His Imperial Majesty, Oba Babatunde Akande Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife is,no doubt,a frontline traditional ruler with popular appeal among Yoruba race and Nigeria in general.
His ascendance to the throne of the Ooni of Ife in December 2015 was greeted with pomp and pageantry due to the wider acceptance of his enthronement by all and sundry.The official announcement of his name as the new Ooni on 27th October, 2015 further confirmed that impossibility can be made possible if there is zeal, endurance, dedication and good intention.
The young, energetic, vibrant, eloquent, good-looking and forward-thinking paramount ruler has made a mark as a king. Prediction had it long before his birth that he would be a king, and to God be the glory, the prediction miraculously came into reality.
Hear him: “I thank God Almighty for bringing me to this highly exalted throne.It’s neither by my might nor by my power. All thanks to God Almighty, the King of kings. My enthronement was well predicted even before I was born, to the glory of God, it came to reality. God has actually made it to become a reality. Everytime, I give Him all that glory because He is the one guiding me on this throne”.
Here is a man of many parts, a lover of youth and advocate of an egalitarian society and a strong voice for the voiceless. Having had a chat with the highly revered monarch in an exclusive interview, highPROFILE presents here an overview of his growing-up years, his accomplishments and vision for his people:
Growing Up Years and Educational Pursuit
The Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi came from a very humble background. As a prince from the royal lineage of Ojaja dynasty in Giesi Ruling House, one of the four ruling houses in Ife Kingdom, the Ooni enjoined keeping company of his father who always carried him along in the course of performing his own professional duties of broadcasting. This actually gave the young Enitan the right exposure and needed motivations in achieving greatness in his legitimate pursuit as a celebrated, entrepreneurial figure in the country.
“To the glory of God, from very humble background, I’m not born with sliver spoon, but a good spoon that can do the same work that the silver spoon will do. Some spoons are made of steel, some are made of plastic, some are made of silver and even some are made of gold but the bottom line is for us not to lack as a human being” he said.
The Ooni is an Accountant by profession. His passion for entrepreneurship compelled him to think outside the box and ventured into buying and selling of steel materials and other related items.
“Basically, I studied Accounting, I practiced briefly and I went into business at a very early stage. I was involved in a lot of merchandising, buying and selling before I went into a full production and manufacturing of steel and steel-related materials before going into engineering, procurement and construction.
My background has been one with a very strong entrepreneurial spirit.
“When I was 11 years old, I used to follow my dad to every broadcasting station all over, such as WNTV, WNBS, Oyo State Radio, Osun State Radio and I used to ask a lot of questions and to the glory of God, those experiences formed part of my personality.
“The story of my life is an embodiment of history and mysteries things that have happened to me. It’s being long predicted that I will become a king and to the glory of God I became a king. Go for any role, any objective, any ambition you want for yourself and start planning towards it, you are going to achieve your desire”, he advised.
The Appellation: “OTISESE”, “Can Do Spirit”
Before he became the Ooni he was famously known as someone who believed in” Can Do Spirit”. To him, everything is possible. That alone accounted for his victory as the Ooni of Ife even in the midst of several contenders.
” I believe in ‘Can Do Spirit’ and that is my slogan ‘Otisese’. I have been using that slogan ever since, even before I came to the throne. I don’t get afraid of any huddle, I will go all the way for it and I get things done. It has actually helped me in life to shapen me properly for all these challenges.
” It has actually helped me to form a great personality that I become. It has actually helped me above all to impact on human lives. I keep giving ceaselessly with no boundaries and God keeps giving me back in return. It is very important for you to know who you are and where you are going to. I have many histories, many testimonies of how I ascended this throne, it is not by my might or by my power but with God. As a result of this, I want everyone of us not to wait for any big number, whatever little you have, use it to help people” he enjoined.
His Announcement As Ooni
On 27th /28th of October 2015 the official announcement was done and I started preparing. Like I said, It was predicted before I was born and to the glory of God I’m alive and the prediction came to reality and God helped me. Though, a lot of mystries sorround it, I begged God to give me more wisdom and humility and God really granted me the requests and I didn’t go above board and He has been helping me. So far, so good; all is well.
What Royalty Has Taken Away From Him
Uneasy, they said, lies the head that wears the crown. The position of Obaship has practically denied the Ooni the liberty he used to enjoy as an ordinary citizen. It is a common knowledge that the occupant of such exalted position could not be seen around trivially either doing a legitimate business or wandering to exercise his fundamental human rightd as enshrined in the constitution. His privacy has actually become somehing of public knowledge.
“Royalty has absolutely taken everything from me. I miss my life, I miss my privacy, I miss moving around doing businesses on a very large scale. Royalty takes everything away from me. It is unfortunate, it is a big sacrifice but God is able and God is helping me” he reminisced.
His Message to Nigerian Youth
If you look at this country, you will realise that the rate at which we are multiplying is of geometric progression and that is demography of the youth. People decieve the youth by saying they are the leaders of tomorrow. If youth don’t ask for that leadership, they will never get it. It is a general saying that youth are leaders of tomorrow, it is a different ball game to ask for that leadership.
“Almost 70 per cent of Nigerians population right now are youths who are below 40 years. If you have 70 per cent, that is a distinction. We have 10 people, seven are saying this is the way, what will three people say when seven people have spoken. That is what Nigerian youths will do to ask for their rights.
“Nigerian youths own this country but they have not asked for their rights. For me, I’m just using myself as an example, I dedicated this throne to the youths of this country. This throne belongs to the youth, it clamours for them and is is going to wake them up.
“The day that Nigerian youths team up to ask for their rights, the better for the country. They should come out of that euphoria that they are the leaders of tomorrow, they haven’t asked for that leadership, they need to ask.
“Every day of my life I think of the youth, I dream of the youth, everything I do I dedicated it to the youth. Because I’m one of them.
His Candid Advice to the Children
“Be focused, keep asking relevant questions, keep reading books, keep reading about the status of this country, try to get to know who you are and how you want to impact the society, so help you God”.
I keep this throne open to the children and I like to discover talent at a tender age, to catch them young. I had a Children Day Celebration last month, and every time, I pick talent. Right now I have more than 3,000 children that I take care of.
His Take on Science, Logic and Divinity
Ooni was of the opinion that Science is proving mysteries to the logical conclusion. He maintained that science and logic have the same alignment. According to him “when you talk of science of law of gravity you talk of weight and mass; what goes up must come down. Science will prove that to you, because is very logical.
“What I my saying, our artifacts are being taken by the western world because they know their worth and value. Most of them are linked to innovations that we are all enjoying today.
“We are in infotech age, with too much infotech and western culture imbibing such things, we will continue to lose some values in our country. So for us, it’s better we uphold original heritage and our values, original tradition and original culture and we blend it so that we get best out of it. Every innovation of the western world was taken away from us, we cannot continue like that. We should blend technology of modernity and the divinity, technology of those ancient days.
Synergy Between Traditional Institution and Government
Traditional institution is very close to the grassroots and government is using the institution as a good link to the masses, he said.
“A wise traditional ruler should avaoid getting involved in politics because we are fathers of all. As they come, pray for them and leave but if you are too one-sided, people will know. That is why traditional institution is always very sensitive when it comes to matter like this. We are closer to the grassroots than Government, they will only spend eight years (maximum), our own position is forever. So as a result, naturally, we are stronger than any politician. Anytime they want to become anything they must come to our palace”.
The Ooni hoped that a day would come when traditional rulers will be given their rightful position as custodians of heritage and perfect link between government and the people.
“The synergy will be perfect when we return to old days of constitutional powers for different regions. With that, traditional leaders can play their natural roles.I will even be a champion of constitutional power for the traditional rulers in this country.
“As co-Chairman of National Traditional Rulers Council of Nigeria, I gave the President advice about those to appoint as ministers. He needs to do away with people that are just sycophants that surround him.”
Culture, Tradition and the Society
The bedrock of any society are it’s culture, heritage and belief systems. These variables are the identity of any society. Without culture and tradition there is no humanity.
“Tradition is our inheritance, what we inherited from our forebears. Culture is still the same and our heritage is what left behind. Like this palace, the building (palace) we are in now is about 85 years old. Right in this palace we also have building of 400, 500 years old. That is our heritage. You can imagine someone would just come and destroy the palace, God forbid! Where do we get our heritage? Out of our heritage structure and emperical evidences, we will practice culture and tradition. For us it is something we cherish so much, may God help us”.
Setting in Motion for Better Tomorrow
The Monarch believes a better society can be achieved through inspiration, through proper and adequate training, manpower development, and mentorship.