Failure to advance collective interest, bane of Yoruba race – Okunrounmu

•    As eminent dignitaries shower encomiums on Oba Sijuwade
THE former chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference in the 2014 confab organised by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Senator Femi Okunrounmu, on Friday identified failure to advance collective interest as the bane of Yoruba race.

He observed that the pursuit of individualism at the detriment of overall interest of the race had constituted greatest challenge to its (Yoruba) development and unity over a long period of time.

Okunrounmu, who spoke at a colloquium titled “The Life and Times of Oba Okunade Sijuwade (Olubuse 11), organised by the Institute of Cultural Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife in conjunction with the Sijuwade family said there was crucial need for Yoruba leaders to place individual interest above the collective agenda of the race in order to achieve greatness.

At the colloquium, which was part of the activities lined up to commemorate the one year remembrance of Late Oba Sijuwade, the 50th Ooni of Ife, the former secretary general of the Pan Yoruba Socio-cultural group, Afenifere said “we Yorubas are specially gifted people. Intellectually, we rank among the most talented people in the world.”

According to Okunrounmu, “collectively, when it comes to protecting and advancing the interest of the race, we rank poorly. This in my view is because of too much individualism and too little sense of corporate responsibility to the race. We loathe yielding leadership to others, in the collective interest of all.”

He, however, described Oba Sijuwade as “a colossus among the Nigerian traditional rulers of his generation, even more so among Obas in Yorubaland, where the impact of his illustrious reign will reverberate for generations.”

Earlier in her speech, the Dean Faculty of Arts of OAU, Professor Gbemisola Adeoti, maintained that it was quite clear that Oba Sijuwade’s horizon of culture transcended the precinct of Yoruba, to embrace the whole humanity, adding that “he was able to build bridges across primordial barriers, thus, drawing associates, friends and admirers from white and black, Africa and Europe, rich and poor, men and women.”

In his remark, the chairman of the occasion, who is also the acting Vice Chancellor of OAU, Professor Anthony Adebolu Elujoba, said the institution would come out of the wood within the next six months, just as he challenged Sijuwade’s family to join hands in assisting Ile-Ife community and the university.

He stated, “Oba Okunade Sijuwade’s reign was very impactful locally, national and internationally, he was a great achiever in both culture and intellectualism.”

Also speaking during the colloquium, the co-chairman of African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, Dr Olatokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu averred that “Oba Sijuwade was relentless in pushing the agenda of  Late Obafemi Awolowo forward. These include true federalism, restructuring of Nigeria and a truly democratic constitution”.

Eminent personalities at the event include former governor of Ogun State, Chief Gbenga Daniel, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja 11), Professor Gabriel Olawoyin, the chairman of Ife Development Board (IDB)  Professor Muib Opeloye, the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, the Alayemore of Ido-Osun, Oba Adedapo Aderemi, among others.