By Ekene Agbor, Osogbo
A former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka have commended the Ooni of Ife, oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi over his efforts to unite traditional rulers in Yorubaland asking him to intensify efforts.
In their separate remarks on Wednesday at the one year anniversary of the coronation of Oba Ogunwusi, both Obasanjo and Soyinka asked the Ooni to ignore comments or moves that could spur disunity among people of Yoruba race.
Specifically, the duo asked Oba Ogunwusi to disregard the outburst of Olugbo of Ugbo in Ondo State, Oba Fredrick Obateru Akinruntan that Moremi Ajasoro is a traitor stressing that it could be a ploy to truncate his unity moves.
According to Obasanjo, he has been monitoring the activities of the Ooni since his ascension to the throne stressing that the monarch had made impacts in Yoruba land within the last one year he ascended the throne of his forefathers.
Obasanjo advised Ooni Ogunwusi to take the unification agenda as a key factor for the development of the Yoruba nation.
“I have paid keen interest in the unification move of the Ooni since his ascension to the throne. It is commendable. We need someone like the Ooni to ensure that the Yoruba nation remained undivided,” he said.
For Soyinka, one of the controversial matters among the Yoruba leaders remained the origin of Ile-Ife arguing that anyone who considered Moremi as a traitor was not saying the “reality”.
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 I 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 her, I have heard. 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 necessary.”
According to him, the influence of Ile-Ife transcends Nigeria and Africa.
“If you walk on the street of Cuba or Brazil, somebody will tap you on your shoulder because they know you are black, they say ‘who are you?’ And you say ‘I am Osun, Ogun, Sango’. At the end, they will ask you how is the Ooni? It means the Yoruba race, culture is beyond this environment,” he added.
He, however, assured the Ooni of his support, saying, “I can see that you are sent on a mission of the unity of the yoruba people wherever they are in any part of the world. We promise to work with you to bring that dream to reality.”
While emphasising the importance of peace and unity, the Ooni vowed not to stop his moves to make the yoruba nation one.
He explained that his one-year of ascension to the throne was focused on tourism, agriculture and youth emancipation.
He said, “There must be peace in yoruba nation and entire country. It is when there is peace among yoruba leaders that we will progress and develop. Our peaceful co-existence is non-negotiable that is why we are preaching peace and I will continue to preach it.
“We won’t stop working and we will continue to seek partnership with the three tiers of government.”
Dignatries at the event include Professor Olu Obafemi, Elegusi of Ikateland, Oba Saheed Elegushi, Alhaji Lamidi Ajadi, Chief shuaibu Oyedokun, Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Igbinedeon, Sat Guru Maharaji, General Jeremiah Oseni (rtd), Orangun of Oke-Ila, Oba Adedokun Abolarin, Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Abdul Ganiyu Ologunebi, Osun state deputy governor, Mrs. Grace Tomori among others.