By Goke Butika
"Agiigbo drum out-rhymes in proverbs, the wise men master its dance, the discerning follows the coded message"---Yoruba proverb.
Just as I was thinking that, it is a settled matter that my generation has run into turbulent storm of degeneration, where nothing spectacular could happen again, particularly in tradition ad leadership, because the concept of globalization has eroded all conservative values, especially with the technological revolution, the emergence of this great man who assumed royalty with unassuming posture into the revered stool of the foremost monarchy of the Yoruba nation, Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi, The Ojaja 11, appears to have brimmed hope at a time when forlorn hope is prevailing.
Let it be known that I am a student of Gani Fawehinmi's philosophical school, which mandates me to keep quiet when a leader is doing what is expected of him, because that is what is selected or elected to do, but when a leader misbehaves or arrogates ubiquitous power to himself, I am mandated as a writer to shout on top of the roof, though with a caveat; if we cannot expose such a leader now, certainly later, for a good writer is never in a hurry to rush into judgment.
Despite the manifestations of human failings of the immediate past Ooni Okunade Sijuwade who is now with his ancestors, I must own up that I secretly admired the candor, carriage and charisma of his majesty; for he had money, sprawling influence and political cum traditional power which made some monarchs abroad shivered each time he sneezed and I was awed, because Ile Ife, as a cradle of Yoruba civilization has always been lucky to have icons as kings.
Oranmiyan (gbajure!) who once reigned in Ile Ife after his father, Oduduwa had gone to answer the clarion call of Eledumare, was so great that he held court in Benin Kingdom, before he returned to Ile Ife again as Ooni. He had sprawling influence, exoteric power and traditional reverence.
Furthermore, Ooni Adesoji Aderemi, the former governor of Western region had power, sprawling influence and traditional command. He bestrode the political space of the 50s like a colossus that he was, and his progressive feat in Ile Ife and Yoruba land is still a reference point for the students of history. When he returned to the land of silent fathers, apology to Ola Rotimi, he was succeeded by another man with business acumen with sprawling influence, Ooni Sijuwade.
When Ooni Sijywade was calling the shot at Aafin Oodua, he was so foremost that he became a first mention among other traditional rulers, and his influence was so awesome that the entire political and business leaders were falling over themselves to gain his attention. He lived royalty, he ate royalty, and slept as royalty, and he was so commandeering that he displayed royalty everywhere he went in this planet. So. When he ate "ekuru" with his oracles, some bookmakers expressed doubt on the emergence of another king with the same courage, influence, power and pedigree. I even thought that the dynasty of strength and power Oranmiyan bequeathed had come to a close. Alas! The ascendancy of Ooni Ogunwusi has not only put the doubt off, but affirmed the blend of tradition with modernity. Behold the emergence of a young, dynamic, wise, powerful and wealthy Ooni who takes the rich tradition of the Yoruba race to the world stage! And yours truly is still bewildered at the global value this monarch with divine aura has attracted within a very short possible time.
Of course, there are first class traditional rulers in Nigeria, but Ooni Ogunwusi seems to be different, because he portrays the traits of a philosopher king. He give a new lease of life to culture, he rehabilitates the royal aides, and exposes them to the modernity; he deconstructs and reconstructs the Ile Oodua to the level of modern palace, he elevates immaculate white apparel with traditional fabric to a new fashion, and he retools the strength of the Ife Youth to farming and other meaningful engagements. What a distinguished Royalty!
Besides, when some roughnecks unleashed terror in his kingdom, he rose to the occasion, and accommodated the vulnerable Hausa people in his fortress; working with the state government and security agencies to nib the chaos in the bud, until normalcy returned. However, one thing distinguishes this Ooni, he storms any event both home and abroad with myth of oracle, but his humility is incomparable, and his compartment does not suggest his young age. Surely, this is one monarch with a majestic splendor.
The joy I have is that the youth have a shining model to look at in Ooni Ogunwusi, the monarch who ascended throne with youthful age, but powers the most revered stool with wisdom of a sage. And that tells me, this generation is not completely waste, because we have a ruler of exceptional qualities like Ooni Ogunwusi. I have never met him, and I do not plan to do so soon, but if there is one person who is following his lead, I think it is yours truly.