Monday, December 7, 2015 11:36 pm
History made in Ile-Ife as a new Ooni is enthroned amidst pomp and pageantry
By Gbenro Adesina/Ile Ife
Monday December 7th 2015, all roads led to the ancient city of Ile-Ife, Osun State for the inauguration of the 51st Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi. The event was climaxed with the presentation of staff of office to the new monarch by the Governor, State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
Security in the city was very tight, as shops and businesses were shut as a mark of respect for the new Monarch, and posters showing the new King adorned the city.
By 7am, the venue, both inside the enclosed canopy used for the event as well as outside were filled to capacity as eager crowd from within and outside the ancient city thronged the venue to witness the occasion. Many journalists had a hectic task to gain entrance into the venue of the event despite the fact that they were duly accredited. Many of them were forced to squat and some sat on the bare floor while the programme lasted. It took the combined efforts of security operatives made up of policemen to ensure some sanity in the arena.
Directorate of State Service, Civil Defence, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Vigilance Groups, and palace security men were on hand to control the teeming crowd who were bent on entering the enclosure. As early as 8am, traditional rulers, clergymen, newsmen and dignitaries from the nooks and crannies of the country were already seated as well as the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo arrived at 11:35am, all the South West governors, apart from Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun, who arrived early, came after the Vice president. Governor Aregbesola arrived at 11:55am; Governor Akinwunmi Ambode arrived after 12pm, and the last to show up, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, arrived at 12:35pm. Also, the celebrated king came at 12:50pm.
Also in attendance was deputy governor of Ondo state, Lasisi Oluboyo, who represented Governor Segun Mimiko.
Also in attendance were: former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Chief Bisi Akande, who is also a former governor of Osun State; former governors of Ekiti, Oyo, and Osun State, Engineer Segun Oni, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Alao-Akala, and Olagunsoye Oyinlola; General David Jemibewon, former governor of old Oyo State; former Chief of Army Staff, General Alani Akinrinade; former Minister of Defence, General Theophilous Danjuma and his wife, Senator Daisy Danjumna; Mrs. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu, daughter of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo; Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, represented by Senator Lanre Tejuoso, all state legislators from Lagos, Ogun, Osun, and Oyo States led by their speakers.
Though, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi 111, was absent, over 1000 monarchs were in attendance including: Oba Adedapo Tejuoso of Oke-Ona in Abeokuta; Owa Obokun of Ijesa Land, His Royal Majesty, Oba Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran II; Deji of Akure, Oba Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo; Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade I, represented by High Chief Eddy Aina and High Chief Senator Lekan Balogun; Osemawe of Ondo, His Royal Majesty, Oba Dr. Victor Adesimbo Adenrele Ademefun Kiladejo and dignitaries from outside Nigeria including Republic of Benin.
In his speech, Vice President Osinbajo, who was sweating profusely throughout the programme as a result of poor cooling system provided under the enclosed canopy, said that he was privileged to attend the inauguration of the new monarch. He said, “Today, we are grateful to be alive to see the historic day in which the new Ife monarch was inaugurated. As we hand over the staff of office to you, we are reminded today that you have primary responsibility to the people of your race to lead them and lead them with courage, integrity and loyalty. The responsibility carries the symbol of moral and core value of the people of Yoruba. This is a blessing to you and I pray that God will grant you divine wisdom, knowledge and ability to rule well. I wish that your reign will be longer than that of your predecessors.”
Governor Aregbesola, in his speech, condemned the failure of the organizing committee to make the environment conducive for the attendees, stressing, “The climate is very harsh. The engineers in charge of the cooling system are not competent to make us comfortable.”
Delivering his speech titled, “Long live Kabiyesi”, Aregbesola pointed out that Ile-Ife is superior to other Yoruba towns and cities and have the most glamorous king in the universe adding, “We are here for history. Ile-Ife is the creation of the Yoruba people. Ile-Ife is the ancestral home of Yoruba people in all the South West. The progeny of Oduduwa spread to Kwara, Edo, Delta, Niger, Republic of Benin, Seria-Leone, Liberia, and so on. There are Yoruba people in the Bahamas, Argentina, Ecuador, and the Caribbean.”
Noting that it is God that enthrone leaders, Aregbesola said that kingship was not ordinary and because it was God that chooses a king, it is only God that monarchs are accountable to. He said, “Monarch rules on behalf of God. The essence of power is not the privilege it carries but how it is used for the betterment of the people. For the monarch, fairness, equity, and justice should be the watch words for the king.”
He charged the new monarch to do everything within his power to ensure harmony and unity in Yoruba land and the entire Nigeria and not to be guided by individual interest. “Love your people. Guide them. Be a father to everyone. A father loves all his children. Be in close touch with the elders and make use of their wisdom. Be in touch with the youth too”, Aregbesola concluded his speech.
Speaking for all the monarchs, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar 111 said, “Today is another happy day for all of us across the length and breadth of this country especially for the Yorubas at home and in the Diaspora. We are happy to be part of history for the inauguration of the new Ooni of Ife. We want to assure our brother, Oba Ogunwusi of our total support. We traditional people will support him and the government at the federal level.”
The Sultan, however, bemoaned the various crises the nation is facing especially the joblessness of the youth stressing that except the government finds a lasting solution to the joblessness of the youth, the nation might be sitting on a keg of gun powder. “Our youths are seeking attention and crying everyday that they are jobless. This joblessness must be resolved very fast for us to have peace in this country”, the Sultan added.
Responding, Oba Ogunwusi, who disclosed that he was a living testimony to the prayer of every parent that their children should succeed more than them, shared the sentiment of the Emir of Sokoto on the joblessness of the youth saying, “We are sitting on the time bomb with the joblessness of the youth.”
Dedicating his staff of office to the youth of Ife and Nigeria, Oba Ogunwusi said that the quality of life of the people of Ife would improve during his reign, promising to strive to meet the yearning and aspiration of his people. “I promise to use everything at my disposal to ensure that the lives of our youth improve. I equally want to state that all machinery has been set in motion to build a new Ile-Ife and I want to assure all that every member of the community will benefit from these gestures. I want to assure you that I believe in openness and transparency and so all your good ideas are welcome. I wish to solicit for the cooperation of everyone, old and young, men and women, individual and corporate bodies in realizing our developmental dreams”, Oba Ogunwusi said. He further apologized profusely for the inconvenience experienced by everyone at the event.
Charging his subjects not to lag behind in their civic responsibilities, most especially in paying taxes and other rates to the government, he extended an olive branch to those that contested the throne with him stressing, “I can’t do it alone, the progress and development of both human and non-human resources in Ife land is in our hands, let us come together to move Ife kingdom forward.”
Drummers, traditional dancers, singers and cultural troupes were on hand to add colour to the historic event.
Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, a 40-year old real estate magnate from the Giesi Ruling House in Ile-Ife succeeds the late Oba Okunade Sijuade, Olubuse 11 who died on July 28, 2015.