Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has admonished the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, not to declare support again for any political office seeker.
The former president gave the admonition on Saturday in Ile Ife during the conferment of chieftaincy titles by Ooni Ogunwusi.
The advice came a few days after a viral video claimed that the Ogunwusi had endorsed the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for the 2023 presidential race.
However, in the clip seen by The Eagle Online, there was nowhere the Oonirisa directly endorsed the former Governor of Lagos State for the presidency.
Rather, he had sought Tinubu’s understanding for rallying the Yoruba race for a common front on all issues.
Obasanjo had commended one of the beneficiaries of the chieftaincy titles and Director-General of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, for his dedication to agriculture, food and nutrition security in Africa.
Sanginga’s wife, Charlotte, was also honoured by Oba Ogunwusi at the event at his palace.
Sanginga, a Democratic Republic of Congo national, and his wife were honoured with Aare and Yeye Aare Afurugbin-Ola of the Source respectively.
The former president, who said that the chieftaincy conferment was in recognition of the DG’s passion for the development of agriculture in Africa, urged Sanginga to see the honour as a challenge to do more for the continent.
Obasanjo, who is the IITA Ambassador, commended Oba Ogunwusi for the choice of Sanginga and his wife for the chieftaincy titles, saying that they were both worthy of the honour.
He said: “I commend Your Imperial Majesty for the bold step taken to honour this distinguished African who has dedicated his life to agriculture, food security and nutrition in Africa.
“I want to assure you these new chiefs will not disappoint you, that they will not disappoint Ife indigenes and the entire Yoruba race.
“I know and I am sure that they will live up to the honour that you have bestowed on them.”
Obasanjo, however, advised Oba Ogunwusi to strike a balance between his role as a royal father and politics in Yorubaland.
He said: “All the sons and daughters of Yorubaland, no matter where they are or their standpoint, will come to meet you.
“This is expected because you are the father of all.
“Any one of them who says that he is interested in politics, just pray for him and let them go.
“Anyone who approaches you and says that he wants to be president or governor, just pray for such a person and let him go.
“Don’t direct Yoruba people to support any aspirant as we don’t all go in the same direction, which is part of our strength in Yorubaland.”
Obasanjo reminded the Ooni that as far as politics was concerned, even in the pre-independence era, the Yoruba usually had two strong sides, adding: “Please, don’t let politicians add to your burden.”
Speaking at the occasion, Oba Ogunwusi appreciated the IITA Director-General’s passion for agricultural development in Africa.
According to him, in spite of the balkanisation of Africa by the Europeans, Africans will continue to remain one and indivisible.
He said: “I’m impressed with your modest achievements as a true son of Africa.
“You have been doing all within your capacity to ensure food sufficiency in the continent.
“All through the years, you have developed passion for agriculture and the results are visible everywhere.”
In his acceptance speech, Sanginga applauded the Ooni for the fatherly role he had been playing, not only in Yorubaland, but all over the country.
He also commended Oba Ogunwusi for counting him and his wife worthy of the honour, pledging that his would continue to support him in all ways.
Dignitaries present at the occasion included the Deputy Governor of Osun State, Benedict Alabi; former Governor Rashidi Ladoja of Oyo State; and Secretary to the Osun State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji.
Others were the Iyalaje Oodua, Princess Toyin Kolade; members of staff of IITA; and a host of other prominent individuals.