Ooni Adeyeye Enitan And The Task Of Developing Ile-Ife By Obayomi Abiola Benjamin
Ile-Ife town occupies a very vital part in the history of Yoruba-speaking people of South-western Nigeria. The city is located in the present day State of Osun, and it is about 220 kilometers northeast of Lagos state. Traditionally, the town is believed to be the cradle of the entire Yoruba race in time and space. As a matter of fact, legends have it that the task of helping earth develop its crust was given to Obatala- the King of White clothes, by the creator. On his way in accomplishing the task, he became tipsy from the consumption of palm wine from the palm trees he caused to grow after shaping the planet. He began to drink, and soon, became a drunkard. As a result of this, he was unable to complete the task he was earlier given to shape the planet. In order to complete the mission, Olodumare- the Supreme deity, had to send Oduduwa to complete this mission.
When he, Oduduwa arrived the scene to continue the work of shaping the earth, the first place he created was Ile-Ife. As a result of this, Oduduwa became the first Emperor of the Yoruba race, and the first Ooni and Oba of Ile-Ife. Upon the completion Oduduwa’s assignment on earth, there was a dispersal of his children from Ife to the outposts that they had previously founded in order for them to establish effective control over these places. Each is said to have made his or her mark in the subsequent urbanization and consolidation of the entire Yoruba confederacy of Kingdoms, with each child or grandchild fashioning his or her state after Ile-Ife. This was how Ile-Ife came to be the cradle of all Yoruba race. Ife refers to the people while the city itself is called Ile-Ife. The Ooni stool as it were is believed to be the direct descent from Oduduwa, and is counted first among the Yoruba Kings. Anyone occupying that Ooni throne is believed to be a deity- a god on two legs, and the 401st spirit allowed by Olodumare to interact with the people and that speaks as well. Records have it that Ile-Ife is well known as the city of over 400 deities each of which are worshipped daily.
Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi became the 51st Ooni of Ife after the demise of His Imperial Majesty, Oba Okunade Sijuade, Olubushe II on 28th July, 2015 after a brief illness in a London Hospital. Oba Okunade Sijuade was the Ooni between 1980-2015, the position he held for 35years until his transition barely six months ago. Immediately his death was made public, the race to elect a succession became opened. After wide consultations that spanned several weeks was done with the Giesi ruling house that should produce the next Ooni (according to the succession arrangement), and the tireless efforts both from the Kingmakers and the State Government that would eventually install whoever that was selected, Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi was deem fit to become the next King, being selected from 21 eligible candidates presented by the Giesi ruling House.
Born some 41 years ago into the family of John Oluropo Ogunwusi from the famous Ojaja Lineage of the Giesi ruling house of the Agbedegbede Quarters in Ile-Ife. His mother also, Wuraola Sidikatu Abegbe Ogunwusi was from the linage of Soji-Opa, a prominent Cocoa merchant in Ile-Ife. A chartered accountant by training, and an entrepreneur per excellence; Prince Adeyeye Enitan before becoming the Ooni is a business Magnate, a successful Real Estate practitioner of repute and the Managing Director of Howard Roark Gardens Limited which is undertaking Multi-million naira Jacob mews estate project in Yaba and the Lakeview Real Estate development in Lekki. He is also the MD/CEO of Gran Imperio Group (GIG), a formidable real estate consortium in Nigeria. The ambitious Prince with exceptional business ideas also delved into Engineering, Procurement and Construction locally and abroad for over 11years. He is also actively involved in the development of over 2,500 housing units with various consortia of developers within the last eight years.
Why Development of Ile-Ife is Paramount Now.
A cursory glance into the pace at which Ile-Ife is developing cannot be said to match the numbers of prominent and wealthy sons and daughters that the city has across the globe. The city, being one of the economic backbone of the state of Osun, and the strategic positioning that it has within the state at large, the development of the town should be at a geometric progression. Apart from the two major Federal Institutions that are located within the town which are the Obafemi Awolowo University and the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex; and the privately owned Polytechnic by Dr. Raymond Adedoyin, virtually no visible industry or meaningful development can be seen anywhere except for some few Hotels that are coming up and built to taste as well. Ask a typical Ife man what the economic activities is like in Ife, and the response you will get is an everlasting silence. There is hardly a single industry that you can point to in this town that is the pride of the source. And yet, the town has some of her indigenes as successful business men and women, captains of industries scattered all over the world.
I think Ooni Adeyeye Enitan has a lot to do in this regard. First and foremost, he is a 21st century Monarch who has traveled far and wide and an accomplished business tycoon. His vast wealth of business experience and success, coupled with his numerous contacts and reaching to other wealthy indigenous Ife citizens can simply open up this town for the much needed development. Waiting for the government to come develop Ile-Ife might take forever. This is the period that Ooni Adeyeye Enitan can bring his experience to bear in putting Ile-Ife on the right pedestal of development. The time has come and it is now. If nothing is done to modernize Ife now, through establishment of industries, promoting tourism, developing modern housing estates; then my fear is nothing might be done forever, and Ife would remain a glorified town- as some people would call it.
Finally, long live the new Monarch, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Igba Odun, Odun kan. May the good people of Ife, Osun state and Nigeria as a whole finds peace during your reign.
Thank you for reading.
Obayomi Abiola Benjamin