Early September, His Royal Majesty, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, demonstrated his bridge builder status when he honoured the President/Chief Executive Officer of Nestoil Limited, Dr Ernest Azudialu Obiejesi, during his visit at the company’s Corporate Headquarters in Lagos, writes Peter Uzoho
It was around 3: 50p.m., early September, when corporate workers were winding down for the day’s work. Blaring of horns and sirens were heard from a distance at the popular Akin Adesola Street, in Victoria Island, Lagos. Without surprise, it turned out to be the signal of the arrival of a not common king who was being waited for by the entire Nestoil family.
Anxiety overtook the atmosphere from the ground floor to the 15th, at the high rising Nestoil building. Jittery rent the air; the elevator got busier than normal; descending and ascending as everyone struggled to make his or her way down the stairs to be on grown to behold and bid the king the warmest welcome. The security men were at their best as they ensured there was no hitch and no security breach.
The routine pre-entrance search at the company’s gate was intensified but with no intent to embarrass anyone. The garage was made ready. The red carpet had been smoothly spread on the floor for His Majesty to walk through.
The white colour had it so well. Appearing in a white jeep; ccompanied with no less a dozen of entourage decked in white native outfits, His Royal Highness, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, finally made his way into the large corporate headquarters of Nestoil Lmited, a member of Obijackson Group. Chants of adulation and glory went wide; every other human on sight expectedly decreased his or her height as the tradition demanded.
Instantly, his entourage created a human wall on both sides of the carpet. With a customised white traditional umbrella set towards the car door, he lowered himself into and disembarked. The revered king was clad in spotless, magnificent white agbada attire; his neck and wrist decorated with befitting royal beads even as a perfect royal crown sat on his head.
The expectant host and President/Chief Executive Officer, Nestoil Limited, Dr. Ernest Azudialu Obiejesi, in company of members of the organisation’s senior management team were all out to receive the king.
As the king alighted, Obiejesi full of excitement welcomed the king in a warm handshake and both exchanged brief pleasantries before proceeding to his executive office. During the over two hours visit, the king had ample time to chat with his friend and they discussed issues ranging from family, business, culture and politics. He was taken round the building to get him familiarised with what obtains in the company. Owing to his love for Obiejesi and his family, Oba Ogunwusi did not want to leave without leaving an indelible mark in the life and family of his host. The unity of Nigeria irrespective of cultural differences was uppermost in his heart. This he showcased by presenting golden art painting containing traditional musical instruments to him.
According to him, the ‘Talking drum’ and the ‘Ichaka’, both used by the Yorubas and the Igbos respectively, contained in the painting, showed the commonality that exists between the two tribes. He said the two cultures have meeting points in what they do.
The king explained that apart from the cultural meaning of the gift, it has spiritual meaning. “The gift has cultural, physical and spiritual meaning,” Ogunwusi said. “You can see the talking drum used by the Yorubas as a musical instrument. You can see the Ichaka which you the Igbos use to create some meaningful musical sounds. This means that the two cultures have some similarities. It is also spiritual – it can be a form of protection as it came from a traditional ruler like me,” he explained. He also said the gift took cognisance of Obiejesi’s wife, Nnenna, as woman, saying part of the painting that has smooth lines drawn on it symbolised women’s hair plaiting. He blessed her and wished her well in her marriage as she knelt before him receiving the royal blessing.
The honoured host, Obiejesi, after spending such quality time with the revered king, could not hide his feeling. “I consider it a very great honour particularly for an individual like me that believes in one Nigeria,” Obiejesi said. “It’s actually a great honour for his imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, who is a very prominent king from another culture to be kind enough to pay a courtesy call on me and to my office. So it’s really a very great honour.
“His gift too symbolises something really significant. It’s a great blessing to me that I got a gift from him and I appreciate the gift.
In his explanation of the meaning of the gift I found immense wisdom because according to him and from what I saw, musical instruments have similarities between Igbo and Yoruba culture. So, from the painting you could see that musical instruments were drawn there and that shows similarities between the cultures. So, as an individual who believes in one Nigeria, and being an agent of cultural integration, I truly appreciate the visit,” he said.
Obiejesi added: “Most importantly, for me as an Igbo man and a title holder as Osuofia 1 of Okija, I appreciate and I know the importance of kingdoms and the presence and value of royal fathers.
You can see how happy and excited I am. I consider the visit a very great honour and, again, I commend the humility of his Royal Highness and I know all that he has been doing. “I love the fact that he is going around to make Nigeria one. We are not divided along cultures, we are not divided along religion, we are a nation, we are together and you can see that you find elements of one culture in the other and that should speak to the fact that we are one as a people. So, I thank him very much. I thank the Ooni of Ife, I thank Kabiyesi. I’m excited,” he said.