By Samuel Adegoke
At a colloquium held on Zoom on Saturday, the unique contributions of the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Adesoji Aderemi, to regional and national development were highlighted.
Historians, other scholars, traditional rulers, researchers, journalists, students as well as politics and culture enthusiasts recalled the great virtues of the late monarch at the colloquium marking the 40th anniversary of his death.
The programme, which also had Aderemi’s children, grand children and great grand children in attendance, saw the current Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi and five history professors, among others extol the virtues of the late traditional ruler.
Themed Ooni Adesoji Aderemi, the Philosopher King: 40 Years After, speakers recalled the great attributes that marked Aderemi out and which helped him succeed as a foremost monarch, political leader, bridge-builder and development champion.
The colloquium was organized by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission as part of its Yoruba Historical Conversation series. Its Director General, Mr Seye Oyeleye, said the conversation was established to highlight the greatness of Yoruba to enable young Yoruba connect the past with the present and better understand their great heritage.
Oba Aderemi was already a successful career and business man before mounting the throne as Ooni
He was the first thoroughly educated Ooni
He rebuilt Ile-Ife from the ruins of intra-Yoruba wars
He co-founded the Egbe Omo Oduduwa in England
He supported the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo to emerge as the union’s president
He led the Nigerian delegation to attend first conference in England
He resigned as minister after seeing that Britain was not willing to grant Nigeria independence as expected
He facilitated the establishment of the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in Ile-Ife.
He rallied Yoruba obas for unity and development
He established a newspaper in 1947 and which partly gave rise to the Nigerian Tribune in 1948.
He possessed amazing capacity to manage crises as demonstrated in all the traditional and political crises witnessed in Yoruba land during his tenure
He led the Nigerian delegation to London for the enthronement of Queen Elizabeth II
He personally supported the establishment of Oduduwa College in 1932, one of the oldest secondary schools in Yoruba land
He supported the establishment of Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Ile-Ife in 1944.
He donated Ife Museum to the government after his collection of rich artifacts about Yoruba and other Africans.
For rebuilding Ife to a modern town, Awolowo called him a radical traditionalist and an exceptional monarch
His deeds and virtues should be well documented for new monarchs to be aware of the responsibilities attached to their throne.
He should be immortalised.