Ile Ife has continued to attract interest across the globe with high profile personalities visiting and holding court with the newly installed Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeleye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja 11, whose towering influence and impressed performance since claiming the throne especially his passionate drive for the unity of the Yoruba race and promotion of cultural tourism with Ife as the new destination.
This time around, the Ooni played host to one of his own, the Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Carlos E.Troja Sosa, ‘Omowale,’ who himself has a history of long association with the palace dating back to the era of the late Oba Sijwuade. He was accompanied on the visit by his wife, Trejo Sosa (Oshunyinka) the deputy envoy, Ms Miriam Morales Palmero (Yemoja) following a royal summon by the Ooni.
The visit spanned two days with the first day witnessing a grand reception for the visiting envoy and his team at the Enu Owa palace where he was treated to musical and cultural entertainment with Osirgi dance group, Abubu Ola and the Elewo Agogo Group and the duo of Olo Midan Bata and Anu, the lady Ekwe from the stable of Atunda Entertainment as well as Sango Oba Koso, which is known in the Caribbean as Shango.
This was later followed in the evening by a private dinner hosted for the visitors by the Ooni, who is also the grand patron of Motherland Beckons, an organsiation founded by Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, who is the president of La Campagne and also the consultant and adviser on tourism to the Ooni, who has on assumption of the throne declared his intention of turning Ife into a tourism destination.
The night ended with tour of Omi Yeye Moolu, a mysterious river within the inner recesses of the palace while on the second day of the visitor, the team was at the Ile – Ife Grand Resort and Leisure site, a 156 hectare of land, which on completion is to house a N7.6 billion resort. A baby of the Ooni, which is envisaged to provide employment for hundreds of the people and opened up the tourism economy of Ile – Ife.
Thereafter, the team visited Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) where the Cuban envoy held court with the students at the amphitheatre. He also visited the Natural History of Museum and the Institute of Cultural Studies.
The two days visit was most instructive as it afforded the Ooni and his guests the opportunity to exchange ideas and pledge cooperation in the area of the promotion of cultural tourism given that Cuba and Nigeria has a long history and that majority of its population, as disclosed by the envoy as of Yoruba descend with many as devotees of Ifa.
Ambassador Sosa was impressed by the tourism dream of the Ooni especially the Ile – Ife Grand Resort and also the planned declaration of Ife as a tourism zone. According to the envoy, these are laudable projects, which he is happy to be associated with and run his weight behind even as he promised the Ooni and the people of the unalloyed support of his office and that of his country.
Oba Ojaja 11 also took time to educate and expose his visitors to the rich history and tradition of his people and the supremacy of Ile – Ife. He debunked the migratory theory about Ile – Ife and declared that Ile – Ife is indeed the cradle of mankind and not only that of the Yorubas alone.
He further delved into mystic and esoteric belief that Olodumare, the creator of the universe, controls the world from Ile – Ife, as evidenced by the mysterious Igi Nla, White Forest, Ark of Noah and Tower of Babel, all domiciled in Ile-Ife. He elaborated on the significance of the 201 deities created by Olodumare and their relationship with mankind, right from the Adam and Eve days of old.
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