The Arole Oduduwa and Ooni of Ile Ife, Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II on Saturday arrived Bahia Airport in the city of Salvador, Brazil and was received by representatives of the government of Bahia State, officials of the Nigerian Embassy and the Afro-Brazilians who came out in multitude to honour the monarch they referred to as the symbol of their heritage.
A statement issued by the director of Media and Public Relations, Moses Olafare, explains that the monarch was received alongside 17 other monarchs drawn across South Western Nigeria, several priests from Ile Ife, academicians, art promoters and newsmen around 3pm local time.
Ooni Ogunwusi and his entourage, immediately after arriving the airport from Rio de Jenario, proceeded to Boka Dogio, a place of worship founded by a prominent Brazilian of Nigerian descent from Bamgbose family in Lagos called Rodolfo Martins de Andrade, otherwise known as Bangbose Obitiko, in Brazil.
Dressed in all white apparel, Ooni Ogunwusi assured the adherents, who turned out in large numbers to receive him, of his support. He urged them not to relent, but to keep working towards bringing more people into the fold for the sustainability of the African culture.
He said his mission was to seek, find and bring under one umbrella the people of Yoruba race, especially those living away from their ancestral home.
He also implored them never to see themselves as people without identity, stressing that all descendants of Oduduwa such as Itsekiri, Edo, Ga, Anago, Igala, Lucumi, Napa, Yoruba and a host of others around the world belong to the same family with their ancestral roots located in Ile Ife.
The Ooni called for more robust collaborations between Yoruba people in the diaspora and their roots, as that would enable the race to have a common front regarding issues that concern them.
He said: “My mission is simple. I am for peace and unity of the Yoruba race and all the races within the entire House of Oduduwa worldwide. Everywhere they are, I must seek and get them united with their roots. Sitting on the throne of Oduduwa means that I owe every descendant of the race that responsibility regardless where they are.
“If we are united, we can achieve greater things. To unite, repackage and promote globally Yoruba culture is an important work that myself and my brother kings here with me and at home must ensure we do.
“By coming here today, you are assured of your roots. You are a people with beautiful roots and great identity. You should know you are not forgotten. I urge to also reconnect with your roots back in Yorubaland”.
The leader of the African worship center called Ile Ase Bamgbose, Air Jose de Souza – also known as Bisilola – thanked Ooni for the visit, and stated the readiness of the group to forge stronger ties with their roots in Yorubaland.
Ooni later offered prayers for the adherents and all people of the race living in the diaspora, while the worshippers entertained the audience with various songs.
Those on the entourage of the monarch are Timi of Ede, Oba Adesola Lawal; Ajero of Ijero kingdom, Oba Adewole Adebayo; Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Abdul Ganiy Adekunlr Ologunebi; Olugbon of Ile’gbon, Oba Olusola Alao.
Others are; Jegun of Idepe Okitipupa, Oba Adetoye Obatuga; Olojudo of Ido Ekiti, Oba Aderemi Obaleye; Alaran of Arandun, Oba Ibikunle Adekanye; Elerinmo of Erinmo-Ijesa, Oba Micheal Odunayo; Owa Kogun of Okerewe-Ife, Oba Muraina Adedoyin and Alayeluwa of Odo Ayandelu, Lagos state, Oba Aderibigbe Asunmo; Alayemore of Ido-Osun, Oba Aderemi Adedapo; Olowa of Igbara-Oke, Oba Adefarakanmi Agbede; Onisabe of Sabe-Igbobi, Oba Adeniyi Adeyemi.
Also on the entourage are Professor Sophie Oluwole; the Sooko Laekun of Ife, Prince Adegboyega Ogunwusi; a Senior official of Nigeria Embassy in Brazil, A.I Imam and a host of others.