The Arole Oduduwa and Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has charged governments at all levels to pursue favourable economic policies that would raise the standard of living of Nigeria’s citizens.
The Ooni, who is also the Co-Chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN,) gave this charge during the 2020 edition of the annual celebration of Aje Festival at his Ile-Oodua Palace in Ile-Ife on Monday.
Ooni, who is the natural father of the entire Yoruba race worldwide, decried the current economic condition of the country as pathetic, adding that the country’s wealth must be enjoyed by all Nigerians.
“As it stands today, Nigeria has a population of few men and women controlling the economy while countless others are languishing in poverty. We cannot continue like this.
“For us to progress as a country, we must ensure that our wealth goes round especially to the poor and other vulnerable members of the society. We cannot keep having strikingly rich few Nigerians and uncountable ones wallowing in abject poverty,” the Ooni decried.
He explained that the Aje is the deity for wealth and riches and the annual celebration was to acknowledge its relevance to the people, especially its indispensable nature to us.
“Did you see the struggle for it during the procession to and from the Aje temple? That is the spirit of Aje. All of us are not rich because it is not easy to accumulate wealth.
“We are not devaluing the currency by spraying it to our people. We only do it on a special day like this to spread happiness. In the olden days, it was cowries, sometimes ago it was coins, nowadays it is naira notes and we hold it in a very high esteem,” the Ooni noted.
The Coordinator of Aje Festival, Ms. Toyin Kolade, expressed happiness for the massive turnout of participants from within and outside Nigeria. Kolade thanked the Ooni for the opportunity to coordinate the festival and pledged her commitment to the development of the Yoruba cultural heritage.
Similarly, the Lowa Adimula of Ife, Adekola Adeyeye, described the 2020 Aje festival as the best in history and thanked the Ooni for upholding the cultural values of Ile Ife and Yoruba land. He added that the Ooni has rebranded the ancient city positively to the world and prayed that God Almighty would support him in realising the greater Ife Kingdom of his dream.
Also the Obaluru Oranfe, Oba Isoro Abiodun Molato said: “Aje is a goddess that provides wealth and fortune for people. She was among the 401 deities sent to the world by Olodumare.
“Her primary assignment was to ensure a smooth transition of the country’s economy. For this, she is always being celebrated and commemorated by the people of Ife and other tribes of Yoruba.”