Traditional rulers in Africa are no doubt an embodiment of grace personified. They never walk alone like the slogan of the popular English Premier League side and of course, their roles as the custodian of culture gives them a social status that enables them to flaunt regalia and decorate themselves with women as if they were commodities. In the 21st century, the splendour symbol associated with our traditional institutions has not only relegated it to mere ceremonial platforms where individual roles are ascribed rather than attained. More importantly, the politicization of the traditional institution and its tendency to be manipulated by ‘brown envelopes’ is an anathema to the revered entity, even as their communities remain underdeveloped and backward (do they really care?)
It is in this vein that the Imperial Majesty, the Ooni of Ife Oba Babatunde Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi will be a shining example to many traditional rulers not only in Nigeria, but also within the African continent. The King’s recent visit to Canada @150 and the recognition by the Nigerian community in Canada and the Canadian government is testament to the progressive manner in which he has conducted himself within the few months he’s been on the throne. Progressive Royalty is what we need to bring development to Africa and it involves moving away from palaces and towns and away from the dirty politics in our land to connect with governments across the world.
Making the most of the position to advance the course of humanity through linking with captains of industries and international organizations is the most formidable tool for an institution that cares. Imagine an Ile-Ife with a Silicon Valley or manufacturing companies that export commodities. Traditional rulers can make things happen without waiting for their various governments. The Ooni has become exemplary in bringing development to his people as this is evident in the transport scheme introduced in Ile-Ife. It is hoped that His Royal Majesty’s visit would not be for tourism alone as we hope Nigerians will begin to see the impact of progressive royalty.
The Ooni’s presence in Canada was also an occasion to showcase the rich heritage of Africa and to make Nigerians living in Canada aware of the need to preserve their culture and transfer same to coming generations. Indeed, the liberation and emancipation of the black race will require active roles by our traditional institution on the global stage.