Abuja - The ancient city of Ile-Ife, South-West Nigeria was in a celebratory mood on Monday when its 51st Ooni, Oba Babatunde Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, was formally installed and presented with the staff office by the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola.
The Ooni of Ife is regarded as the most powerful and influential traditional monarch among the Yoruba people of South-West Nigeria.
The Yoruba, with a population of about 40 million, makes up Nigeria’s second-largest ethnic group after the Hausa-Fulani.
The 40-year-old accountant succeeds the late Oba Okunade Sijuwade, who joined his ancestors on July 28.
Enitan installation as the new Onni came exactly 35 years and one day after the late Oba Sijuwade was presented with the staff of office.
Harmony and progress
Ogunwusi was a prince from one of the four ruling houses in the Ife kingdom and was selected by kingmakers from the 21 candidates that contested for the throne
Presenting the certificate of office, Governor Aregbesola said the throne of the Ooni comes with lots of privileges, and charged the monarch to handle the responsibilities with the "fear of God and large heartedness".
The governor advised the new Ooni to work towards peace, harmony and progress of the kingdom.
Speaking at the same event, President Muhammadu Buhari admonished the new monarch to exercise courage, integrity and loyalty to truth and be virtuous and use his position to work for the unity of the country.
Buhari, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, urged the new Ooni to apply God’s wisdom on the throne to succeed.
Commenting shortly after receiving his staff of office, Oba Ogunwusi promised to usher in a new era to Ile-Ife and its environs.
He also pledged to use his new office to pursue unity among the Yoruba race as well as other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.