The New Ooni Of Ife, The Tinubu Connection, And The Obasanjo Disconnection
On 28th July, 2015, the multibillionaire king of Ile Ife, Osun State, Nigeria Ooni of Ife Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II was officially announced on several news media as being confirmed dead in a hospital in London, United Kingdom after a brief illness. The race to replace him with another prince among the hundreds of Ife princes available (both the late king’s sons and the sons of his extended paternal family members) began in earnest.
The selection of a new king for Ile Ife was termed a “race” because of how important the ancient town of Ile Ife is in the culture and history of the Yoruba nation. According to the book authored by the multi-talented 19th century historian Reverend Samuel Ayinla Johnson, edited by his younger brother Dr. Obadiah Ajagbe Johnson (who was the 2nd Nigerian to qualify as a medical doctor after Dr Adeniyi Jones broke the record of being the 1st), and titled A History Of The Yorubas From The Earliest Times To The Beginning Of The British Protectorate (a book recognized worldwide and described by wikipedia.org as “… a book of great merit … and a pioneering historical study…”), Ile Ife has been a very sacred town for the Yorubas for hundreds of years before the European colonials started arriving in Yorubaland because there is no king of other Yoruba towns that will ascend the throne of his ancestors without performing (as part of his many traditional rites) a secret spiritual rite that must be administered by representatives of the king of Ile Ife. Briton Professor Robert Sydney Smith likewise wrote in his own groundbreaking book titled Kingdoms Of The Yoruba that “… in ancient and even comparably recent pre-colonial times, the king of Ile Ife was regarded as more than just a king. He was in addition the chief priest of the whole Yoruba nation; what the Archbishop of Canterbury is to Great Britain and the Anglican Church was what the Ooni of Ife was to the Yoruba people …”
Traditionalism and indigenous spiritualism aside, the social status of the Ooni of Ife is very high and the position he occupies is well respected in Nigeria and beyond. The penultimate Ooni of Ife Oba Adesoji Aderemi (who ruled as Ife king from 1930 to 1980) broke national and international records by being the 1st Nigerian to become a governor (after he replaced the tactful Briton Sir John Dalzell Rankine as governor of Western Region, Nigeria) and also the 1st black man to become a governor in the whole British Commonwealth. He was also a Nigerian federal minister even while still the Ife king; he was involved (with the illustrious political genius Obafemi Awolowo) in encouraging Anthony Enahoro to move the motion for self government for Nigeria in 1956; he was involved in the several constitutional conferences held in London, United Kingdom in the 1950s to determine the future of Nigeria, and he played an important role in the numerous attempts to settle the rapidly exacerbated Action Group Political Crisis of the early 1960s in Nigeria (see the article “Where Were You … When Oba Adesoji Aderemi Became The First Governor In Black Commonwealth Africa” by Banke Adelaja, Historical Flashback Nigerian newspaper, April 1 – May 5, 2015, pages 15 – 19 for more details). The progressive Nigerian politician Chief Obafemi Awolowo never in his lifetime hid the fact that the moral supports and beneficial advices he received from Oba Adesoji Aderemi were partly responsible for his (Awolowo’s) own imperishable political achievements so when Ooni Adesoji Aderemi died at 91 years of age in 1980, Obafemi Awolowo tried his best to make sure his own former employee and close junior friend multibillionaire Prince Okunade Sijuwade became the next king.
35 years later in 2015, Ooni Okunade Sijuwade died and the present day power brokers in Yorubaland immediately started a race to get their own favourite Ife prince to ascend the Ile Ife throne. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (who erroneously and self-deceptively sees himself as the most prominent Yoruba alive today even though he has no tangible political structure that is well grounded in Yorubaland or in Nigeria at large) initially struggled to find a way of influencing the selection of the new king but it was the favourite of the real Yoruba leader Bola Tinubu (who is the Asiwaju of Yorubaland and the Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom, whose political structures include 4 state governors out of the 6 states in Yorubaland, and whose brainchild of a political party All Progressives Congress broke records by defeating an incumbent Nigerian president and therefore achieved what no other political party in Nigerian history has ever achieved) that emerged as the present Ooni of Ife. When the 85-year-old multibillionaire Ooni of Ife Oba Okunade Sijuwade (who was the employer of a certain Gabriel Igbinedion that later became a multibillionaire) died on Tuesday, 28th July, 2015, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (who has been described by wikipedia.org as “… an astute politician …”) initially wanted his long-term friend and close confidant multibillionaire Ife Prince Dipo Eludoyin, MFR (the chairman of Paragon Group that owns the popular Ikeja Mall in Lagos State, Nigeria and several other business interests in China) to be the next Ooni of Ife but Prince Eludoyin politely refused to be the next king of Ife, preferring the life of a quiet and unpublicised international multibillionaire he lives to that of a king of Ile Ife with its expected concomitant publicity and quasi-regimentation. When the pressure from his friends (particularly Asiwaju Bola Tinubu) encouraging him to become king was approaching crescendo, Prince Eludoyin quietly jetted to China (where has a multi-billion naira business empire), vowing to come back to Nigeria only after a new Ooni is installed. It was while Tinubu was looking for another Ife prince to replace the late Ooni Sijuwade that a certain Yoruba king Oba Saheed Elegushi (the Elegushi of Ikate Land, Lagos State, Nigeria) introduced a certain multibillionaire Ife prince known as Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Before becoming a king in 2010, Oba Saheed Elegushi (who has been a cordial business partner of Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi for many years) was a personal assistant to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu during Tinubu’s 8 years as Lagos State governor from 1999 to 2007 and he (Oba Saheed Elegushi) was a Senior Special Assistant On Special Duties to Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola from 2007 to 2010. This Tinubu Connection would later make the secretary to the Government of Osun State Alhaji Moshood Adeoti announce on 26th October, 2015 on behalf of Tinubu’s political protégé Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, Nigeria that the next Ooni of Ife is the multibillionaire Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi. 2 days later on 28th October, 2015, Ooni of Ife Adeyeye Ogunwusi rode in a convoy of more than 100 cars from Lagos State (where he was hitherto based) to Ile Ife (where he is being made King), part of the convoy including Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who had once again been bested and humiliated by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (because the victorious and celebrated Ooni Ogunwusi was Tinubu’s choice, not Obasanjo’s choice) but who was trying his best to play to the gallery by not to showing his disconsolation and dismay which was why he seemed to be “happier than the celebrant’’ during the home-coming car procession of the new Ooni of Ife. On 30th October, 2015, the new Ooni of Ife proceeded to the sacred traditional ritual grove at Ile Ife to commence the compulsory 21-day rites that every new Ooni must do and which some sources said involved eating 401 different light repasts (each representing the 401 traditional gods allegedly worshipped in Ile Ife) made of special secret ingredients from 401 different food saucers while other sources insist that the number of the secret meals that the new king will consume during the 21-day period will be only 364 in number, not 401 (because the traditional gods of Ife are allegedly 364 in number, not 401) but all these could be safely dismissed as guesses because none of the rumour-mongers will be with him during the rites to know how many special meals he would eat to appease how many traditional gods or if he would even eat any special meal at all.
Now that the new Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi has been proved to be a Tinubu’s choice, one would be mistaking to see him as a pushover, an underling, a minion, or a toady because he himself is an achiever in many directions even though he is just 41 years old. Born at exactly 1pm on Thursday, 17th October, 1974, Prince Adeyeye Ogunwusi obtained a higher national diploma, HND in Accountancy from The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. His further professional efforts made him become a full member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, an associate accounting technician, a certified member of the Institute of Directors of Nigeria, an active member of Global Real Estate Institute, GRI, a full director on the Board Of Imperial Homes Mortgage Bank Limited (formerly GT Homes which was a subsidiary of GT Bank Plc), a director of Fina Trust Microfinance Bank Limited, and the sole founder and Managing Director of Gran Imperio Group which is the holding company for many of his multifarious business interests which include real estate, civil construction, manufacturing, facilities management, leisure and tourism, etc within and outside of Nigeria.
Apart from being an unpretentious philanthropist (he donated rice and tilling equipments to Oyo and Ogun States chapters of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria; funded the purchase and installation of power transformers and electricity poles in many rural communities across Nigeria; granted scholarships to scores of indigent students; and single-handedly paid for the reconstruction of a 6.5 km road with 1.1 km green extension in a community in Nigeria without any financial intervention from the government), Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi has had very close working relationships spanning several years in the direction of multiple business partnerships with several top-notch kings in Yorubaland some of whom include late Ooni Okunade Sijuade of Ile Ife, Osun State; Oba Saheed Elegushi of Ikate Land, Lagos State; Oba Adedapo Tejuosho of Abeokuta, Ogun State; Oba Oloruntoyin Saliu of Oworonshoki, Lagos State; Oba Akinloye of Ajiran Land, Lagos State; Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi of Ofa, Kwara State, etc. A husband to 1 wife (Mrs, now Olori Adedokun Adebisi Ogunwusi) and a father to 1 daughter (Adeola Aanuoluwapo Ogunwusi), he has 450 direct employees and over 3,000 indirect employees in his numerous companies even though he celebrated his 41st birthday on 17th October, 2015 (9 days before his name was announced as the next Ooni of Ife).
Notwithstanding the petition written by a certain non-governmental organisation named Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice, CHRSJ (chaired by a certain Mr Adeniyi Suleiman) and forwarded to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC requesting it (EFCC) to immediately arrest, detain and prosecute the new Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi for an alleged forgery, fraudulent conversion, and obtaining of 400 million naira, history will be made when history repeats itself when the Ooni of Ife Adeyeye Ogunwusi is coronated plausibly in late November 2015 by the bespectacled Governor Rauf Aregbesola who is an Ijesha indigene and who is a political protégé of a bespectacled Lagos-based political giant Bola Tinubu (the same way the late Ooni Okunade Sijuade was coronated 35 years earlier in 1980 by a bespectacled Governor Bola Ige who is an Ijesha indigene and who was a political protégé of a bespectacled Lagos-based political giant Obafemi Awolowo) and it is expected that Ooni Ogunwusi will have a very long and peaceful reign filled with several unique achievements like the reign of late Ooni Adesoji Aderemi (who became an Ife king at 41 years of age like the present Ooni Ogunwusi) though nobody wants history to repeat itself with the way the hitherto-healthy, flamboyant money-spraying Lagos multimillionaire socialite Ladipo Bobo Doherty (who was a close friend of Ooni Sijuwade and who married Tejumade, the daughter of Lagos multimillionaire Rex Ibikunle Alakija) suddenly collapsed and died within few seconds after spraying some hard currency during the party organised in honour of Ooni Okunade Sijuade during his coronation ceremony in December 1980 (see the article ‘’Bobo Doherty Is Dead’’, Sunday Tribune Nigerian newspaper, December 7 ,1980, page 1 for more details), fuelling a series of rumours in the direction of the Abobaku Myth(i e the mythical belief that at least one human being must die a strange, sudden death as a spiritual sacrifice during the coronation of a Yoruba king).
The emergence of multibillionaire Ife Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi as the new Ooni of Ife clearly happened through Tinubu Connection (as detailed above) and it clearly sequelled into a serious Obasanjo emotional disconnection. Nothing needs to be further said.
Engr Rotimi Fabiyi, MNIM, MNSChE, MNSE, COREN Reg,
P.O Box 1709, Ikorodu Town, Lagos State, Nigeria