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By Sodiq Lawal

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, on Friday visited Birmingham City University as he seeks to strengthen ties between the UK institution and the more than 40 million people he represents in Africa.

Accompanied with his entourage, the Ooni’s visit provided an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of around 1,000 graduates from the University who live in Nigeria and who hold eminent positions in fields as diverse as banking and finance, higher education and government.

Ooni said:  “It’s an honour to be in front of all of you, and particularly to be here at Birmingham City University.

“Most importantly I want to thank the Vice-Chancellor for taking his time to welcome all of us to this beautiful University. It’s a great honour and we will not forget what you have done today.

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“We are proud to be associated with this University and to be in the thoughts and feelings of your students who are potential leaders of our great country of Nigeria and the entire black race.”

He also spoke of the historic significance of Africa and appealed for global unity.

“Africa is the next frontier if the entire world. It is a continent that everyone has a stake in. All of humanity has a stake in it. Everyone has a cot there, that’s where the entire history of mankind began.

“We belong to one big happy family and that’s what we should preach.”

The Ooni’s visit was hosted in Birmingham City University’s new £57 million Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, where His Imperial Majesty addressed a gathered crowd  in the building’s Concert Hall.

Prior to this, Vice Lord Lieutenant Dr Beverly Lindsay welcome  the Ooni on behalf of Her Majesty, the Queen, who also granted the Conservatoire its Royal title in September this year.

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Speeches were also given by Oluwadamilola Adebambo, President of the Nigerian Society at Birmingham City University Students’ Union (BCSU) and Akin Babasanya, University alumnus and President of the Yoruba Descendants in the Midlands.