By Dapo Akinrefon
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on Sunday, urged indigenes of the town resident in Lagos to return home and bring about the development to Ile Ife saying there are untapped potentials in the town.
He spoke at a summit of all Ife sons and daughters in Lagos and environs which was held at the Metropolitan Club, Victoria Island in Lagos.
The summit was themed: Ife development agenda: Issues, aims and strategy for development.
Oba Ogunwusi, who noted that there are untapped potentials in Ile Ife, urged indigenes of the town to return home to tap into the potentials.
He said: “If we do not meet regularly like this, where do we want to place Ife in the scheme of things?
“I want to urge you to meet regularly, we need to know ourselves, rub minds and bring about development of Ife. I want us to know that Ife is making progress, those of you resident in Lagos need to return home and ensure there is development in Ile Ife.
“A lot of people do not know that there are investment opportunities in Ifr and that is why I urge you all to return home and invest in Ife.
I am also happy to inform you that we now have made in Ife products like the adire attire. It is a big business opportunity in Ife; we also have tourism potentials in Life which must be tapped into and that is why I want to urge those of you making headway in Lagos to return home.”
Delivering a paper titled: The place of Ife in the scheme of contemporary Yoruba/Nigeria affairs, the guest speaker, Professor Adisa Ogunfolakan, urged Ife indigenes to return home and help the town bring about development and progress.
It’s a watershed movement–Awogbade
Earlier in his welcome address, chairman of the Organising Committee for the summit, Mr Soji Awogbade described the summit as historic and a watershed movement.
Awogbade said: “Some say this event is historic, I agree with them. Others say it is a landmark, I agree with them also, in my humble view, it is a watershed movement.
“By tradition and hallowed, the Ooni of Ife seldom went to meet people even his people. All roads lead to the Aafin and everybody, high and low had to make their way there and if granted audience, saw the Ooni.
“So, that the Ooni has come today to meet his son’s and daughters in Lagos, in the modest setting of this hall, is in my humble view a watershed movement of its own. Another watershed element is the fact that some elders in their wisdom, conceived this idea that it is high time Ifes got together at a summit to deliberate on the affairs of our fatherland. Let me not be understood to mean that this is the first time something like this has ever happened, it is not.
“However, it is the first time the initiative has come to assemble under the auspices of the throne to a collegiate setting, to collectively device a plan, the implementation of which, will not only lead to the development but by the same token, forge unity among all Ifes wherever they may find themselves.”
Ife indigenes must be united– Aderemi
Also, in his keynote address, Prince Aderounmu Aderemi said: “From a long time back, I have ruminated on what keeps Ife away from it’s rightful place in Yorubaland and Nigeria in general. I have concluded that it is not politics, not religion and not even lack of economic resources. My further insight based on discussions with our son’s and daughters both at home and elsewhere, has led me to the conclusion that the problem is that most of the time, the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.
“So while like other metropolis we have age grade groups, town associations, clubs and other such organisations, there is no aggregation of Ife centrally charged with thinking for life, looking out for Life, protecting our interest and building internal structures for effective participation and contribution. It appears we have left it all to the Ooni’s palace.”
“That is why today’s gathering is exclusively for Ifes. When we are ready, we will invite our development partners to join us, we will also call on resources outside our domain as deemed necessary”, he added.
Those present at the summit are Senator Iyioola Omisore, President of Ife Development Board, Laurence Awowoyin; Obalufe of Ife, Oba Idowu Adediwura; Managing Director of Ecobank, Mr Patrick Akinwuntan; General Manager, Editor-in-chief of Vanguard Media limited, Mr Gbenga Adefaye; former Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Dr Qasim Akinreti; Chief Alex Duduyemi, Mr Popoola Omisore, Mrs Sola Ibidapo-Obe, Professor Abiola Sanni, chairman Ogun-Osun River Basin, Mr Sola Lawal; former Information Commissioner for Lagos State, Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan; chairman, Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, Mr Akintoye Hassan.