The Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi II on Saturday played host to the Oba of Benin, Uku Apolopolo, Oba Ewuare II at his Ile Oodua Palace in Ife where the best of traditions and culture of Benin and Ile Ife Kingdoms were admirably put on display.
From music to appearance of palace messengers, it was clear that Ife and Benin Kingdoms have alot in common, even as various cultural troupes from Ile Ife and Benin added colour to the historical visit.
In his address, Oba Ewuare, averred that the visit to Ife was to foster better understanding between the two kingdoms, even as he called for emphasis on what unites the Ife and Benin Kingdoms and prayed in the name of Oranmiyan long life and prosperity for the Ooni.
“I feel very much at home here in Ile-Ife, I pray that the spirit of our father Oranmiyan will always be with you as you manage this very sacred throne of Oduduwa very admirably” he said.
Ooni Ogunwusi who at the occasion presented gift of artifact showcasing hunting as the traditional profession of the descendants of Oduduwa declared that Ife and Benin Kingdoms belong to the same family, adding that gains of the visit would be built upon, to foster more cordial relationship between the two kingdoms.
Ooni said: “If not for the time constraint, I would have loved us to visit where Oranmiyan was buried. He the world’s foremost hunter and that’s what this artifact represents. He was a Prince of Ile-Ife who went to be the first king of Benin, he went to become the first king of Oyo and came back to become the sixth King of Ile Ife, where he died and was buried.
“This visit will be used to solidify our relationship. Ife will continue to protect what belongs to us as people of similar heritage. I thank you for keeping Benin culture and tradition intact. Without culture, we can’t grow as a nation.”
Speaking further, Oba Ewuare commended President Muhammadu Buhari for giving good attention to security challenges facing the country, but expressed concern about incessant attacks by killer herdsmen as well as illegal migration, human trafficking, kidnapping and armed robbery, in the country. He urged President Buhari to do more in tackling the issues to ensure peaceful coexistence among Nigerians of various ethnic background and beliefs.
Reacting to Oba Ewuare’s remark on insecurity the Ooni said royal fathers must give more assistance to the political leaders in tackling security infractions across the country.
He added that community policing should be adopted with royal fathers playing a prominent role, using their subjects to monitor their domain.
The two monarchs later visited “orun oba ado”, in order to pay homage to all Benin kings believed to have been buried in the place, the culture that only ceased in about hundred years ago, when the practice was stopped.
Prominent traditional rulers and notable indigenes of Ife, who joined the Ooni to receive the Benin monarch are the Orangun of Ila, Oba Wahab Oyedotun, Alara of Ilaramoko Ekiti, other traditional rulers, Former Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Isola Awotorebo, Former Nigerian Ambassador to Cuba, Senator Segun Bamigbetan Baju, Obasewa of Ife, Chief John Odeyemi, Hon. Rotimi Makinde and a host of others.
The Oba of Benin visit is coming thirty seven years after the last visit of an Oba of Benin. Late Oba Of Benin Oba Ereduiwa visited Ooni Okunade Sijuwade in Ile-Ife in 1981. They also visited same Orunobado and Oranmiyan shrine.
Ooni Ogunwusi later led his guests and his entourage to the Government house in Osogbo to be hosted to a dinner reception by the Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.