Ooni’s visit to Alaafin: What the Yoruba stand to benefit
By Gbenga Olarinoye
Newly crowned Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, served another master stroke with his unscheduled visit to Oyo, last Sunday, to felicitate with Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi on the occasion of his 45th coronation anniversary.
The exit of the immediate past Ooni, Oba Okunade Sijuade in July last year, to many, foreclosed the slightest possibility of Oyo Empire reuniting with the source of the Yoruba race.
But the unassuming Ooni Ogunwusi, one of the youngest to be crowned monarch of the most important town in Yorubaland, is cleverly making mincemeat of many man-made encumbrances that had limited interactions between the throne of Oduduwa and its children across the globe.
Before the historic Oyo visit, Ooni Ogunwusi had shocked the world when he graced “Akoraye Day” held the last Saturday of 2015 to raise money for the development of Modakeke, a next door neighbour to Ife.
The physical appearance of an Ooni within the confine of Modakeke town not only spoke volumes of how much Oba Ogunwusi cherishes peace, but it also underlined how much the big progenitor of Yoruba race now cares about his children, regardless of what might have transpired in the past.
Giving his opinion on the historic visit to Oyo after many years of frosty relationships between the two towns, Oba Ogunwusi, said he does not care what it will cost him to unite the Yoruba race.
Speaking through his Media Aide, Moses Olafare, in a statement issued on the historic visit to Oyo town Ooni Ogunwusi stated his readiness to work with Alaafin to unite the race.
The statement noted that Ooni, while speaking at the thanksgiving service to commemorate the anniversary explained that though he was not invited for the event, his major agenda since becoming the Ooni is to unite Yoruba sons and daughters all over the world.
The statement reads: “I am here today though not invited, but as the Arole Oduduwa, the onus is on me to felicitate with all sons and daughters, wherever they are and to show my solidarity.
“I am ready to damn any consequences or insinuations from anywhere; my mission here is to preach peace among nations of Yoruba both home and abroad and I am ready to work with Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Olayiwola Adeyemi to project the unity and love which we believe is existing in days of our forefathers.”
Ooni of Ife who was accompanied to Oyo by about 100 monarchs across Yoruba land, expressed the belief that with the support of all royal fathers in Yoruba land, there will be unity in Nigeria and by extension there will be unity and peace all over the world, adding: “Oduduwa is father of all nations and his spirit abides with all of us as the symbol of our progenitor.”
Earlier in his remarks, Oba Olayiwola Adeyemi, who expressed joy over the presence of Ooni and all Obas in Yoruba land, maintained that “if monarchs in Yorubaland are united, there will be tremendous progress in Nigeria. This special visit was done last in March 1937, that was the first time the kings in Yorubaland met in Oyo town and today history was made with the visit of Arole Oodua Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II and I feel delighted to host you and to reassure you that I will be ready to work with you.
“I have a tight relationship with Ooni Adesoji Aderemi and I did not want to relent my bound with any Ooni of Ife that assumed the post but everybody has his own little differences”.
The statement said monarchs in the entourage of Ooni include, Orangun of Ila, Ajero of Ijero; Timi Of Ede, Akinrun of Ikinrun; Olu of Yewa, Alara of Aramoko; Oore of Otun and Alayemore of Efon Alaye among others.
The General Secretary of Ife Development Board IDB, Mr Kola Adetunbi, in his comment on the visit of Ooni Ogunwusi to Alaafin of Oyo, noted that the unity between the two royal fathers would end all the crises bedeviling the Yoruba nation.
He noted that the foundation of the crises in yorubaland today has its roots in the disunity among the Yoruba traditional rulers adding that an end to all these crises will signal progress and rapid development in Yorubaland.
His words: “if our traditional rulers could close their ranks and fight for the unity of Yoruba race, it will be better for our generation and generations yet unborn”.
Mr Adetunbi stated that currently the Yoruba race has no acceptable leader since the demise of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, adding that “it is high time we focused on the unity of Yoruba people rather than on what can divide us”.
While commending Ooni Ogunwusi for taking the bold step of visiting Alaafin in his domain, Adetunbi stressed that there is urgent need for the Yoruba people to close ranks and fight on a common front as a nation.