The Osun State Government has unveiled a new Ooni of Ife.
He is Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, a 40-year old real estate magnate and prince from the Giesi Ruling House in the town.
He becomes the 51st Ooni of Ife.
The Secretary to the Osun State Government said the selection of the new Ooni followed the completion of all processes for the filling of the exalted stool.
Mr. Ogunwusi was selected from 21 candidates presented by the Giesi ruling house for the exalted stool.
The statement, made available to newsmen Monday on morning, said, “The Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola has approved the appointment of a new Ooni of Ife.
“He is Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi of Giesi Ruling House of Ile-Ife, State of Osun.
“This choice follows the completion of the due process by the kingmakers and the communication of their decision to Government.”
The announcement of a new traditional ruler for the ancient town came 89 days after the death of Oba Okunade Sijuwade at a London clinic.
Mr. Sijuwade passed on after a brief illness on July 28, although Ile-Ife chiefs only confirmed his death on August 10.
Who is Adeyeye Ogunwusi?
Born 40 years ago into the family of John Oluropo Ogunwusi from the famous Ojaja Lineage of the Giesi ruling house of the Agbedegbede Quarters in Ile-Ife, Prince Ogunwusi’s mother, Margaret Wuraola Sidikatu Abegbe Ogunwusi, was born into the family of Soji-Opa, a prominent Cocoa merchant in Ile-Ife.
Mr. Ogunwusi attended The Polytechnic, Ibadan, where he obtained a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Accountancy.
After school, he grew rapidly in business, becoming a successful real estate merchant.
His bio on the website of Imperial Homes Mortgage Bank Limited (a subsidiary of GTBank) on which board he sits as non executive director, reads, “Mr. Ogunwusi is a graduate of Accountancy and a certified member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and of the Institute of Management.
“He has been involved in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts locally and abroad for over 11 years.
“He was involved in the development of the Northern Foreshore Estate, Cityscape International Limited’s Buena Vista project in Lekki, Primewaterview Limited’s projects, Westcom Limited’s projects, and the Ajaokuta Steel’s and Delta Steel’s resuscitation projects
“Adeyeye (Ogunwusi) is currently the Managing Director of Howard Roark Gardens Limited which is undertaking multi-million naira Jacob Mews Estate project in Yaba and the Lakeview real estate development in Lekki.”
To become Ooni, Mr. Ogunwusi defeated 20 other contenders, including his 48-year old real estate- magnate brother, Adetunji, the Group Chairman of Primewaterview Holdings (comprising of Primewaterview Limited and PWV Management Services).
The emergence of Mr. Ogunwusi as Ooni was not without controversy.
No sooner had the search for the successor to Oba Sijuwade began than some ruling houses in the town started bickering over whose turn it was to produce the next king for the ancient city.
Although it appeared settled that the Giesi house would produce the next Ooni, being next to the Ogboru ruling house in the succession order established by government declaration on the Ooni chieftaincy title of 1977, the Ogboru rand Lafogido ruling houses challenged the decision of the kingmakers to restrict the search to Giesi .
The Ogboru family contended that the Giesi ruling lineage should blame itself for conceding its turn to produce an Ooni to the late Oba Sijuwade, saying the concession to the late king was to him as an individual and not to the Ogboru clan as a whole.
Two members of the Lafogido Ruling House also sued Governor Aregbesola, the Obalufe of Ile-Ife, the late Oba Solomon Omisakin and Lowa of Ife, Joseph Ijaodola at an Osun State High Court over the decision to allow only the Giesi Ruling House present candidates for the stool.
They asked the court to nullify the 1980 Ife Chieftaincy Declaration, saying it was “lopsided, unjust, unconstitutional and unfair.”
The court dismissed the suit, paving the way for the selection of Mr. Ogunwusi as Ooni.
There are four ruling houses in Ile-Ife – Lafogido, Giesi, Ogboru, and Oshikola.
Oba Sijuwade, who reigned between 1980 and 2015, is of the Ogboru royal lineage.
Before Mr. Ogunwusi’s appointment, Monday, the last descendant of the Giesi ruling house that occupied the position was Ooni Derin Ologbenla and that was between 1880 and 1894.
The other royal houses have also taken turns to produce Obas for the ancient town at various times.
The Ogboru lineage produced Oba Adelekan Olubuse I, who reigned between 1894 and 1910, with the Lafogido ruling house producing his successor, Oba Ademuluyi Ajagu (1910-1930).
Oba Sijuwade’s predecessor, Adesoji Aderemi, who reigned between 1930 and 1980, came from the Oshikola ruling house.