Ife agog as Ooni-elect Ogunwusi arrives
• ‘How early fatherhood at 19 spurred me on to greatness’
• Fayose, Fasehun pledge support
IN an unabashed display of joy, the likes of which had not been witnessed in the ancient town in many years, men, women and children of Ile-Ife, Osun State yesterday, pulled out all the stops in a frenzy of celebration as they received their Ooni-elect, Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi who arrived to occupy the exalted throne of his fathers.
Returning triumphantly to the home of his birth, the Ooni-elect revealed how fatherhood at the age of 19 challenged and spurred him on to ensure that he was successful in all his endeavours. He said that in order to cater for his family, he became very enterprising with the knack of building something out of nothing.
Meanwhile, Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose has congratulated the Ooni-elect on his selection and appointment as the Ooni of Ile-Ife and prayed that his reign will witness tremendous development and peace in the ancient town.
The governor, in a message in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, urged the new Ooni to be courageous, firm and see his appointment as a call to service and to unite the Yoruba race.
Also, founder and President of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasehun, has sent a congratulatory message to the Giesi Ruling House and the people of Ile-Ife over the emergence of Ogunwusi as the Ooni-Elect.
Fasehun, who holds the chieftaincy title of “Ataalase Oodua” in Ile-Ife, promised that OPC would stand solidly behind the 51st Ooni, and assured him of the organisation’s unflinching support.
The Ooni-elect had in a speech overviewed what he hopes his reign would portend.
“From birth, my life has been a journey; one that I embarked on, saddled with great conscientiousness when I became a responsible father at the age of 19, which shaped and groomed me for greater challenges ahead.
“To cater for my family as a young father, I became very enterprising with the knack of building something out of nothing. This certainly increased my temperament for being successful in all my endeavours, as well as towing the right path as a responsible father.
“Thus, in the following years, I was able to build consortia of companies with a team of well-versed, highly skilled and unskilled professionals from scratch and with hard work and God’s providence. This has made me a huge employer of labour and a captain of industries. The story of Ile-Ife begins as the cradle of civilisation and has spread its tentacles beyond Black Africa.”
The Ile-Ife of his dreams, Prince Ogunwusi said, would be one that will be strategically positioned to empower its people socially, economically and culturally to bring about the desired developments.
The Ooni-elect, though optimistic, was aware of the task ahead, as he also said: “Now, with our resolve to transform Ile-Ife, we are ‘SET’ to leave no stone unturned, in the drive to put Ile-Ife on the map of the world. Our ultimate goal is to reposition the House of Oduduwa as a worthy example of successful inward-looking community.
“The Ooni stool is highly revered and exalted and as the world looks on; our strength and emphasis need to be injected into the development of Ile-Ife as a beacon of hope and enviable city.
“Suffices to say that Ile-Ife is the ancestral and spiritual home of all Yorubas, bona fide, in Nigeria and the Diaspora, and the World Headquarters of the House of Oduduwa, which comprises people resident in nearly all the continents of the world.
“Thus, the Ooni, as the head of the vast Oduduwa family, must be no less versatile and resourceful. Available evidences from the curatorial community and archaeological discoveries have put the origin of Ile-Ife around 2000 years BC.”
Alluding to how he had helped many young minds wandering the street to be meaningfully engaged, he maintained that an end has come to the Modakeke-Ife crisis.
Ogunwusi also promised not to seek vengeance against those who tried to tarnish his image and person in the build up to the contest for the stool.
I am not coming to the throne to pass judgment on those that have maliciously wronged me. But then, I should think that a bid to be enthroned as the foremost Oba in Yoruba race should be healthy and ordained of God. There is also the Ifa divination that also synthesizes the process, just in case human beings are partial.
“Therefore, I am coming to set a good example and show the world that I am truly called by God to lead Ile-Ife into a state of tranquility, conscientiousness and prosperity. It is my fervent prayer that the Lord will continue to guide us all and bestow us with great wisdom to carry out our incumbent tasks.”
As if they shared his dreams, Ile-Ife people did indeed make a joyful noise as the town literally stood still.
The joyfulness was so unrestrained that an indigene, Kola Adeyemi said: “It was also a joyful thanksgiving to God that it has all ended so peacefully. We had reasons to worry as to the outcome, but today has shown that we are all one in Ile-Ife, no winners, no losers. So why should we not make a joyful noise?’’ he asked.
Gorgeously dressed, sons and daughters of Ile-Ife lined the streets, singing, dancing and praising the Ooni-designate and his entourage who had travelled all the way from Lagos en-route Ibadan, Oyo State capital to commence his coronation rites.
Security agents including regular policemen and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were stationed at strategic locations in the town.
From the Ife end of the Ibadan-Ife Expressway, it was celebration galore as thousands of elated residents trooped out, an indication that Prince Ogunwusi has general acceptability among the populace.
Local hunters and vigilante groups fired gunshots into the air as the convoy in which he rode arrived the Ife toll gate.
There was traffic restriction on some major roads including Ibadan road, the commercial nerve centre at Lagere, Enuwa, Iremo Road and
Others, while police patrol vans moved round the town as preventive measures against untoward conduct.
At Agbedegbede compound, where the Ooni-elect hails from, it was a beehive of activities as groups of musicians were busy with their trade entertaining dignitaries, among whom was former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The huge crowd at the frontage of Ile Oodua , the Ooni’s palace broke into wild jubilation immediately they sighted the convoy.
Commercial motorcyclists popularly gathered at the entrance of Ife from the toll gate end and led the entourage in a long convoy to Prince Ogunwusi’s family compound at Agbedegbede.
Various groups including market women association, road transport unions, community societies and artisans also joined the celebrating crowd to usher in the Ooni-elect.
From the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital to Iremo junction, school children in uniform lined the roads to welcome the Ooni-elect.
Although no holiday was declared in their school, students of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), including members of Federation of Ife Students Union also trooped out in their thousands carrying placards, portraits and banners celebrating the arrival of the prince.
The Isoro deities dressed in their white regalia to which the Ooni also belong to were not left out as they took a vantage position at the Ife toll gate to receive the young Ooni-elect.
The convoy stopped when it got to a location where members of the Ife Traditional Council were waiting to receive him while the chairman of the Giesi Ruling House Screening Committee, Prof. Adekanye Aderibigbe led the Ooni-elect to greet his father, Prince Ropo Ogunwusi.
Before arrival at his family compound at Agbedegbede, the new Ooni had a stop over at the Iremo quarters, the palace of the late Obalufe of where a mandatory traditional rite was performed on him.