By Gbenga Olarinoye, Osogbo
Following the mixed reactions that trailed his declaration about the age-long relationship between the Yoruba natives and the Igbo of South Eastern Nigeria, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has tasked historians to deepen their research on African history.
The spiritual leader of Yoruba race worldwide made the call while playing host to a prominent Igbo monarch, His Majesty, Eze Chukwuemeka Eri, Ezeora 34th, Aka Ji Ovo Igbo, Enugwu Aguleri, Anambra State.
Ooni Ogunwusi who is the Co-chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria explained that the Igbo of South Eastern Nigeria globally known for economic prowess have identical culture with their Yoruba counterparts in the South Western part of the country.
The monarch frowned at the frictions between ethnic divisions across Africa saying unity is needed for the required progress in the continent.
“Africa must unite for peace and progress across board; I am sure that if Igbo people and their Yoruba brothers come together, Africa will unite.
“I am so happy to receive you all and I must say that today is one of my happiest moments on the throne, I feel proud of you on your achievements within the last 42 years on the throne of your ancestors.
“I have been having sleepless nights because my ancestors have been visiting me that black race must unite. This coincided with my mandate of peace and unity that I have preached around the globe. No race should be left behind,” Ooni said.
He added that, “your Eri kingdom is one of the oldest kingdoms in Igboland. We Yoruba have strong ties with Igbos because no Igbo man can do without kolanut which only grows in Yorubaland, we must therefore relate together as members of the same family, this is the best way we can enjoy lasting peaceful coexistence as Nigerians.
“Ile-Ife is your home and you are always welcome. We, in Ife are only the custodians of the great family worldwide because all the citizens of the world migrated from Ife.”
Earlier in his speech titled: “Royal Handshake Across The Niger,” Eze Chukwuemeka Eri appreciated the roles played by Ooni by opening relationship between the Yoruba and Igbos. He urged him not to rest on his oars till unity is achieved by all races in Africa.
The Igbo monarch, accompanied by the Onu-Oja II of Owelle Kingdom, Igwe Anthony Onyekwere said that his visit was necessitated by the Ooni’s comments during the last Aje Festival celebration, especially on the relationship between Igbos and Yorubas, imploring the historians from both sides to dig deep and cement the relationship between the two tribes.