Osun state government has appointed Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi as the new Ooni of Ife.
The formal announcement was made in the early hours of yesterday through a statement signed by the Secretary to Osun State Government, Alhaji Moshood Olalekan Adeoti.
In the three paragraph statement, the government said, “The state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola has approved the appointment of a new Ooni of Ife. He is Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi of the Giesi Ruling House of Ile Ife, Osun State.
“This choice follows the completion of the due process by the kingmakers and the communication of their decision to the Government.”
Since the death of the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade at a London clinic on July 28, there have been tension and controversy as the race for who succeeds the late monarch split the ruling houses.
Nigerian Pilot recalled that the late Obalufe, Chief Solomon Omisakin, while addressing the media on the decision of the kingmakers to stick to the 1980 Ife Chieftaincy Declaration, narrowed the search for a new monarch to only Giesi Ruling House, inside Ooni’ s palace a little over one month ago, explaining that a new monarch would emerge in 40 days from then.
However, the death of Obalufe, who was the most senior kingmaker and many court cases instituted by the aggrieved parties in the matter had made the projection very unlikely.
Besides, the insinuation that a new Ooni had been chosen by the kingmakers, only for the state governor to approve yesterday, sparked tension in the town.
An Osun State High Court presided over by the Chief Judge, Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo had three days ago dismissed a suit challenging the competence of Ooni of Ife 1980 Chieftaincy Declaration.
This was just as Prince Kayode Adebowale and four others from Akui branch of Oshikola Ruling House urged the Chief Judge to transfer their case to another judge, saying they cannot get fair judgment in her court.
Sooko Adegoke and Prince Marcus Adebola Akimoyero had on behalf of Lafogido Ruling House of Ile-Ife, dragged Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the Obalufe of Ile-Ife, Oba Solomon Omisakin (now late) and Lowa of Ife, Chief Joseph Ijaodola to court, challenging their decision to allow only Giesi Ruling House present candidates for the vacant stool of Ooni.
The appointment of Ogunwusi has however put paid to the whole controversy.
There are four ruling houses in Ile-Ife – Lafogido, Giesi, Ogboru, and Oshikola.
Oba Okunade Sijuwade, who reigned between 1980 and 2015, is of the Ogboru royal lineage.
The Giesi ruling house last produced an occupant to the position – Ooni Derin Ologbenla – between 1880 and 1894.
The other royal houses have also taken turns to produce Obas for the ancient town at various times.
The Ogboru lineage produced Oba Adelekan Olubuse I, who reigned between 1894 and 1910, with the Lafogido ruling house producing his successor, Oba Ademuluyi Ajagu (1910-1930).
Oba Sijuwade’s predecessor, Adesoji Aderemi, who reigned between 1930 and 1980, came from the Oshikola ruling house.
But the Adetipe family from the Amodo clan of the Ogboru ruling house curiously said it had already submitted an expression of interest for the Ooni stool, saying Oba Sijuwade’s time on the throne should not be counted for the Ogboru ruling house.
As at the time of filling this report, there were heavy security personnel in the ancient community, ostensibly to avert any break down of law and order following the formal announcement of a new Ooni of Ife.
Born 40 years ago into the family of John Oluropo Ogunwusi from the famous Ojaja lineage of the Giesi ruling house of Agbedegbede Quarters in Ile-Ife, Prince Ogunwusi’s mother, Margaret Wuraola Sidikatu Abegbe Ogunwusi, was born into the family of Soji-Opa, a prominent cocoa merchant in Ile-Ife.
Ogunwusi attended The Polytechnic, Ibadan, where he obtained a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Accountancy.
After school, he grew rapidly in business, becoming a successful real estate merchant. His bio on the website of Imperial Homes Mortgage Bank Limited (a subsidiary of GTBank) on which board he sits as non executive director, said “Mr. Ogunwusi is a graduate of Accountancy and a certified member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and of the Institute of Management.
He has been involved in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts locally and abroad for over 11 years.
He was also involved in the development of the Northern Foreshore Estate, Cityscape International Limited’s Buena Vista project in Lekki, Primewaterview Limited’s projects, Westcom Limited’s projects, and the Ajaokuta Steel’s and Delta Steel’s resuscitation projects
Adeyeye Ogunwusi was until his appointment the Managing Director of Howard Roark Gardens Limited, which undertakes multi-million naira Jacob Mews Estate project in Yaba and Lakeview real estate development in Lekki.
To become Ooni, Mr. Ogunwusi defeated 20 other contenders, including his 48-year old real estate- magnate brother, Adetunji.
Meanwhile, Ife Kingmakers have urged indigenes of the ancient town to give their support to the newly appointed Ooni of Ife.
High Chief Joseph Ijaodola, the Lowa Adimula of Ile-Ife, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria NAN, also urged the people to allow peace to reign.
Ijaodola said a peaceful atmosphere and the support of the people is needed for the kingmakers to perform the necessary rites for the installation of the new Ooni.
He said it was after the oracle was consulted by the kingmakers that Ogunwusi was announced as the new Ooni.
Ijaodola pledged that all the kingmakers would support the new Ooni and guide him aright in performing his royal duties.
Also speaking, High Chief Kola Adeyeye, the Jaaran of Ile-Ife, said Ogunwusi is the choice of the people. Adeyeye said Ogunwusi’s competence, experience and good features stood him out among his equals.
Adeyeye also urged the people to give their support to the new Ooni.
The father of the new OOni, Prince Ropo Ogunwusi, said it was God that made it possible for his son to be chosen as the new Ooni.
Ogunwusi, who recalled that his grandfather, while alive, used to call the new monarch ‘ Ooni Adeyeye’ , said he was happy that it came to pass.
He therefore appealed to the people to join hands with his son to move the state and the town forward.
“My son is out of the country but he will return at the appropriate time,” Ogunwusi said.
Similarly, Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, yesterday advised the newly selected Ooni of Ife-designate, Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi to concentrate on further solidifying the role of the Yoruba people in national unity.
In a congratulatory message signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, he wished the Ooni-elect a long and peaceful reign, sound health and many years of service to his people.
According to Saraki, the Ooni-elect has so many things in common with the immediate past Ooni, which include but not limited to being widely travelled, exposed, versatile, well-informed and somebody devoted to community service.
He noted that the appointment of Prince Ogunwusi could not have come at a better time.
Saraki said: “I am particularly delighted that the approval of your appointment by the Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, came at a time when the youthful zest, experience, and knowledge of global best practices, which you possess in abundance are needed to move the traditional institution and most especially, the revered throne of the Ife Kingdom, to the next level.
“I have no doubt that your present assignment would greatly enhance the bond of unity that exists among the Yorubas as well as contribute immensely to the growth and development of our dear country.”
He encouraged Oba-elect Ogunwusi to sustain the harmonious relationship between his subjects and other kingdoms around his domain as a way of building on the impeccable legacies of the late Oba Okunade Sijuade of blessed memory.
National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Prof Adewale Oladipo yesterday in Abuja applauded the choice of Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi as the new Ooni of Ife.
Reacting to the approval of Prince Ogunwusi as the new monarch of the ancient town by the state government as presented by the king makers, Prof Oladipo commended the kingmakers for making a right choice for the people of Ife and for not mortgaging their consciences as being speculated in some quarters prior to the pronouncement
Professor Oladipo however appealed to other contestants to put the race behind them and join hands with the new monarch for the even development of the city, the state, the Yorubaland and the country in general, saying that he was very sure that the new monarch would bring his wealth of experience to bear in the administration of the ancient city.
“We give God the glory for the choice of Prince Ogunwusi as our new monarch,he is the peoples choice,we thank our king makers for not subverting the will of the people, we hail their courage ,I am very sure and convinced beyond any reasonable doubt he will perform credibly well like his predecessor, late Oba Okunade Sijuade, Olubuse 11,” Prof Oladipo who is an Ife indigene stated,
In his remark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, congratulated Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on his appointment as the new Ooni of Ife.
This was contained in a statement issued by Mr Turaki Hassan, his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, in Abuja yesterday.
Dogara said that the role of traditional rulers in nation building could not be overemphasised.
He said that traditional institution must restore their dignity by appreciating their rightful place in the society for national growth.
The speaker urged Ogunwusi to emulate and build on the good works of the late Oba Okunade Sijuwade.
“Sijuwade left an indelible mark in the history of Nigeria as a peacemaker and a bridge between different people of the country.
“As you ascend the revered throne of your fore-fathers, I join your family, the good people of the historic kingdom of Ife, friends, protégés and well-wishers to ask God to guide, guard and give you wisdom to lead.
“I note that the position of Ooni carries with it authority, influence and power, and therefore, I urge you to rule with the fear of God and serve as a father to all,’’ he said.
He commended the state government for playing the role of a good umpire by ensuring a rancour-free selection and succession process.
Dogara also appealed to the ruling houses in Ife and citizens of the Kingdom to unite with the new Ooni and give him the much needed support.
Osun state government has appointed Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi as the new Ooni of Ife.