By Toby Prince
Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, has described the Yoruba people of Southwest and their Igbo counterparts in the Southeast as two inseparable African races.
He restated this when he played host to HRH Igwe Cyprian Mmaduabuchi Nevobasi, Ezeani III of Mmaku Kingdom in Enugu State, and other prominent Igbo leaders at his palace in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
According to him, if united as a family and with other tribes, the two races will form a formidable bloc as a catalyst towards building a unified Nigeria and Africa.
Welcoming his visitors, the co-chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) stressed the need for the Southeast and Southwest to cement their togetherness in Nigeria.
He said: “We need to cement our togetherness in this country because without the coming together of the Igbo and Yoruba natives, it will be very difficult for Nigeria and the entire continent of Africa to progress. We are the real embodiment of the black people and the continent of Africa is looking up to us.
“Handshake across the Niger like this is very important because we belong to the same family. So we should not separate ourselves the more. Let us look into things that bind us together like our rich cultures and traditions.
“We want to tell you today that we are now directly associating from the Kingdom of Ife to the entire Mmakun Kingdom in Igboland and Your Royal Highness has cemented that good relationship with this visit.”
Igwe Mmadubuchi had, in his speech, described the Ooni as a symbol of unity, saying he was thrilled by his provision of veritable road map for social integration, cultural interface, engagements and healing wounds.
His words: “Your Imperial Majesty, the Ooni, I commend your courage and candour for championing this strategic initiative on behalf of other traditional rulers. As I earlier said, it is because as custodiana of the tradition and culture of the people, we are expected to be in the vanguard of ensuring national unity.
“I am loyal to your Imperial Majesty and I am here to assure you that you have found your missing ribs in the Southeast. I have seen with my eyes that you are a moving train; you have proven to our nation that you are a great leader we can trust and we are following you.”
The Ooni appreciated the philanthropy and leadership of the Mmaku king, especially towards the poor, oppressed and the downtrodden in Enugu and beyond, since he ascended the throne some 20 years ago. “I am proud to associate with you after hearing so much about you and I am so happy that we eventually met.”