The ancient town of Ile Ife is considered an ancestral and spiritual home of Nigeria’s second-largest ethnic group, the Yoruba race. It is also the home of several generations of sacred kings whose political and religious authority remains significant in the lower Niger region. One of these kings is the recently-crowned Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi. The 47-year-old king is the traditional leader of Ile-Ife, which is a Nigerian town regarded as the place of origin of the Yoruba people. His era as king began in 2015 after the passing of the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, who died on July 28, 2015.
Since Ife is the cradle of the Yoruba race, the town features the highest religious center of the Yoruba people, and the Oba is considered the highest rank anyone could occupy. As the new Ooni of the Ife kingdom, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi’s influence in the political and religious activities of the region and the country at large cannot be overemphasized. To know more about the new Ooni of Ife, the facts below will keep you updated.
Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi is a Direct Descendant of Odùdùwà, the founder of the Yoruba Race
His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Babatunde Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II), was born on October 17, 1974, at precisely 13.00GMT. The royal blood is the third of seven children born to his father, Prince John Oluropo Ogunwusi, and his mother, Princess Margaret Wuraola Sidikatu Abegbe Ogunwusi. He belongs to the Royal House of Giesi, one of the four royal families of the House of Oranmiyan. He is a direct descendant of Ooni Agbedegbede, a descendant of Ooni Giesi (the progenitor of the Giesi royal House), and thus a descendant of Ọọni Lajodogun. It is also said that Lajodogun was a son to Ọọni Lajamisan, who was the grandson of Oranmiyan, the legendary founder of the Oyo Empire.
Oba Oranmiyan was a son or grandson of the first Ooni of Ife, Oduduwa; thus, Ọba Ọjájá II is a descendant of Odùdùwà, the founder of the Yoruba people. Oba Adeyeye’s birth was historical, and his birth years before he was conceived. Hence, he was named ‘Enitan’ (which in English translates to ‘A child of great story’) by his mother, while his grandfather called him ‘Adeyeye,’ which connotatively means ‘the crown befits the throne, where H.I.M is the crown personified.’ His paternal grandfather was Prince Joseph Olagbaju Adewole Ogunwusi, whose grandfather was Ọba Ọ̀ráyẹ̀gbà Ọjájá I, who was the 44th Ooni of Ife and ruled from 1878 to 1880.
Oba Adeyeye’s Father is Not A King
It is common knowledge that the Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Babatunde Enitan Ogunwusi hails from a royal family. However, it will come as a shock to know that his father was never a king, and he s still alive. Adeyeye’s father’s name is Prince Aderopo Ogunwusi. He was born in 1942 and will be celebrating his 80th birthday in March 2022. Nothing much is known about Prince Aderopo, except that he is a retired radio and television anchor and a well-respected figure in the royal house.
In March 2021, he celebrated his 35th marriage anniversary to his wife, Princess Margaret Wuraola Sidikatu Abegbe Ogunwusi, and together, they had seven children, including Oba Adeyeye, his third son. His other children include Adetunji Ogunwusi, Prince Adegboyega Ogunwusi, Abimbola Adegboyega Ogunwusi, Folusho Adepemi Princess Folasade Ogunwusi, and Folusho Adepemi.
He is a Chartered Accountant, Among Other Professions
Oba Adeyey started his primary education at Subuola Memorial Nursery and Primary School Ibadan and Ibadan District Council, Akobo, Ibadan. After elementary school, he proceeded to the prestigious Loyola College Ibadan and later to St. Peters Secondary School, Ile-Ife, where he bagged his secondary school leaving certificate (SSCE). Adeyeye obtained a Higher National Diploma in Accountancy from The Polytechnic Ibadan, where he had his tertiary education.
Outside his qualification as an accountant, the young prince is a real estate magnate. He decided to pursue his passion for business shortly after his school years, and for over twelve years, he delved into Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) locally and internationally. He was known to be actively involved in developing over 2,500 housing units with various business networks of developers. In Nigeria, he was MD/CEO of Gran Imperio Group (GIG), a formidable real estate consortium in Nigeria, and he helped to build strong trade relationships between the country and international bodies through the Association for International Business (AIB) with a presence in over 200 member countries across the world.
Prince Adeyeye reportedly led the team that developed the prestigious Lagos and was the brain behind the establishment of Essential Homes, a real estate product launched in January 2014. The product was formed to deliver affordable upscale homes to middle and low-income earners. Its first project, the South pointe Estate, Lafiaji Road, Lekki, Lagos State, started in February 2014. He also played a role in establishing the biggest lead and aluminum recycling plant set up in Nigeria by the National Steel Company of India in Ota, Ogun State.
H.I.M is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria(ICAN). He is also an Associate Accounting Technician, a Certified member of the Institute of Directors (IoD), and a member of the Global Real Estate Institute (GRI). He has overseen the real estate developments for several monarchs, and he holds a handful of honorary Doctorate Degrees, including Public Administration and Law from the University of Nigeria Nsukka and Igbinedion University. Currently, the Oba is the Chancellor at the University of Nigeria Nsukka.
His Selection as the New Ooni Of Ife
The coronation of Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi did not come easy. As a prince from the Giesi Family whose turn it was to produce a king, he contested the seat with 21 contenders, including his own elder brother, Adetunji. History has it that the last descendant of Geisi Ruling House, which occupied the position, was Ooni Derin Ologbenla, who reigned from 1880-1894. So, after the passing of the Oba Okuinade Sijuwade and his burial rites completed, 16 kingmakers in Ife set the machinery in place to select the new Ooni of Ife.
The kingmakers were determined to ensure the emergence of the 51st Ooni of Ife without delay as the culture of Ile-Ife is against leaving the Ooni stool vacant for an extended period. Following the advice of the Osun State government under the leadership of Ogbeni Raufu Adesoji Aregbesola, the kingmakers agreed that the next ruling house that would produce the next Ooni of Ife should be one of the four ruling houses- Ogboru, Giesi, Lafogido, and Osinkola. After much consultations in line with the resolutions on the 1979 and 1980 Ife Chieftaincy Declaration, which spell out the rotational ascendancy to the throne among the four ruling houses, the kingmakers announced the Giesi family was picked.
Three months after Oba Sijuwade was laid to rest, the kingmakers could not produce the next king because members of the Giesi disputed over Ife Chieftaincy Declaration. Also was the death of the second in command to the Ooni, Chief Folorunso Omisakin, who was also the Obalufe of Ife and a principal kingmaker. While dealing with the setbacks, the kingmakers were able to set out the essential qualifications for the interested Princes. Some of the requirements include humility, integrity, generosity, and willingness to listen to advice and take counsel.
Of the 21 candidates interested in the throne, only 13 were screened by a committee set by the ruling house. The names of the successfully screened candidates are Soji Fadehean, Aderemi Adelowo, Adetunji Ogunwusi, Soji Ologbenla, princes Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Olugbenga Ologbenla, Kolajo Adegbinrin, Taiwo Ogunleye, Ademola Adebiyi, Adewale Muritala, Adegboyegba Adelowo, Adediran Kolajo, and Adegboyega Adedire. After much legal tussle between the kingmakers, the Giesi family, and the contenders, including APC’s candidate Prince Sikiru Ayedun and Adeyeye’s elder brother Adetunji Ogunwusi who felt cheated by his brother’s choice to contest for the throne with him.
The Coronation Proper
After fulfilling all processes for the exalted stool, he was crowned king-elect on October 26, 2015, by Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Raufu Adesoji Aregbesola. He received his Staff of Office from the Governor on Monday, December 7, 2015, at Enuwa Square, Ile-Ife, in the presence of several dignitaries from all walks of life, including the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
The coronation ceremony of a new Ooni of Ife goes on for about 30 days, with the new king starting his journey from Monatan in the Ibadan house of an elder of Giesi Ruling House, accompanied by his friends and close relations to Ife. At Asejire boundary of Osun and Oyo States, he was then received by members of Giesi Ruling House. They had another stopover at Sasa River, located at the border of Ife and Ibadan, where he performed the first traditional rite.
Arriving at the toll gate, Prince Ogunwusi greeted his father, Pa Ropo Ogunwusi, after which he was led by Prof. Adekanye Aderibigbe to the high chiefs led by Lowa Adimula, Oba Joseph Ijaodola, etc. He later proceeded to Obalufe of Iremo’s palace, where he observed spiritual feet washing. Some moments afterward, he moved to his family compound in the Agbedegbede area, where he was installed as Sooko of Giesi to fulfill Ife tradition.
After his installation as Sooko, which was witnessed by the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and Otunba Oyewole Fashawe, among others, Ogunwusi proceeded to Igbo Oro, where more traditional rites were performed. He ended the day at Ilofi, where he began another traditional rite that would last for 21 days before being installed with the Obadio, the leader of the Isoro cult, taking charge of his rites of installation.
The final day of the coronation ceremony was witnessed by thousands of dignitaries both in Nigeria and beyond. The Oba, who was decked in white lace material with purple cap and beads, continuously acknowledged cheers from the excited crowd, who had trooped out to catch a glimpse of him. H.I.M was on December 7, 2015, received at Ajebanbele, Ife toll gate of Ife/Ibadan expressway and was led to the coronation venue where the ceremony of formal hand over by his family to the palace chiefs was performed.
His Achievement As Ooni of Ife
Years after his coronation, the reign of His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Babatunde Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II), has been marked by many modern and progressive outlooks and policies, and, of course, some controversies too. One of the most significant controversies involving the king is the supremacy tussle between him and Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom, Oba Obateru Akinruntan, over the origin of Oduduwa, the so-called progenitor of Yoruba people, and which throne is the monarchical seat of power in Yorubaland.
The Oba, however, chose to quell the controversy by describing it as a cheap way to gain publicity. Aside from controversies, the Ooni of Ife has been applauded for his contributions to the growth and progress of Nigeria and the Nigerian youths. His Achievements so far can be recognized in the following areas:
Ending The long-time Rift Beween Oyo and Osun
One of the major achievements of the new Oon is his ability to forestall peace among the Yoruba nation, especially the long-time rift between Osun and Oyo. The new king said one of his visions is to bring Yorùbás together under a peaceful and prosperous reign. To achieve this, Ogunwusi reunited with the Alaafin of Oyo and ignited a new lease within the Yoruba States, thus, breaking the jinx of institutionalized discord between the thrones. He has also received awards for his ability to call for peace and unity across the Yoruba nation.
Re-uniting the custodians of heritage and tradition in Africa
For one who has experienced cultural diversities amid western influence, the Ooni of Ife is a promoter of African, Nigerian, and Yoruba culture through tourism. To this effect, he has made efforts to promote the tourism sector, starting with the ancient Ife, the cradle and ancestral home of the Yoruba people. At the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, the oba spoke to curators about various artifacts, including an ancient Yoruba crown that has been donated to the museum with little or no accompanying information. He came up with an initiative that supports that the foreign museums use or display all ancient artifacts and antiquities belonging to Africa on behalf of the continent. This initiative would help these artifacts and antiquities reunite with their original homes.
The Ground to Glory Millionaires, “G 2 G Millionaires” Initiative
While recounting his five-year reign as Ooni in 2020, H.I.M revealed his plans to empower 50 Nigerian youths through his Royal African Young Leadership Forum (RAYLF). Tagged Ground to Glory Millionaires, “G 2 G Millionaires”, the king’s initiative would see 50 Nigerian youths with great business ideas or initiatives receive funding collated via the Ooni of Ife Global Outreach (OIGO)
A Peek Into the Private Life of the Ooni of Ife
For someone with so much popularity in the country ad beyond, questions about Ooni of Ife’s private life are bound to draw attention. Of course, his love life has not been devoid of controversies. The king has so far been married thrice. However, some of his Oloris are no longer with him.
Ọba Ògúnwùsì had his first marriage in 2008, to a woman named Adebisi Adebukunola Bombata (also known as Bukola or Bukky). Although nothing much is known about the young Olori, reports from the palace point out some issues, among which s her inability to bear children. A typical African tradition puts lots of value on childbearing. Children strengthen a marriage, and they are known to provide continuity of the family lineage and the community, especially the male ones. For the beautiful Olori, her failure to make this happen for someone as high as the Oba would be one of the many reasons for their strained relationship and possibly the reason why she could not be the official queen for His Imperial Majesty.
There were also claims that Buki is not on good terms with Ọba Ògúnwùsì because she is unable to build a cordial relationship with the king’s first daughter. Olori Bukky was present at the coronation ceremony of her husband, but she reportedly left the palace for the United Kingdom shortly after the coronation. The exit of Oloori Bukola Ogunwusi from the Ile-Ife palace gave many women the opportunity to prey on Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi. However, considering his status, the king is expected to abide by the rules guiding his throne, one of which is that he cannot marry a woman who has birthed a child. To this effect, he could not settle down with a certain woman named Bimbo Oduyemi, based in Canada.
The Yoruba woman who reportedly has two children is the Oba’s mistress, whom he met during his college years. The two have been together for many years, and she even played a role in the rift between the king and Olori Bukky. On March 16, 2016, Oba Ògúnwùsì took another wife named Wuraola Itohan Sonia Otiti Zainab Obanor, the daughter of William Obanor from Igun N’ Eromwon, the Benin Bronze Casters family. It was an elaborate traditional marriage, which was held in Benin, the Edo State capital. Although the king was not physically present, his father, Oluropo Ogunwusi, represented him. The wedding reception followed at the palace in Ile-Ife, with the monarch saying then when he took her for a wife that she was the choice of the gods.
However, in August 2017, information was rife that his marriage with Olori Wuraola had ended under vague circumstances. Following a slight uproar on social media, the now ex-wife of the Ooni came out to affirm that the marriage had indeed ended. Taking to her Instagram handle, she added that she had moved on with her life and would continue her work as a humanitarian.
Amid the relationship fallout between the king and his first two wives, Oba Adeyeye found love again, this time, with a beautiful woman from the city of Benin. The Oba revealed his new wife, Prophetess Morenike Naomi Oluwaseyi, in October 2018. The new queen was born on April 15, 1993, and she started public ministry at the age of eighteen. She founded En-Heralds, an interdenominational ministry based in Akure, Ondo State, and by 2011, she was already famous as a full-time evangelist. Prophetess Morenike is one of the three children born to her parents Mr. Kehinde and Pastor Funmilayo Grace Oluwaseyi.
In his statement, while revealing his new bride, Ooni said he chose her for a wife because of the fear of God in her. He reportedly met her when she visited one of his resorts in Ile Ife. Palace sources say she may have visited the area for a spiritual rejuvenation exercise where she eventually met a prominent woman of God from the United Kingdom, who later introduced her to the king. Naomi, like her predecessors, went through some traditional rites, like the blood cleansing before she was allowed entrance to the palace. As the new queen, her name is now Yeyeluwa, Olori Silekunola Naomi Ogunwusi.
How Many Children Does the King Have?
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ọjájá II), has two children – a daughter and a son. He had his first child, a daughter, Adeola Aanuoluwapo Ogunwusi, at the age of 19. The princess grew up in Ibadan, and she went to AUN – the American University of Nigeria in Yola for a year before moving to the UK, where he studied at the University College London.
The king’s second child was born on Wednesday, November 18, 2020. The baby boy’s arrival was announced by the chief press secretary to the monarch, Moses Olafare, in a statement that says Olori Silekunola Naomi Ogunwusi birthed a prince to the royal throne of Oduduwa. On November 26 of the same year, a naming ceremony was performed for the young prince named Adesoji Aderemi. While the young prince’s future is unknown, we know for sure that his arrival will strengthen the bond between the king and his wife.