By Gbenga Olarinoye
OSOGBO—THE Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, on Monday, led thousands of Ife indigenes, market men and women, financial experts and business tycoons across the country to celebrate the 2019 edition of Aje festival.
Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi
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Speaking at the event in his Ile Oodua palace, Ile-Ife, Ooni Ogunwusi explained that Aje is a deity in charge of wealth and economic prosperity, adding that it has a great positive influence on the world’s economy.
According to the foremost African traditional monarch, the first trade and commerce in the world started at the popular Igbo-mekun (Ojaife) market in Ile Ife, stressing that the role played by the Igbo people of the present day Eastern part of the country in the development of market activities cannot be over emphasized.
His words: “We must go back to our history; this celebration belongs to all, including our brothers and sisters from the eastern part of this country. Igbo people are naturally part of this celebration, because Nigeria’s economy won’t be complete without emphatically mentioning them.
“In the ancient days, the Igbos were part of the natives in Ile Ife from Omirin quarters, we were one big happy family before they left for the east where they are today from where a section of them left in a clockwise migration to become Jews, that’s why there are enormous similarities between the Jewish and Igbo tribes till date.”
He, however, frowned at the notion that Igbo people migrated from the Jews, saying unlike the erroneous perspectives that they were from the Jews, the correct notion is that the Jews left Igbo land for their current location in Ethiopia, Israel and around the world.
On the forthcoming general elections, Ooni Ogunwusi, who is the Co-chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, admonished that only a peaceful election can guarantee wealth and prosperity.
He urged the electoral umpire and other stakeholders to ensure free, fair and credible polls for the stability of the country.
In the same vein, the Iyaloja General of Nigeria, Chief Mrs. Folashade Tinubu-Ojo explained that Aje is one of the most powerful among all Yoruba deities, particularly its economic potentials.
Mrs. Tinubu-Ojo, who expressed her deep belief in the celebration, assured Nigerians that the country’s economy would receive a boost soonest. She advised all and sundry to promote the prestigious Yoruba cultural traditional heritage.
The Coordinator of Aje Annual Festival, Princess Toyin Kolade expressed delight at the impressive turnout of participants at this year’s edition, saying people all over the world are beginning to appreciate cultural tourism revolution embarked upon by the Ooni of Ife as an instrument for economic advancement.
Princess Kolade said: “I am so elated with this turnout today, it shows that our people really appreciate the Arole Oodua Ooni of Ife who has stopped at nothing in his quest to socio-economically liberate the society through his cultural tourism revolution.
“If the government can join him by investing heavily in the tourism sector, the whole world will always see Nigeria as a pilgrimage destination which will in return grow our national income as a country.”