Eight-day long activities inauguration activities that will eventually lead to the grand finale of the coronation of the new Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Eniitan Ogunwusi; Ojaja II has kicked off with the unveiling of a comprehensive strategic plan by the new monarch to lift the ancient town to a higher pedestal and further unite the Yorubas.
Oba Ogunwusi had earlier been formally crowned on Monday 14th November as the 51st Ooni of Ife following his completion of 21 days of seclusion for coronation rites at Ilofi.
In an addressed read by the eldest son of the Ogunwusi family, Prince Adegboye Abimbola Ogunwusi on behaif of the new monarch, laid out the short, medium and long term plan of Ooni Ogunwusi for the ancient town.
He stated that Ooni Ogunwusi has so far distributed, within the last 70 days, twenty electricity transformers and has equally embarked on empowerment of many indigent groups and individuals worth about two hundred and fifty million Naira.
In addition to planned launch of a Grand Resort and Leisure Centre that shall have 200 five star rooms, Prince Ogunwusi said the new Ooni has also put in place an Economic Summit that shall address issues of capacity building and unemployment.
Ooni Ogunwusi also promised to light up the entire Ife and its adjourning towns to have constant electricity.
“This is very achievable because these towns are not two far from two major Dams- Kainji and Asejire, so transmission and generation is to our great advantage. I donated 50 transformers when I was a Prince, I will buy another 50 within the next 30 days to further enhance distribution. With this, small scale businesses will naturally spring up- pepper grinder, welders, tailors etc.
“Providentially, I know the core investor and chairman of Ibadan Distribution Company personally very well- Mr Tunde Ayeni. I have engaged him and his team to make this a reality and work has commenced earnestly.”
Ooni Ogunwusi also laid out his plans on youth engagement and employment.
“To revamp the Stadium, I have already opened discussion with Osun State Government on this aggressiveness to set up a football academy and to have 16 clubs in Ife. This will take out like 1000 youth of Ife off the streets automatically.
“I have one of the best furniture factory concepts in Lagos- EH Furniture Factory. I will immediately move the factory down to Ife and be producing doors, chairs, windows, etc there. The beauty of the factory is that it is perfect for export market. This can take out like 2,000 Ife indigenes. I will set up a store in France, New York, London and Paris
“One of the top-most models- Oluchi is based in New York. She won MNET Face of Africa many years ago. I am working on this project with her. She is very popular in New York. I will meet her as well to discuss this strategy. This will come under House of Oduduwa Resources Limited.”
Ooni also promised to immediately set up an asphalt plant, a stone quarry and dimension stones quarry at area in Ile Ife among many other initiatives.
Responding to question of perennial internecine wars that have existed between Ife and its neighbours, particularly with the Modakekes, the Chairman of the Coronation Committee, Dr Taiwo Olaiya assured that the new Ooni is man of peace who acknowledges that there can be no meaningful development in an atmosphere of crisis.
“The monarch assured that the era of enduring peace in Ife has begun, noting that the recent visit of the leadership of the Modakekes to his palace to offer him their support, was a testimony to enduring peace.
“The Ooni also said that he had reached out to the Modakekes with assurance of peaceful and harmonious relationships as well as respect for the rights and dignity of the neighbours,” Olaiya said.
The inauguration, which started with inter-religious service in the ancient town of Ile-Ife, will culminate in the coronation and presentation of staff of office by the state government on Monday, Dec. 7.
The grand finale is expected to be graced by President Muhammadu Buhar, Vice President Yemi Osibajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, members of the National Asembly, about 25 serving governors and several ministers, retinue of traditional rulers across the country among many other dignitaries.
The event shall also attract representatives of the Queen of England, varying traditional rulers from outside the country as well as many ambassadors of foreign nations.
According to Prince Ogunwusi, the programme will continue on Tuesday with coronation carnival. Wednesday is the Artistes Day where both Nollywood artistes and Ife Theatre Group would team up to act a play titled: Irin-ajo Oduduwa. Thursday, the Traditional Day will witness Ewi exponents, Ijala exposition and lots more.
Friday is dedicated to Special Jumua’t Service and Youth Carnival with musical performances by popular Nigerian artistes. On Saturday, there shall be Coronation Lecture. Sunday shall witness Inter-denominational Service and Launching of Ife Grand Resource and Leisure Centre. These will be followed by the grand finale- coronation and presentation of staff of office on Monday December 7th.
Ooni Ogunwusi further urged the state government and many other stakeholders to join him in pursuing aggressive investment in the city to upgrade the city and create employment for the youths, saying the cradle of the Yorubas deserves special attention of all.
From Adeyinka Aremu