PHOTOS: Ife in Celebration mode, town agog as Ooni Ogunwusi makes grand entry




It was one long stretch of grandeur. The landscape was a snaky sweep of class. Lagos, known for its panache and impatience, was the take-off point for  Prince Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the new Oonirisa of Ile-Ife, as he took the royal route to the abode of his kingly forbears—Ife. But such kingly elevation and splendid status would not have him drive alone.  The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, ill-famed for its overwhelming burden on road users, became an enchanting appeal as Prince Ogunwusi, in a stately convoy animated the highway. The over 100 vehicles that peopled his convoy glamorously authenticated the magnificence of the new Ooni.

The weeks of speculations, hearsay and rumour finally gave birth to a validation of the succession to the throne of the Oonirisa of Ife. Before the new Ooni made his entry into Ife, the Ife-Ilesa interchange junction was in frightening frenzy as a teeming crowd waited in excited anticipation for the new leader of the Yoruba race. It was a bubbly collage of humanity. The educated shook hands with the not-too-enlightened; market folks laughed gleefully with passersby; indigenes conversed without restrictions with visitors. Palace chiefs were present in their regality of prominence; students mixed freely.


I am fulfilled— Head, Giesi ruling house

However, the new Ooni made a quick stop in Ibadan at the home of the head of Giesi ruling house in Ile-Ife, Professor Adeyemi Adeoye Aderibigbe. The ruling house had produced the new Ooni. Alighting from his black Bentley, Ogunwusi recognized cheers of the crowd that waited outside.

Prince Aderibigbe, who vied for the stool in 1980, stated that he felt honoured that his ruling house had produced the new monarch. While speaking with Nigerian Tribune yesterday at his road D9, Tinubu Layout, Monatan, Ibadan residence, he expressed joy at the thought of the prominence which the new appointment had conferred on his lineage.

According to him, “My principal concern was that the stool would return to my ruling house and it has returned. I am fulfilled. I did not allow the negative utterances of others to affect my faith in God. The kingmakers have chosen wisely and I am proud of the choice made for us. I am very confident that God in his grace will direct the new king.

“You will now be proud that you have an Ooni who is hospitable, the head of the Yoruba race. Politics aside, we all came from Ife. The title means the land owner. You will see the difference.”

Immediately, he held a brief meeting with some family members and got back into his waiting car around 11:12am, with a long convoy of about 100 cars to Ile-Ife, Osun State.

After the meeting with family members, the new king made straight for Ife at exactly 11:12 a.m. In his convoy were Lagos chiefs which included the Alahun of Imore and Apapa, friends, family members, associates, among others.


Ife agog as Ogunwusi makes entry

In front of the Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu, the crowd’s patience was as legendary as Job’s. They had started converging as early as 10 a.m. As the crowd grew so did the security apparatus.

The jubilation became electrifying when the convoy arrived the Ife toll gate. Donning a white lace with purple cap to match, Ooni Ogunwusi, who acknowledged cheers from the crowd was led to his father, Pa Ropo Ogunwusi  by the head of  Giesi ruling House, Professor  Aderibigbe.

His father subsequently handed him over to the palace chiefs, who held a brief discussion with him before he (Ogunwusi) boarded his car as he joined the procession to the palace of Obalufe, where some traditional rites were performed.

The entourage of Ogunwusi had former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Otunba Wole Fasawe, Honourable Ojuolape Olagbaju, Chief Lekan Ijiyode, among other dignitaries.

As at the time of filing this report, Obasanjo was at Agbedegbede compound of Giesi ruling house, waiting to witness the installation of Ogunwusi as the Sooko of Giesi ruling house as part of the conditions to be fulfilled before his coronation as the Ooni of Ife.

Speaking during a chat with journalists, Osun State Commissioner of Police, Mr Kola Sodipo said his men were ready to ensure security of lives and property. “We have been securing this town since last week to ensure the safety of lives and properties.

“We do not envisage any security threat. There is peace in the town.”

In his remarks, the Seriki Hausawa of Ife, Alhaji Mammudah Abubakar Madagali said “Our prayer has been answered in Ile-Ife. Ife people love foreigners. The new monarch should accommodate everybody so that the peaceful coexistence we have can continue.”

Similarly, the Eze Ndigbo of the Source, Eze Ezekiel Onyejekwu, called on all Ife indigenes and other tribes, residing in the town, to support the new monarch, just as he promised the cooperation of his ethnic community.



Tribune
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