Yesterday, the Ooni of Ile- Ife –designate, Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, 40, arrived the ancient town to begin his coronation rites. A successful real estate magnet and developer, he was born into the Ojaja Royal Compound of Agbedegbede, Giesi Ruling House in Ile-Ife, Osun State, to Prince Ropo and late Mrs. Margaret Wuraola Ogunwusi.
A chartered accountant by profession, the Ooni –elect is reputed to have the rare gift of turning ‘impossibilities to possibilities’, despite his youthful age.
There is no doubt that the Ooni stool is highly revered and exalted and whoever occupies that stool must have the strength and charisma to inject new ideas into the ancient kingdom reputed to be the spiritual home of the Yoruba race, resident in nearly all the continents of the world.
The spread of the followership implies that 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.
Since then till now, the people have distinguished themselves in technology and cultural advancement. A notable fact in this direction is Ori-Olokun reportedly ‘discovered’ by the famous German archaeologist Leo Frobenius in 1910.
Indeed, given the tough battle for the selection of a successor to the late Ooni who departed about three months ago, there is no need stressing the fact that the new Ooni must get down to work immediately his coronation formalities are concluded. The challenges are many. It is on record that every Ooni that ruled made a marked difference in terms of accomplishments from his predecessors. The present one will not be an exception.
For instance, Obalufon Alayemore, Oranmiyan Akinorun, Giesi, Lafogido, Osunkola, Ayikiti, Adelekan Olubuse Eriogun, Derin Ologbenla, Ademiluyi Ajagunlaforikan, Adesoji Tadeniewo and Sijuwade – each during their reign raised the stool to a higher level locally and nationally.
The ancient town of Ile-Ife needs modernization in line with global trends. It needs peace, true love, unity and prosperity. The new Ooni needs to do more by way of public enlightenment to disabuse people’s notion that there are fetish things associated with the throne including sacrificing human beings during an Ooni’s coronation and burial. In this modern time, information management is very critical for the success of any institution- the Ife traditional institution is not an exception.
Another challenge is reconciling all aggrieved persons and ruling houses within the kingdom. Agreed, every prince from the ruling houses are qualified to be king, but only one person will be king at a time. With his selection and ongoing coronation rites, there is need for all stakeholders to bury their hatchet and unite for the progress and development of the town. But the Ooni – elect Ogunwusi should lead the way by extending the olive branch to other princes, who jostled for the exalted stool with him during the selection process. He should also unite all the aggrieved chiefs and community leaders who opposed his bid for the throne and those who threw their weight behind his aspiration.
The festering hostility between Ife and Modakeke should be reviewed and permanent peace restored. He should also settle the supremacy battle between the Alaafin and Ooni.
On the national level, the new Ooni should take up the challenge to ensure that the rights of the Yoruba race in Nigeria is not denied them by any government or individual. His youthfulness and business connections should be explored to the fullest in this regard. At the same time, he should explore ways to create job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths.
Indeed, as the new Ooni rightly stated in his acceptance speech to the people of Ile-Ife, the time has come for the people to embrace their true heritage as the progeny of Oduduwa and the task of modernizing Ile-Ife is for all.