With the rate we are going on the search for a credible prince to be crowned Ooni of Ife, maybe all that we needed is a well-informed prince.
I will suggest a local champion.
One do not have to live all their live in town to be a champion for local people, but if the prince is homegrown so be it, here a prince who genuinely love people and capable of earning the title bestowed upon him matters the most.
I am well aware of our obsession with all thing international, however being a local king shouldn’t require one to be of national or international repute. I am not sure why Prince Aderemi think being a good-hearted local prince isn’t enough to becoming a superb king that everyone would love and genuinely respect.
According to Prince Aderounmu Aderemi, the next Ooni of Ife:
“…should not be a local player alone. He should be an international and national player. He should add more values to the stool of Oduduwa by making Ife to become a great city, if not the greatest in Nigeria.”
Why Ooni need not be an international player:
Being an Ooni comes with many privileges. To begin with it is the place that many people home and overseas believed Yoruba people originated from so without making any effort at all people would naturally be curious about Ile Ife, their interests will grow as they read more about lives of local people. What would motivate them to visit is hearing good news from the cradle in terms of development and all round peaceful coexistence.
On being a national player:
We already have too many elected official for these roles. A king need not dabble in politics. We have too many examples for the last 35 years of the last king, if Ife people benefitted from the last king’s national reputation, Ife-Ibadan road wouldn’t be in its current state.
Here is an example of how a national king thinks, Ooni Okunade Sijuade at a Lead City university event sharing his thoughts on Nigeria private versus government education.
“this is my first time at the Lead City and with what I saw here today it is better for our children to attend private university than government own university. I can say with all emphasis that Lead City University is better than many of the government owned universities around. I am very proud of the university.” Ooni Okunade Sijuade.
The problem here is that if Oba Okunade had spent any time at all to be a local king, he would know that most of Ile Ife people today could not afford to spend 500k naira per annum to send their children to a private university – the disconnectedness from reality of everyday townspeople is uncanny.
People deserve an Ooni who can re-establish trust amongst his people (hopefully one day we will have another ‘she’). An honourable prince who is not afraid to kick sand with his feet and visit all the villages under his domain and takes pride in connecting with other Yoruba Obas for important meetings such as preservation of language and culture.
Please ditch the national and international reputation mindset – the most important honour comes from the local people.
As we say in Yoruba, Ile la ti k’eso r’ode (charity begins at home).