Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
and Soyinka, who were among dignitaries that graced the book presentation as part of activities to mark oni’s one year anniversary have
hailed Oba Ogunwusi for making spirited efforts to unite the Yoruba race.
The former President said Oba
Ogunwusi had done very well to unite Yoruba monarchs and had embarked on the
transformation of Ile Ife in the past one year on the throne of his
Obasanjo said, “I commend His
Imperial Majesty, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, for his unification agenda and
for ensuring that the Yoruba race remains undivided.”
He stated that he had been watching
the unification and transformation moves of Oba Ogunwusi with keen interest
immediately after he ascended the throne.
The former President described the
moves “as focus driven,” adding that unity would bring peace and
development to the people.
He urged the Ife monarch not to
relent in ensuring that the entire Yoruba race was brought together
Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka,
who was part of the dignitaries that
graced the occasion, urged the Ooni
of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, to ignore anybody, who called Moremi Ajasoro a traitor.
He said such view did not take away
anything from the reality of who Moremi was.
Though Soyinka did not mention
anybody’s name, observers noted that the social critic was referring to Olugbo
of Ugbo, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan, who had controversially referred to the late
Moremi as a traitor that was not worthy of celebrating few days after the Ooni
inaugurated a statue in her honour.
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 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
Soyinka, who added that the
influence of the Ooni and Ile Ife as the cradle of mankind transcended this
region, said the Ife monarch was recognised and referred above other Obas
outside the shores of Nigeria.
The Ooni later told journalists in
an interview that he would not relent in his efforts towards ensuring the unity
of the race and to emancipate Ife youths from unemployment and poverty.
He said peace in Yoruba land was
critical to the peace of Nigeria and Africa, adding that peace in Yoruba land
Oba Ogunwusi said he was aware of
the economic crisis when he was inaugurated as the 51st Ooni of Ife but he
decided to make a difference in the lives of his people despite recession.
The monarch stated that he focused
on agriculture, tourism and youth empowerment to restore peace and tranquility
to the once troubled town.
The Ooni stated that the communal
clash between Ife and Modakeke left post-war effect which turned some of the
youths to miscreants.
He, however, noted that through his
efforts, most of the youths had now been given hope, while peace had been
restored to Ile Ife.
Oba Ogunwusi said, “We know the
situation of things in Ile Ife before I came. We know that dollar is not
affecting what we produce on our farms and we focused on three things-
agriculture, tourism and youth emancipation.
“We encourage our youths to produce
and I am a promoter of local goods. Everything I wear is produced locally
excluding my wristwatches. My beads and shoes are produced here.