By Zika Bobby
Yoruba leaders recently gathered in Lagos, where they called for a collective approach to the promotion of tradition, culture, heritage and history of their people.
Some of the dignitaries at the gathering were the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, representatives of all the South West governors, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and Yoruba leaders of thought.
Speaking at the launch of the book, “O ti see se,” a selection of accolades in celebration of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who was represented by the Commissioner for Housing, Gbolahan Lawal, said history was essential for the sustenance of the identity, integrity and development of any given society.
“Any society that doesn’t pay proper attention to its history not only has dangerously shallow roots but also risks starving its own generations to come. We appreciate the Ooni for his passion for the history and development of the Yoruba race,” he said.
The book reviewer, Gbenga Omiwole, said civilisation, in world history, started with the Yoruba race.
Omiwole said the coronation of an Ooni had always been a historic event as he was the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people. He said the Ooni stool is the most revered in Africa, as it reflects so much history and has been contributing to the progress of the country.
“This is why Oba Ogunwusi, since his coronation, has been using his position to foster unity, peace and progress on the continent. His humility and wisdom in the service of God and the people confirms that he is the ‘Chosen King’ occupying the House of Oduduwa,” he said.
On his part, the Ooni said he would continue to lead by example, declaring that a good name was always better than gold.
“Since I ascended the Ooni throne, the Almighty has been my guide in ensuring that I lead the Yoruba race well by promoting our culture, tradition and history. We must preserve our roots and history for generations yet unborn, to keep our integrity and identity as a people,” he said.
Giving details of the book, spokesman for the launch committee, Babajide Macauley, said the book was a compendium of select accolades and goodwill messages in honour and commemoration of the installation of His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the 51st Ooni of Ife and Arole Oodua.
“It was written to keep records of the commitment of Oba Ogunwusi to promoting peace and harmony of the Yoruba within Nigeria and in the Diaspora. He is worthy to be celebrated as he has made direct impact on the lives and livelihood of the youths through his empowerment programmes. This book is a research and documentation about Oba Ogunwusi to preserve the past for posterity. The 324-page book was written by a research and documentation outfit, Printmarks International.
“It is an archival reference material that seeks to promote Yoruba culture, customs and civilisation,” he said.
The coordinator of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams, pledged OPC’s readiness to support the vision of the Ooni in promoting and sustaining the cultural values of the Yoruba.
Awards for Distinguished Yoruba Entrepreneur went to Otunba Yemi Lawal, Dr. Babatope Agbeyo, Otunba Olumide Osunsina, Mr. Ope Fashakin, Chief Ibrahim Egungbohun and Dr. John Olatunde Ayeni.
Others that also got awards were Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Alhaji Fatai Akinbade and Dr. Samson Iyinola Makinwa. Awards for Distinguished Yoruba Role Model went to Mr. Babajide Odusolu and Sir Olugbenga Oyebode.