The Arole Oduduwa & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has urged Governments at all levels to raise the standard of living of citizenry through favourable economic policies.
Ooni, the Co-Chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria(NCTRN) gave the charge during the 2020 edition of the annual celebration of Aje Festival at his Ile-Oodua palace, on Monday in Ile-Ife.
Ooni Ogunwusi who is the natural father of the entire Yoruba race worldwide decried the current economic condition of the country which he described as pathetic, adding that the country’s wealth must be be enjoyable to all Nigerians.
“As it stands today, Nigeria has a population of few men and women controlling the economy while countless others are languishing in poverty. We cannot continue like this.
“For us to progress as a country, we must ensure that our wealth goes round especially to the poor and other vulnerable members of the society. We cannot keep having strikingly rich few Nigerians and uncountable ones wallowing in abject poverty.” The Ooni decried.
While explaining the basis for the Aje Festival celebrations, the African foremost monarch explained that it is a unique way through which the Yoruba people globally remember the deity which is known for wealth and riches.
“Aje is a deity which is known for wealth and riches. Its annual celebration as you have witnessed today is to acknowledge its relevance to us as people, especially its indispensable nature to us.
“Did you see the struggle for it during the procession to and from the Aje temple? That is the spirit of Aje, all of us are not rich because it is not easy to accumulate wealth.
“We are not devaluing the currency by spraying it to our people, we only do it on a special day like this to spread happiness. In the olden days, it was cowries, sometimes ago it was coins, nowadays it is naira notes and we hold it in a very high esteem.” The Ooni noted.
Coordinator of Aje Festival, Princess Toyin Kolade while briefing newsmen expressed happiness for the massive turnout of participants from within and outside Nigeria. She thanked the Ooni for the opportunity, pledging her commitment to the development of the prestigious Yoruba cultural heritage.
Similarly, the Lowa Adimula of Ife, High Chief Adekola Adeyeye, described the 2020 Aje festival celebration as the best in history, thanking the Ooni for uphold the cultural values of Ile Ife and Yorubaland. He added that the Ooni has rebranded the ancient city positively to the world, praying that God Almighty will support him in realising the greater Ife Kingdom of his dream.
The Obaluru Oranfe, Oba Isoro Abiodun Molato said “Aje is a goddess that provides Wealth and Fortune for People. She was among the 401 deities sent to the world by Olodumare .
Her primary assignment was to ensure a smooth transition of the country’s economy. For this, she is always being celebrated and commemorated by the people of Ife and other tribes of Yoruba so as to laud and epitomize her past good deeds and also how she has diligently improved people’s welfarism and the commerce of the country”.
Speaking on behalf of the international participants, Mr. Rodrigo Abdon from Brazil described the festival as awesome representation of the African rich cultural heritage.
“What I see here today has further represented the economic potentials of the enviable Yoruba cultural heritage and Africa at large. I see arts, I see dance, I see music, I see paintings and many others like we have in Brazil. The people are also receptive, very accommodating and it shows the good nature of the land. We are really feeling at home”Mr. Rodrigo noted.
The traditional rulers who graced the epoch cultural event are; Alapomu of Apomu, Oba Adenekan Afolabi, Ajero of Ijero-Ekiti, Oba Joseph Adewole, Olugbon of Ile-Igbon, Oba Olusola Alao, Onigogo of Igogo-Ekiti, Oba Sunday Adewumi, Elerinmo of Erinmo-Ijesa, Oba Michael Ajayi, Onigbaye of Igbaye, Oba Morounfoye Okunola, Olubogun of Ibogun-Ifo, Oba Fakayode Faluade, Aragberi of Oragberi, Oba Funso Makanju, Oloba of Oba-Ile, Oba Adekunle Oyeyemi, Eburu of Iba, Oba Adeogun Ogunoye, Onitetiku of Owode-Ota, Oba Wasiu Ogungbayi, Asoya of Ile-Isoya, Oba Muraina Adedini, Obalufe of Iremo-Ife, Oba Idowu Adediwura and a host of others.
The former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Consular General of Brazilian Embassy in Nigeria, Helge’s Samuel Bandeira, several traditional rulers and Nollywood stars including Adewale Eleso, Iya Rainbow, Lanre Hassan(Iya Awero) and Saheed Balogun others dignitaries witnessed the event while the Apala music maestro, Musiliu Haruna Isola thrilled the guests.