Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife, will embark on a 10-day historical visit to Brazil in June, 2018 to strengthen the cultural affinities between the blacks in Brazil and Yorubas in Nigeria with a view to using cultural heritage for an economic partnership that will be beneficial to the two countries. JOHN SILAS writes
Information coming from the palace in Ife, said the trip will also strategically enable the African foremost monarch to showcase tourism potentials of Nigeria attracting Brazilians to the country under the diaspora programme and open a heritage house as an export point for Nigerian businesses under the Nigerian Diaspora Exchange of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).
As the Spiritual Head of Yoruba race globally, Ooni Ogunwusi is saddled with the responsibility of uniting African descendants of Yoruba extract throughout the world estimated to be more than 500 million in over 80 countries.
Ooni Ogunwusi who recently honored the outgoing Brazilian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs. Maria Auxiliadora Figueiredo with Oodua Descendant Award of Excellence in recognition of her efforts in promoting cultural exchange between Nigeria and Brazil, attaches utmost importance to the South American country recalling that over 13 million people most of whom were Yoruba were taken from Africa to Brazil via Bahia, many centuries ago.
The Yoruba will be in Salvador de Bahia to declare the City of Bahia as the spiritual Capital of all Yorubas in the Americas, he will be in Rio de Janeiro to present a message on religious tolerance and peace at the State Parliament and also meet with the business community. He will deliver lectures at some Universities alongside Professors Wole Soyinka, Wande Abimbola, Sophie Oluwole ,etc.
The black Brazilians are proud to be connected the ancient Kingdom of Ile-Ife being their cradle and eager to visit their roots from time to time as they daily troop out en mass to view the giant statue of Olokun Bronze Head (ori olokun), one of the biggest tourist attractions in Brazil located on one of the busiest Highways in Rio De Janeiro to immortalise Oduduwa believed to had come to conquer slavery for them many centuries ago in form of spirit.
Other functions to be performed by the Ooni during the historical visit include a prayer procession for peace and repose of the souls of enslaved Africans, receptions by the State government of Bahia and Salvador Municipal Authorities, Declaration of Bahia as the Yoruba Capital in the Americas, meet the Governor of Salvador De Bahia, unveiling of the statue of Oduduwa in Bahia, Declaration of Annual Yoruba celebration in Bahia, MOUs on the teaching of Yoruba language in Bahia state schools, visitation to Ori Olokun heritage site in Rio De Janeiro where Nigerian products will be displayed, visit the Tomorrow Museum at Rio, attend Inter-religious meeting at Cristo Redentor Church, meeting with Governor of Minas, visit to Yemoja Square at Pampulha Lake, Business Forum at FIEMG – Minas Gerais State Industrial Federations, Dinner with political, cultural and religious and human rights leaders.
Ooni Ogunwusi who will be accompanied by 120 entourage to include some notable traditional rulers, aides, cultural troupes, business captains, prominent herbal medicine practitioners and representatives of relevant government agencies.