The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has honored construction giant and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sujimoto Group, Mr. Sujibomi Ogundele, with an award of excellence.
The award, according to the organizers indentified about 99 high flying entrepreneurs in different sectors of the economy who are below 40 years old to serve as role models to the younger generation
The event which is the Royal African Young Leadership Forum was held at Oduduwa Hall of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
Ogundele was honored alongside many other young Nigerian entrepreneurs, including; Funke Adesiyan, Eyitope Kola Oyeneyin, Seyi Awolowo, among others.
Speaking about the award, Ogundele remarked that “This, to me, is not just an award. This is a symbol of responsibility-to uphold the Omoluabi spirit — the spirit of integrity, the spirit of perseverance, and the spirit of nobility.”
According to the Ooni, “we are setting up a movement, a block-chain of young entrepreneurs which has never been done before because we see an intrinsic value in you guys. We shall set up a forum for all of you to meet world leaders starting from Accra, Ghana.”
Recounting his experience, Ogundele, stated that “it was a great honor to have received this call to duty and recognition from the most distinguished frontline traditional ruler in Africa – His Imperial Majesty, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi. This award of excellence is a continuous reminder that he who works hard will stand before Kings because I strongly believe that there is no nobility in poverty and it doesn’t matter whether you are from Ikorodu or Ikoyi, immediately you substitute recklessness for diligence, your true potential becomes a reality”.
According to Mr. Ogundele, “the Ooni’s palace brought back many beautiful memories of my childhood. I was born into a family just 10 km from this palace, around the famous mountains of ‘Eremo’. I can still recall the great stories my father told me of the exploits of the Ooni’s, the worldwide impact, rich and dynamic culture of Ile-Ife, whose influence has been the pillar of the Yoruba nation, dating back to 1400 A.D.
38 years later, here I am standing in the same room with great leaders and in the presence of my most revered King, His Imperial Majesty, Alayeluwa Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi Ojaja II, 51st Ooni of Ife”.
In describing the palace, Ogundele remarked that two things caught his attention; first was the level of detailing that went into the historic and artistic rendition of all the past Ooni’s’, dating from the 1st Ooni – Oduduwa, to the 51st Ooni – the Ojaja II; The second was how the present Ooni was able to export his entrepreneurship spirit from the corporate world into his majestic position, renovating and transforming a 1937 palace, without breaking one brick, into a Ritz Carlton experience.
“As I sat in a room filled with more than 1000 students and over 99 awardees from fashion, entertainment, technology, manufacturing, business, and other industries, I realized that the Nigerian youth have not even utilized up to 10 per cent of their potential, our true asset is not in crude oil but in the potential of young vibrant people of our nation”.
Ogundele also added that “From Dubai to Singapore to Shanghai and to Silicon Valley, true leaders are those who seize opportunities and drive change to impact their nation. The Indians and the Lebanese that you see here today didn’t come here to count the bridges, they came to find opportunities in our nation
Nigeria is the only country, where an Indian man could come here as a storekeeper and later become a manufacturer; or a Lebanese as a project manager and later become a contractor. The Nigerian youth must pull the bull by the horn, and take advantage of the opportunities around us.
During our visit to Ghana, the Vice President of Ghana, Mahamudu Bawumia, encouraged everyone to be the true light of Africa and never to forget the bond that binds every African together.’’
The award ceremony which was put together by Dr. Ayobami Oyedare, the CEO of the Global Outreach of the Ooni of Ife also had in attendance, the United Arab Emirate Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Fahad Al-Taffaq; and the Minister for Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare among other prominent royal fathers
The awardees were full of praises for Oba Ogunwusi, for the platform and the opportunity he has given to young enterprising Nigerians to blossom, beyond the shores of the country. Not only has the Ooni shown other leaders what it means to support young and promising Nigerians, but he has also successfully bridged the divide between the present leaders and future entrepreneurs.
According to Ogundele, “The future of Nigeria is dependent on the opportunities we give our youth. The Ooni has set a precedent for us all to follow. I am happy for the opportunity to be part of a block-chain of young Entrepreneurs, making a difference. I left the events humbled and overzealous to do more; inspired to be an agent of change in my industry”.