Ooni-elect’s Greatness Is Foretold Before His Birth, Says Father
Tell me about the childhood of the King-elect.
Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi is a child of destiny. Before he was born a prophet told us that we were going to give birth to a child who is going to be great. That was 1973. The prophet told us the day and the time he would arrive this world. The precise time and day the man of God mentioned came to pass.
And since his birth, everything about him is special. That is why my father named him Adeyeye. But he was fond of calling him Olowoyeye because he said ‘Yeye is going to be very rich. As he grew older, Baba modified his name to Adeyeye Ooni. That was the name he called him till he died in 1988.
Can you recollect anything striking about his childhood?
Many years ago when we were still using black and white television, his mother and I came home one day to find him dismantling our TV set. He had already taken the TV set apart before we arrived home. He told us he wanted to see the people speaking inside the TV. But we did not beat him; we rather scolded him because we did not want to destroy his sense of curiosity.
By the way his mother loved him so much. He bonded well with her because his birth coincided with the death of his maternal grandfather whom the mother loved so much. The man died few days after ‘Yeye was born. Before he died, Yeye’s mother used to commute between Ife and Ibadan where we were then resided. She used to come to see her father regularly because she was the first child of the old man. When he eventually died, and coupled with the circumstance surrounding his birth, we decided to name our new baby Enitan. And to the glory of God he is being living up to that name.
When he finished both primary and secondary schools he studied accountancy at The Polytechnic Ibadan and attempted several other professional accounting programmes. He later joined his brother in Lagos who then was working in Chartered Bank. And he loves to dress like bankers. He loves suites a lot. When I traveled to Switzerland and later Britain in 1981, I bought my three boys suites; he cherished his own suites very well. But he got
He briefly with worked with Dohagro Allied, a trading company owned by his elder brother’s friend, Doherty. He served as their accountant. But he came later came to say that he wanted to go into private business. He first worked with his brother in estate development before he started his own company.
Your two sons contested for Ooni stool, you anointed the younger one. Why?
I just relayed to you the circumstances surrounding the birth of my younger son. I will leave it at that.
They say it is a taboo for father to prostate to son, will you prostrate for your son?
I will prostrate. He is my king. It is not him I am prostrating for; it is his office. The tradition does not even allow him to prostrate to anybody. He is the father of all. So I will prostrate for him.
Even when you meet privately?
When we meet in privacy, we greet like father and son. But in the public, he will assume the role of the father; and I will assume the role of the son. That is the tradition. Besides, the situation no longer allows us to be seen regularly. The frequency of our meeting is now limited. He is now for everybody.
What role does Ife tradition prescribe for you to play in the affairs of the state?
We are only expected to guide the king by giving him advice so that his reign will be peaceful. As a young boy, I used to take him along to my working place and teach him the customs of our people. I am confident he is well prepared for the stool. He is a young man who has done so well for himself. And he is very humble like every other child of mine. I am the one who uses the appellation ‘Prince’. None of them ever did. My great grandfather is Ojaja the first. But I used the appellation to remind ourselves as a people from the royal bloodlines.
What effort is the family making to reconcile the two brothers now that the contest is over?
Well, it is the media that hyped the tension. There is no bad blood between my sons. The media often make mountain out of a molehill.
Has Prince Adetunji congratulated his brother?
Yes, he has.
Was he present yesterday (Wednesday) for the reception of the king-elect into Ife town?
No. The king’s two elder brothers are in UK at present. You know it is only normal that after going through the hard struggle for the stool, he needs time to cool off.
So what advice would you give the king-elect?
He should be a fast listener, a deep thinker. He should be wary of making flippant speech. In fact, Ooni hardly talked in those days because the position of Ooni is a powerful one in Yoruba land.
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