President Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday in Ile-Ife, tasked the new Odole Oodua, Sir Kessington Adebutu to see his new traditional title as an opportunity to promote Yoruba cultural heritage and values.
Speaking during the coronation rites for Adebutu, Buhari, who was represented by the Minister for Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola described Yoruba ethnic group as great in Nigeria, saying “before somebody can be conferred with Odole Oodua title, such a person must be eminent and he must have contributed immensely to humanity and the society.”
According to Buhari, “I am happy that Sir Kessington Adebutu is being conferred with this title today and I pray that his reign as Odole Oodua would be eventful. I am sure you know the significance of this title bearing in mind great Nigerians, including the late sage and former Premier Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and late Chief G.O.K Ajayi, who in the past held the title of Odole Oodua.
“We were aware of the positive impacts of these past two Odole Oodua. They ensured that there was a healthy relationship between Yoruba and other tribes in Nigeria. But I believe that you (Adebutu) would do more than that.
“You have been a philanthropist, who usually help the poor and the needy in society. As the holder of this title, you should provide exemplary leadership as you have always been. I want to remind our traditional rulers to be agents of peace, unity and development in their respective domains.
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“We must all strive to preserve and promote our cultural heritage. I want to commend the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi for leading the vanguard of monarchs promoting our cultural values. As Odole Oodua, you should play an active role in promoting Yoruba cultural heritage and values.
“The task of promoting the study of Yoruba language in Nigerian universities is a major assignment for the new Odole Oodua. The endowment of chair of knowledge of Yoruba language in Nigerian universities should be the main priority of Odole Oodua.”
In his remark, the son of Sir Kessington Adebutu, Hon Ladi Adebutu commended the Ooni of Ife for honouring their family with the conferment of Odole Oodua title on his father. We are part of you and will always be ready to support you.”
He stated that “this is the source of mankind. Yorubaland will not lag behind in Nigeria. We need to sustain unity and peace in Yorubaland and the entire country. The challenge of Mr President regarding the promotion of Yoruba cultural heritage and values would be the reflection of thought for the new Odole Oodua.”
Dignitaries at event include former President Olusegun Obasanjo; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun; Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola; former governors of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Chief Segun Osoba; Senator Oluremi Tinubu and the chairman African Newspapers of Nigerian (ANN) Plc, Dr Olatokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu.
The list also includes Chief Ayo Adebanjo; Senator Babafemi Ojudu; Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Chief Dele Momodu; Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Otunba Gani Adams and General Oladipupo Diya (rtd), among others.