Prince Adetunji Ogunwusi: A King In Waiting | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Prince Adetunji Ogunwusi: A King In Waiting

Posted: Sep 5, 2015 at 1:26 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Kunle Olorunleke

When news of the transition of Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, hit blogosphere late in the evening of July 28th, 2015, many took it with measured skepticism. Even mainstream media, which had to wait till the following morning to break the news, were circumspect in their headlines. You can’t fault the cloud of uncertainty; the Ooni is no mere mortal. He is regarded as belonging to the pantheon of deities; the representative of the deities here on earth and a direct descendant of Oduduwa, the progenitor of the Yoruba race. But the times have changed. New media has altered communication radically.

Prince Ogunwusi

Prince Ogunwusi

To add to the confusion, the Ife Traditional Council came up with a swift rebuttal that the Oba was hale and hearty. It was unheard of that the Ooni would die, away from his ancestral domain. The council would recant on Wednesday, August 12, 2015, when its leader, Oba Solomon Omisakin, the Obalufe of Ife and also the paramount ruler of Iremo quarters of the ancient town, formally announced the transition of Oba Sijuwade at a press conference held at the Government House in Oshogbo, capital of Osun State. He was 85 and reigned for 35 years. Oba Sijuwade, who is revered for redefining the essence of the ancient seat and dignifying the monarchy, has since been buried.

Consequently, the permutations and conjectures on who becomes the next Ooni have rent the air while the Princes from the ancient town’s Ruling Houses have filed out in different directions consulting with power brokers, including persons who have no link to Ile Ife or Yorubaland. In this eclectic mix, however, is Prince Adetunji Adeyemi Ogunwusi, a real estate magnate cum successful business tycoon.

So many factors favour Prince Adetunji’s candidacy. At 47, with a catalogue of successful businesses to his name, he is considered apt for the seat.

Ile-Ife has four Ruling Houses namely Giesi, Lafogido, Osinkola and Ogboru. The late Oba Sijuwade emerged from the Ogboru ruling house, thus nullifying the intent of any prince from there, at least, for now. Even more so, is the sacred and stringent principle of rotation of ascendancy to the throne, which is in place in the ancient town. Although some desperate persons and mischief-makers have recently insinuated that this principle of rotation no more holds sway, it is still in force.  The last time an Ooni was chosen from Giesi was in 1894. Fortuitously, Prince Adetunji is from the Giesi Ruling House.

Prince Adetunji, an Agricultural Economics graduate of the University of Ibadan, was born on December 8, 1967, into the family of John Oluropo Ogunwusi from the Ojaja Lineage of the Giesi ruling house, in the Agbedegbede Quarters. His mother, Margaret Wuraola Sidikatu Abegbe Ogunwusi was born into the family of Soji-Opa, a prominent Cocoa merchant in Ile-Ife. He began his schooling at Subuola Memorial Nursery and Primary School, Agodi, Ibadan, and to Saint Patrick’s Grammar School Orita Bashorun, Ibadan, for his secondary school education. He did A-Level’s education at the former Oyo State College of Arts and Science, Ile-Ife, before moving over to the University of Ibadan. After the mandatory National Youth Service Corps, the lovable Prince began what would become an exciting career in the banking industry when he joined the then Nigeria Intercontinental Merchant Bank in 1991. In no time, his proficiency and productivity began to manifest as he won several awards including, in 1993, the award for the best staff in credit and marketing. Many others followed in the intervening years.

After helping to set New Africa Investment Limited, which he joined in 2001 as a managing partner on the path of profitability, Prince Adetunji ventured full time into real estate with the establishment of Primewaterview Limited in 2005 with a vision to become the best real estate company in Nigeria, nay, Africa. At the time, however, residential high-rise development was a no-go area for indigenous private development companies. That was the vacuum he hoped to fill and he made a roaring success of it.

He first built the Gardens 1 Estate, comprising 107 units of high-rise buildings and immediately followed with Gardens 2 Estate, having 348 units.  In less than a decade, Primewaterview has been directly involved in the completion of over 700 units of various types of housing units on the Victoria Island Annex/Lekki Corridor.

With contacts in several countries and business interests and investment portfolios in real estate, oil and gas, power generation, construction, hospitality and tourism; and a beautiful family, many of his associates and acquaintances have asked why he is angling to be the Ooni. And he says, “Ile- Ife (Ile Oduduwa) is the cradle of Yoruba Civilization. The historical glamour of Yoruba race started from the ancient city of Ile-Ife, which is why the throne of Ooni of Ife is most desirous, most especially to those who truly believe in the unity of Omo Oodua. My intent to attain the throne of my forefathers is premised on my ambition to further re-unite the Yoruba race and promote our cultural heritage. My desire is to re-ignite the interest of our youths in the development of Yoruba land and redefine the richness in our cultural beliefs.”

He avers that he comes very well acquainted for this onerous task. And there is a profound ground for believing his assertion.