…The Coronation Speech of The 50th Ooni of Ife
IT is with the greatest pleasure that I and my people welcome you to this occasion in the ancient city of Ife, the place from where the sun rises, the place where history began. Half a century ago. Ife witnessed an occasion of this kind when my immediate and revered predecessor, late Sir Adesoji Aderemi was crowned. May I at this juncture pay tribute to his illustrious memory. His long reign was peaceful and full of solid achievements for Ife and the Yoruba race in particular, and Nigeria as a whole. A giant among the traditional rulers of this country, a veteran nation builder, late Sir Adesoji Aderemi was a source of pride to, and a fountain of inspiration for all Ifes and most especially to myself and indeed the entire people of Nigeria. May God grant him eternal life.
It is of some importance to point out that ascension to the throne of Ife should not be controversial as it is of the most central significance for the entire Yoruba people at home and abroad.
I like therefore, to salute the kingmakers of Ife, who were unanimous in their decision to select me to sit on this great and most ancient throne. More importantly, I warmly salute His Excellency, Chief Bola Ige, the Governor of Oyo State and his executive council for their prompt decision in accordance with the Chieftancy Laws of Oyo State.
I wish to seize this opportunity to thank my well-wishers all over the world and above all, I thank the entire people of Ife for their love and support. This new life is for me a call to duty, a call to the service of our people. Whatever personal sacrifices may be involved cannot be nearly as great as the tremendous challenge ahead.
Nobody anywhere doubts the central importance of Ile-Ife in the history of the West African sub-region. Ife is the cradle of the Yoruba-speaking people throughout the world; indeed the origin of homo sapiens. The great Oduduwa lived here. We today are treading on the grounds upon which he treaded. The dynastic ramifications of Oduduwa’s descendants both within and outside Yorubaland are very well-known.
Eighty eight years ago (in 1892), my grandfather Ooni Olubuse I ascended this throne and reigned till 1910. He championed the struggle that welded together the warring factions here and re-established Ife unity. The point here is that each age, indeed each reign, is confronted with its own peculiar problems which it tackles using the materials and methods of its times.
My grandfather lived up to the challenges of his times. Bearing the brunt of warfare, he decidedly destroyed strife and established the basis of an enduring peace in its place. He was succeeded by Ooni Ademiluyi who perfected the peace building in a way which he believed it should be.
Late Sir Adesoji Aderemi once told me in England on his way to the United States of America that my grandfather was a great inspiration for him and that was part of why he decided to become Ooni of Ife.
The late Sir Adesoji Aderemi contributed enormously to the progress of this town and you can see many of the good things he has done in Ife among which was the establishment of the great University of Ife.
Today our challenge is not less nor can our determination and dedication be less than the highest, just because we have no internal warfare or human aggressive forces against which to contend.