Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
A very significant segment of Yoruba cultural heritage and tradition came into play in Ile-Ife, Osun State, the cradle of the Yoruba, recently, when the custodian of Yoruba culture and tradition, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, installed the fourth Odole of Oodua Dynasty, Sir Kessington Adebutu.
Odole Oodua is a special traditional office pioneered by Prince Oranmiyan Akan’tunkan’si Akin ni’le Akinl’ode, who went to establish Benin and Oyo royal dynasties and later became a king during his lifetime.
It is a prestigious position created from time immemorial, with a view to assisting the Ooni in the task of rallying people of Oduduwa origin wherever they are found across the world for unity, peace and progress of the Yoruba race.
The activities marking the ceremony commenced with the unveiling of the Oodua Heritage House at the Ooni’s palace, followed by a welcome dinner at the palace banquet hall.
Ahead of his coronation on October 19 at the Ile-Oodua Palace, Ile-Ife, Adebutu, a gaming business magnate, accompanied by the Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, and his son, Ladi Adebutu, had visited the ancient Oranmiyan Groove, fondly called Igbo Eeede, where he was taken through a series of traditional rites by the Oranmiyan chief priest, Oba Isoro Omiwenu.
Soon afterwards, he returned to the Ogun Laadin shrine within the palace, where he received Ogun’s blessings, after which he went to pay homage to the Ooni and also received final blessings from him in the inner chambers of Ile-Oodua.
Later, the new Odole proceeded to Ile Ase, within the palace courtyard, where he took the oath of office and pledged his readiness to perform his duties subsequently.
Thereafter, he went back to the Ooni and collected the instruments of office, which signalled the commencement of his assignment.
In tandem with tradition, Adebutu danced the iconic Odole dance in the presence of a cheering crowd who clapped in admiration.
According to tradition, his wives, Dame Oladunni and Kofoworola, were also installed as Yeyemode Oodua and Yeyerewa Oodua, respectively.
The Ooni’s palace was a Mecca of sorts as thousands of guests from different walks of life, including government officials, business magnates, captains of industry, academics and traditional rulers, among others, came from different parts of the country to witness the installation.
The event was spiced with some traditional performances by different troupes, after which Juju maestro, King Sunny Ade, thrilled the guests with beautiful renditions.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former President Olusegun Obasanjo were among top dignitaries that graced the event.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Minister for Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, described the Yoruba as a great ethnic group in Nigeria:
“Before somebody could be conferred with the Odole Oodua title, such a person must be eminent and must have contributed immensely to humanity and the society.
“I am happy that Sir Kessington Adebutu is being conferred with this title today and I pray that his reign as Odole Oodua would be eventful. I am sure you know the significance of this title, bearing in mind great Nigerians, including the late sage and former Premier of the Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and former Attorney-General of the Western Region, the late Chief G.O.K. Ajayi, who held the title of Odole Oodua in the past.
“We were aware of the positive impacts of these past two Odole Oodua. They ensured that there was a healthy relationship between Yoruba and other tribes in Nigeria. But I believe that you (Adebutu) would do more than that.
“You have been a philanthropist who usually helped the poor and the needy in the society. As the new Odole Oodua, you should provide exemplary leadership as you have always been. I want to remind our traditional rulers to be agents of peace, unity and development in their respective domains.
“We must all strive to preserve and promote our cultural heritage. I want to commend the Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi for leading the vanguard of monarchs promoting our cultural values. As Odole Oodua, you should play an active role in promoting Yoruba cultural heritage and values.”
Other dignitaries at the event included the governors of Lagos, Ogun and Osun states, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Dapo Abiodun and Gboyega Oyetola, respectively.
Former governors of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Chief Segun Osoba, Senator Oluremi Tinubu and the chairman of African Newspapers of Nigerian Plc, Dr. Olatokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu, were also present.
The rest were a Yoruba leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Otunba Gani Adams, and General Oladipupo Diya (rtd), the Akarigbo of Remoland, Oba Babatunde Ajayi, Olu of Yewa, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, the Timi of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Lawal, the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun, Oba Ayangburen of Ikorodu and other Yoruba monarchs.
While felicitating with the new Odole Oodua during his 84th birthday recently, the Ooni, urged him to use his new age and the rest of his life to work for the peace, unity and cultural advancement of Yorubaland and the entire Oduduwa race across the globe by the virtue of his new position.