The embassy of Republic of Cuba in Nigeria hosted a dinner in honour of the Ooni of Ife, Kabiyesi Alayeluwa, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi( Ojaja II) on Thursday 18th February 2016.
Excerpts of the press release from the palace of the Ooni here.
“The Chief host and the Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Carlos Trejo Sosa, ‘Omowale’, described the honour done on Ooni Ogunwusi as timely and well deserved, saying Ooni remains sacredly important to Cubans globally as 90 percent of the Cubans originated from this part of Africa with Ile-Ife as their ancestral home.
“Ooni is the Spiritual father of most of we Cubans all over the world because 90% of Cubans are black Africans and a very large portion of us originated from Yorubaland which spiritually headed by Ooni of Ife.”
The Ambassador seized the occasion to identify with the tourism potentials in Nigeria, particularly in Ile Ife. He described Ile Ife as home to numerous tourist attractions which he said if developed to the international standard signals a greater economic advantage to Nigeria and Africa.
The coordinator of the event and Founder/CEO of the renowned La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort in Lagos, Dr. Wanle Akinboboye speaking with journalists at the venue called on Nigerian investors to join hands with the federal government in developing tourism potentials as a way of attracting more foreigners to the country.
“When you establish a tourism zone, everybody will like to come, so we are inviting everyone to Ile-Ife on 26th and 27th of this month, as our new Kabiyesi is set to declare Ife a tourism zone. We invite private sector to move into Ife and exploit opportunities of doing business in Ile Ife.
“This will enhance economic vibrancy of the city and the beauty of what we intend doing is to drive the economy via tourism as done elsewhere in other parts of Africa.”
“Tourism development is not really a government function, government supposed to provide infrastructure. It is a private sector driven; it is the people that supposed to provide the funding. On 26th of this month, there will be symposium, drama and many people will be coming from different part of the world courtesy of the foremost authority, our new Kabiyesi. The Saturday the 27th will be the declaration” He said.
The Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, posited that the government of Nigeria will give credence to tourism business in the country, saying Tourism is Nigeria’s untapped goldmine. While she assured that President Buhari government is ready to urgently ensure Tourism is included in the exclusive list of government plans, particularly in his quest for economic diversification, Mbanefo called on private entities to emulate the new Ooni of Ife as he set to declare Ile-Ife as tourism zone in the world, adding that tourism is a private sector driven.
” I was warmly welcome by this wonderful monarch and Ife people. They took me around the Ife tourist centers, I discovered even Ile Ife has a lot of tourists attraction such as Moremi museum, the Oduduwa, Opa Oranmiyan and a whole lot of them”
“If we want tourism to work, we needed to bring tourism to grassroots. It is a must to do retail activities, the road transport should be affordable and hotel accommodation should be cheaper. People not necessarily need to come to Nigeria because of five star hotel, we are cultural people.” Mbanefo stressed.
The Olofin Adimula as the Ooni is fondly called expressed his delight at the honour done on him. While he described Cuba as a second home of the Yorubas in the central America, Ogunwusi called on bonafide sons and daughter of Oduduwa across the globe never to shun clarion calls of their kinsmen back home in Nigeria, whenever such need arises.
Ooni noted that the preservation of Yoruba language has become sacrosanct to all the Oduduwa descendants. Though he bemoaned the imperialism of foreign language over Africans, Ooni however called on parents to emulate Yoruba forebears and imbibe the culture of speaking Yoruba language to their wards after school hours and during holidays, saying in doing this will in no small measure helped the preservation of the language from extinction.
“Posterity shall judge us as Africans if we revive our heritage, particularly the African culture submerged by foreign affluence”. Ooni concluded.
Among dignitaries at the epoch dinner were members of diplomatic corps; Ambassadors, high commisioners , representatives of government functionaries, the Vice President Professor Yemi Osibajo SAN was represented by Senator Babafemi Ojudu while Governor Rauf Aregbesola of the state of Osun was represented by his Special Adviser on Federal Matters Alhaja Idiat Babalola. Also at the event was the newly appointed Senior Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Abike Dabiri Erewa as well as Nobel Laurel Prof. Wole Soyinka, Asiwaju of Ife Chief Alex Duduyemi, Chairman Asaka cement Sulaiman Yahya, DG of National Troupe Akin Adejumo, Professor Wale Adeniran, Professor Adebambo Adewopo, Senator Babajide Omoworare, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Senator Ajayi Borofice and wife, Senator Lanre Tejuoso, Senator Gbenga Asafa , Hon Rotimi Makinde and Hon Olugbenga Asia. Traditional rulers were not left out as Alayemore of Ido-Osun, Oba(Arc) Aderemi Adedapo, Onigbaye of Igbaye, Oba Joseph Okunlola-Oni, Alaagba of Aagba, Oba Rufus Ogunwole, Elejesi of Ejesi-Ife, Oba Awosunle Babatunde accompanied Ooni Ogunwusi from from Ife while about 20 Yoruba Obas in Abuja FCT led by Oba Ramoni Atanda joined the train in Abuja. Others who graced the occasion were Colonel Rufus Adetoro, Dr Jamil Tafawa-Balewa, Kola James, Mrs Modele Sarafa-Yusuf, Mr Ayo Ojuroye, Professor Jeleel Ojuade, Chief Funmilola Olorunnisola, Mr Akin Daodu, Mr Jide Fadairo, Mr Rotimi Osobe, Chief Ogunleye Folayemi, Mr Ojuolape Olagbaju, Hon. kayode Ogundele, Mr Muyiwa Afolabi, Dr Ayoade Adewopo, National Publicity Secretary of CDHR, Comrade Rasheed Raji Ropo(Triple R.) among others.
All the rich Yoruba cultural dance steps were highly demonstrated to the admiration of guests at the occasion.”
Comrade Moses Olafare,
Director of Media and Public Affairs,