Saturday, 11 June 2016

President Obama to honour Ooni of Ife as New York City declares Yoruba Day


The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, was on Friday hosted by the indigenes of Ile-Ife, Osun State, resident in the United States.

The monarch, with his entourage, was received at the J.F. Kennedy Airport, New York, by leaders of Ife indigenes and other Nigerians in the US on Thursday.

A New York City Senator, Kevin Parker, and the Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams, said the city had secured a proclamation to declare Monday, June 13, 2016 as Yoruba Day.

They said the action was to honour the monarch.

According to a statement, the Ooni has also been billed to visit President Barack Obama at the White House, where he will receive an award.

The statement added that a number of programmes had been scheduled to honour the traditional ruler while in the country.

As part of activities in his visit to the US, the Ooni will on Sunday, June 12, 2016, be the Special Guest of Honour at the prestigious Odunde festival.

The festival, which promotes the culture of the Yoruba race, was created in 1975 by Lois Fernandez and Ruth Arthur, and attracts about 500,000 people annually.

The event will provide an opportunity for the monarch to interact with the over 3,000 Ife indigenes in the US on how to develop Ile-Ife.

The statement said, “On the same day, the Museum of the Contemporary African Diaspora Arts will receive the monarch in a private reception as well as a public forum session.

“Expected at the event will be Brooklyn Borough President and a New York City Public Advocate, Leticia James. The monarch will then move to the Mid-West and other parts of the country to attend economic and leadership summits before being received by President Barack Obama through The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighbourhood Partnerships.”

The Chairman of the Grand Reception Planning Committee and one of the leaders of Ife Ooye North America group, Chief Olubunmi Awopileda, said, “All Ife natives in the US are excited and energised for this epochal occasion. It will be an occasion to showcase our very rich culture with our king as the symbol.”

- Punch

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