Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Eniitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has concluded plans to confer the prestigious chieftaincy title of Odole Oodua on Sir Adebutu Adebukunola Kensington.
The first of such conferment by the Ooni since his ascension to the throne as the 51st Ooni in the 3rd dynasty of Ife about four years ago will take place on the October 19, 2019, at the Ile-Oodua, the Ooni’s palace in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
Speaking yesterday at a press conference in Ile-Ife, the monarch said the Odole is a special office which works closely with the Ooni in rallying the descendants of Oduduwa wherever they are in the world for the unity, peace and progress of the Yoruba race.
The Odole Oodua, a position once occupied by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and subsequently by Chief G.O.K Ajayi, is a highly revered chieftaincy title in Yoruba land pioneered by the great Oranmiyan while he was still the prince of Ife. Oranmiyan served as a rallying point and stabilising force among the powerful empires within the expansive Oduduwa territory before becoming the Ooni of Ife after his exploits, which cut across Benin and Oyo kingdoms where he established his royal dynasties which have been in existence till date.
Historically, the office has its roots in the remarkable roles played by Oranmiyan, the great ruler of old Oyo and Benin kingdoms. Oranmiyan was virile, bold, adventurous, circumspect, dutiful and at the service of his other siblings.
He stood as an effective link between them. It was his commitment to a united Oduduwa family that is referenced in the fragment of his panegyric ‘Akantunkansi or As’otuns’osi, akinn’ile akinl’ogun’ (the great link to both sides, the brave both at home and at war”. Even though both Benin and Oyo kingdoms were at a point most powerful domains within the expansive Oduduwa territory, Oranmiyan ensured that they never overran each other.
Etymologically, ‘Odole’ is derived from the expression ‘Odo ile Oodua’ (the youth in the house of Oduduwa). It is a contraction of the expression adopted as a title to perpetuate the ideal of internal cohesion for which Oranmiyan stood for in the Oodua family of the ancient days.
The traditional title of the Odole of Ife has been retained as part of Ife’s social and political system and specially conferred on distinguished Oodua descendant, who in present days, can replicate the roles played by Oranmiyan.
In the contemporary history of the Oodua people, the late sage, Awolowo, who later held the title of Asiwaju Ile-Oodua, which has since been left unfilled till date, was the first to be honoured with the title after Oranmiyan. The second holder of the title was the late Chief Ajayi. Kensington is the third in the line.
Like his predecessor, Kensington exemplary life, achievements and awesome potential for positive social transformation were crucial factors in his consideration for the prestigious position.
From a very humble background to a life of a successful businessman of national and international repute, a philanthropist of rare breed and a social reformer of distinction, Kensington has emerged as the most suitable candidate for the position. He hails from Iperu Remo in Ikene Local Government Area of Ogun State.