A new dawn in the history of Ile Ife occasioned by the recent appointment of 40 years old Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja 11, as the Ooni of Ife, has continued to resonate with the Ooni set to declare Ife as a tourism zone in furtherance of his promise to foster peace and unity and bring economic prosperity to his people by opening up Ife to the world through tourism. Significantly, it a boost for the promotion of arts and culture.
The Ooni who is a business czar and owner of Inagbe Resort, one of the few privately run resorts located across Lagos waters, has from the first day of assumption of office not hidden his resolve to elevate the historical and abundant cultural wealth of his people and town by opening it to the world through massive investment in tourism related projects, which are aimed at transforming Ife from a mere tourism attraction to a mega tourism destination.
To this end, the Kabiyesi, his newly appointed chief tourism adviser and consultant, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, who is the Founder of La Campagne and Motherland Beckons, disclosed that Oba Ojaja 11 is set to declare Ife a tourism zone on February 26 and to kick start the development of the zone into a tourism destination of world class standard has concluded plans to build a N7.6 billion Ife Grand Resort.
Also in line with his resolve to foster peace and unity amongst his people, a major ingredient for sustainable tourism development, and put to rest the ghost of the over 200 years old conflict between Ife – Modakeke, the Ooni over the week brushed aside all protocols and barriers to attend the Modakeke Day celebration even as he announced the employment of 20, 000 widows from the over 40, 000 widows recorded in the last Ife – Modakeke crisis to work in the tourism zone project with a promise to absolve the remaining 20, 000 widows alongside the teeming population of unemployed as the project gathers traction.
The Ooni’s attendance at the Modakeke Day celebration has been hailed by many people as a deft move by the Kabiyesi to finally bury the Ife – Modakeke intermittent conflict that has lingered for over 200 years as this has never been done by any Ooni in the past 200 years, as attending Akoraiye Day Modakeke, is a way of not only healing the wounds of the past but also clearing the negative past and replacing it with a prosperous future through tourism.
As part of the grand design to secure life and property in Ife, the Kabiyesi has approved the construction of a watch tower with standby rapid response squad that is fully equipped and which response time to any distress call should not be more than 10 minutes and this time frame hopefully would be cut to five minutes in the days ahead.
Speaking on these new initiatives by the Ooni, Akinboboye, who has also announced the Kabiyesi as the grand patron of Motherland Beckons, said it is a grand design by the Ooni to redesign the tourism map and agenda of Ife by drawing the attention of Africans, the Diaspora and the entire globe to it in a way that has never been done in the history of the former Ife Kingdom, which is not only regarded as the Source of Yoruba but the cradle of South west civilisation.
According to him, ‘‘the glory of Ife is finally coming to light. Ife is now the new destination in Africa as the sleeping giant of tourism in Africa wakes up to a new reality,’’ insisting that henceforth the whole world would come to Ife on religious, cultural, economic, educational, and archaeological tourism among others, as the new Ooni constructs a new agenda for the kingdom of Ile Ife.
Akinboboye revealed that the declaration ceremony and the kick off for motherland beckons has been fixed for February 27 with the president of Black Lawyers in England and Wales, Peter Herbert, billed to deliver the key note address while the chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) America, among a host of other dignitaries are expected at the event.
This development from the palace, he said is in partnership with La Campagne with Motherland Beckons serving as a multi – purpose vehicle for bringing to fruition the agenda of the Ooni.