Ife Tourism Zone gets Motherland Beckons —NIDO office •As Ooni of Ife hosts Ileya Omo Oodua festival committee

Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi, Ojaja II and (left) Mr Wale Williams, Managing Director, Franchise & Enterprise Concerns and others.

Ife Tourism Zone, following its formal declaration February this year, has continued to witness waves of activities, organisations and individuals visiting, to pledge commitment to the speedy development of the zone into a foremost destination in Africa, especially given the personal involvement of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja 11, in the historic project.

The latest move was the formal opening of Motherland Beckons – Nigerians in Diaspora (NIDO) office at the Enuwa Palace. The ceremony was performed by the Ooni, who is also the grand patron of Motherland Beckons, an organisation founded by Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, which is dedicated to the promotion of Africa and enhancing linkage between the Diaspora and Africa, Motherland.

Speaking at the occasion, Oba Ojaja 11 enunciated an ennobling vision of uniting Nigerians in the Diaspora and that he has a responsibility towards them as he sees them as one of his primary constituents in his grand design of fostering peace, unity and development of Nigeria as well as Africa.

The monarch also emphasised the significant role of the Diaspora in the development of the nation. He said that even America was developed by immigrants from Europe and not the native Red Indians. Oba Ojaja 11 then used the occasion to express gratitude to the members of NIDO America for their warm reception and hospitality accorded him and his entourage during his visit to the USA in June.

He urged NIDO members not to relent on their efforts in contributing to national growth and development and showered royal blessings on them and stressed that the new NIDO office is for NIDO America, NIDO Europe, NIDO Africa and the Caribbean.

In his remark at the event, the Chairman of NIDO America, Samuel Gbenga Adewusi, said he was delighted by the warm reception accorded his team by the monarch even as he expressed joy and happiness on Ooni delivering on the promise he made to them in February, with respect to opening a befitting office for NIDO within the confines of the Enuwa Palace, Ile-Ife.

He announced a donation of 400 e- books on information technology, amounting to about 10, 000 pages to the new NIDO office by NIDO America while promising to follow up with more materials, physical and monetary donations on behalf of NIDO Europe and Africa that were also represented at the event.

Adewusi said that the office will be devoted to promoting the activities of Motherland Beckons and NIDO within the continent.

Meanwhile, in furtherance to his drive for peace, unity and cohesion amongst the Yoruba race home and abroad, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Ogunwusi is hosting a one week festival titled Ileya Omo Oduduwa festival this December.

The festival which was earlier planned for this August was postponed by the Ooni mainly because for centuries, the month of December is regarded as the month of celebration of Oduduwa, the progenitor of the Yoruba race.

Speaking to journalists at the declaration, Mr Wale Williams, the coordinator of the festival and managing director of Franchise & Enterprise Concerns Limited said: ‘The Arole Oduduwa is determined to ensure that his effort at bringing together every person born as Yoruba anywhere in the world is achieved, our own job is to ensure that it is well celebrated by all as one people with a pride of rich culture, and language.”

He further said: “we were initially concerned about hosting the one week long festival every August, but the king in his wisdom was not lost of the importance of the month of December to every Yoruba person home and abroad and wants to strengthen that symbol to buttress his desire for peace and unity in the world.”

The festival which is slated to take off with seven different large floats coming in from all parts and entering Ile-Ife on the opening day depicts the seven children whose descendants all make up the Yoruba race with over 500million in population with descendancy in 85 countries of the world, “we want to rival the Rio carnival by hosting the most colourful home coming festival ever”. Wale said, “Today, the Middle East is now a no go area for tourism, the world is looking to us in Africa to provide that tourism supplement and now Nigeria is still an untapped tourism haven. Beating drums, showing colourful dances and displays, and celebrating our people, cuisine and culture are not fetish things that many of us are fond of singing. We need to be proud of who we are and start talking with one voice to show our true positive selves as a race”.

Williams whose firm has hosted the Oyo Festival and Samodun fiesta in Oyo State spoke more on the different events for the festival. ‘We will open with the Adura Oodua which will have 50 top Yoruba kings in attendance, the two major religions will be represented by five leaders, 85 international leaders and 3000 mothers will pray for the entire Yoruba race to open the carnival with fanfare. The Irawo Oodua awards will be the hallmark of the event while other events like Omidan Oodua will celebrate our amazons. Most of our youths don’t know about Pupupu, Oba Luwo, Emotan, Mino Lalisca, Yeyelagaba and a host of other women. These are Yoruba women that led and became role models for what we are today. Each day, there will be different celebrations depicting us as a people.The festival is slated to hold from December 4 to 10.