It was a time for reminiscences and digging deep into the roots of existence when the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Ajibade Alabi paid a courtesy visit to the Onirisa, Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, in his palace on Tuesday, March 7.
The visit, according to the Alawe, was just like visiting the abode of one’s forefathers, as he told those who gathered in the hall where he was received by the Ooni, that Ilawe town was founded by a grandson of one of the past Ife monarchs.
In his remarks, Oba Alabi, who was at the palace with his wife, Olori Abimbola, chiefs and prominent indigenes of the town, said: “We are happy to be at Ooni’s palace to greet him, since we all have our roots in Ile-Ife.”
Delving into the history of Ilawe town and its link with Ile-Ife, the Alawe said it was founded in the late 12th Century by Oniwe Oriade, who was the grandson of the fourth Ooni of Ife, Obalufon Ogbogbodinrin.
He told the gathering of how Oniwe Oriade got his crown from his grandfather and migrated from Ilode in Ile-Ife to establish his own kingdom in Ilawe-Ekiti.
Saying that Ilawe-Ekiti had always been proud of its ancestral links to Ile-Ife, Oba Alabi further disclosed that the 48th Ooni of Ife, Ooni Ademiluyi Ajagun, who reigned between 1910 and 1030, lived in Ilawe Ekiti for three years and even married an Ilawe lady before moving back to Ife to ascend the throne.
Oba Alabi pointed out that the Alawe was listed as Number 46 on the list of 54 crowned Yoruba obas which was drawn by Ooni Adelekan Olubuse 1 in 1902, while the list was confirmed by Ooni Adesoji Aderemi in 1931.
He described Alawe as a foremost first class king in Ekiti who was admitted into the Pelupelu class in 1947, saying that he still remains a Grade A Pelupelu king till date.
Oba Alabi also recalled his visit to the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II on February 13, 2012 while preparing for his coronation ceremony slated for April 21, 2102, and how Ooni Sijuwade reiterated the ancestral links between Ilawe Ekiti and Ile-Ife.
“Ile-Ife is the foundation of all the earth and we are glad that the Onirisa, Oba Ogunwusi, has been promoting our culture and tradition. I advise all Yorubas to support the Ooni. We must accept that Ile-Ife is the Source of all of us, and we should give honour to whom honour is due. We pray for his success and we pray that God will stand by him,” the Alawe said.
The monarch expressed his appreciation of Oba Ogunwusi’s leadership role, not only among Yoruba obas, but the Yoruba nation at home and in the Diaspora, describing it as unprecedented and legendary.
Acknowledging the Ooni’s unique leadership position in the nation, Oba Alabi used the occasion to invite Oba Ogunwusi as the Royal Father of the Day to his fifth coronation anniversary coming up in April.
He added that Ilawe-Ekiti is solidly behind Oba Ogunwusi and would gladly grant any request by him.
Responding to the Alawe’s speech, Oba Ogunwusi confirmed the history narrated by the monarch, saying that Ilawe was founded by Oniwe Oriade who a grandson of the fourth Ooni of Ife.
The OOni also went down the history lane to affirm that Ile-Ife is the source of all humans, while he lamented the absence of unity among the Yoruba.
He described himself as a messenger of God, saying, “He (God) allowed me to get to the throne of Ooni because He has an assignment for me. Ile-Ife is the source of all us.
Speaking further, Oba Ogunwusi said: “We make enemies of ourselves, fighting over supremacy; but there is none as great as God. We engage in bickering and backbiting, which has not promoted oneness among us. Instead, it has caused a lot of drawbacks. Some of us don’t know where we are coming from and if we don’t know, how would we know where we are going?”
He described Ilawe Ekiti as one of the unique towns in Yorubaland, referring to the indigenes as fearless warriors who always overcame their enemies.
The Ooni enjoined Yorubas to come together and speak with one voice so that there could be progress. He also appealed that they should continue to promote culture and tradition, debunking the belief that tradition had to with idol worshipping.
He assured that he would be present at the 5th coronation, promising to be there with his chiefs and other monarchs to celebrate a king who also has his ancestral links with Ile-Ife.
Among those who accompanied the Alawe to Ooni’s palace were the former military administrator of Ogun State, Commodore Kayode Olofinmoyin; Chief Femi Falana, SAN; Mr Dele Adesina, SAN; Bishop Gabriel Oloniyo; Prof Dayo Akomolede; Professor Bode Asubiojo; Chief Tunde Babalola; Engineer Akin Abereowo; Chief Titus Ogunlade, Chief Gbenga Agbona and Mrs Yemisi Ayokunle.