of the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunmuko, Ojaja II, to pay homage to the monarch.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has asked the new Ooni of Ife, His Majesty Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi to work for the unity of Yorubas both within Nigeria and in diaspora.
Vice President Osinbajo offered the advice to the paramount ruler on Monday at the official presentation of staff of office to the 51st Ooni of Ife.
The traditional monarch’s inauguration ceremony, which held in Ile Ife, Osun State, was witnessed by traditional rulers as well as political and tribal leaders.
“As we celebrate and experience the pump and pageantry of the cult of Ooni and the expression in songs and dance of the ancient folklore of the proud people of this cradle of Yoruba civilization, we are reminded of the weightier matter of the great responsibility that has to be on His Royal Majesty, the new Ooni,” Professor Osinbajo said.
Past and present governors of Osun, Oyo, Ogun, Lagos; leaders of the APC, captains of industries, traditional rulers from the southwest states, the Sultan of Sokoto, Dein of Agbor and the Obong of Calabar amongst others were not left out of the ceremony.
The Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, said, “Kingship appointment is not an ordinary one and by our culture and tradition, the King rules on behalf of the gods.
“He is therefore accountable not just to men but also to the gods as well, for good governance and sustenance of the legacies of the past 50 kings before him.”
Other dignitaries also took turns to deliver their goodwill messages laden with calls for peace, unity and responsibility for the youths, and the Ooni himself in his speech assured well-wishers that he was aware of the responsibilities bestowed on him.
“If we have leadership there will be followership, the two go hand in hand. You cannot be king over animals nor plants, it has to be human beings,” he said.
An inter-religious service has held at the Ile Oodua in Ile Ife, Osun State to usher in the commencement of the inauguration of His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II (The second) as the 51st Ooni Of Ife.
Christians, Muslims as well as traditional believers all gathered in front of the palace to offer prayers for the successful reign of the Ooni and for the peace and progress of the Yoruba race.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola, at the inter-religious programme, said that the seat of the Ooni holds a very significant position in the history of the Yoruba ethnic group, as such it must play the role of unifying all.
The Governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the Osun State Government, Moshood Adeoti, stated that the Yoruba people were expectant that the new Ooni would promote peace, unity, development and oneness of the Yoruba people across the world.
The Governor and all the clerics urged all Nigerians to pray for traditional rulers as they are the custodians of culture and peace.
Thousands of Ife indigenes trooped out on Wednesday to welcome the 51st Ooni-elect of Ife, Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, as he made his first public appearance to the people of the ancient town.
The Ooni-elect arrived Ife at about 2:15pm local time and was received by the Ife Traditional Council and other indigenes along the Ife-Ibadan expressway.
Meanwhile, Banks, stalls, markets and all commercial activities were shut in Ife and Modakeke towns to allow the people welcome the Ooni-elect.
The incoming monarch was later taken to the Obalufe of Iremo Quarters where he was received by the Traditional Chiefs and later turbaned before making his exit to the Giesi Ruling House later to be decorated as the ‘Sooko’ of the house.
His welcome witnessed various cultural and traditional display by the Ilaris and others.
A statement issued by the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, confirmed that the Kingmakers of Ile-Ife had completed the required process and communicated the choice of Prince Ogunwusi to his office for approval.