By Kazeem Badmus
In recognition of his immense contributions to the fight against human
trafficking, the *Southwest Diaspora Focal Point Officers (SwDFPOs),* in
collaboration with Make Mee Elegant Foundation* has bestowed on the
Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the *”Nigeria Ambassador Against Human Trafficking” award.
Presenting the award at the palace of the monarch on Monday, October
18th on behalf of the SwDFPOs, *Hon. Ajibola Famurewa,* who was also the chairman of the occasion, said it was a thing of joy and honour for him to have been tapped to present the award to *His Imperial Majesty Oba Ogunwusi.
Hon. Famurewa, who is the SUBEB Chairman of the State of Osun and a
former member of the House of Representatives said Oba Ogunwusi is
simply one of a kind as a result of the multifaceted roles he’s playing,
among which is to foster cohesion in the southwest as well as to make
“Kabiyesi, you were in Abuja sometimes ago and you spoke truth to power.
We thank you for that,” Famurewa declared.
In his welcome address, *Femi Odere, the Senior Special Assistant
(Diaspora Affairs) to Ekiti State Governor* said the award was just “our
little token that symbolizes our utmost respect and appreciation to the
monarch by the *Body of Southwest Diaspora Focal Point Officers.”*
“Kabiyesi, you have redefined the institution of monarchy in the entire
southwest with the way you not only have personally intervened on this
issue of trafficking our young boys and girls into slave labour with
your moral and material supports, but also the fatherly role you’re
playing in the lives of our teeming youths and making their lives better
in the way you’re financing the projects they bring to your attention
not to talk of the respect that the Yoruba culture and tradition has
gained around the world since your ascension to the throne in a short
spate of time,” Odere said.
According to Odere who is also the Chairman of the States Diaspora Focal
Point Officers (SDFPOs), Ooni has shown through his various activities
that he’s concerned about the development of Nigerian youths.
“Kabiyesi, the very first time I met you, which was in this same palace
about a couple of years ago, you would recall that I called you an
“activist monarch” because of the unusual ways you’re leveraging your
throne to change several narratives about the Yoruba nation. I wish I
had found another phrase to qualify you this evening. But I must say
this; Kabiyesi, that you have fundamentally changed the way I look at
our traditional rulers. As an ideologue, I never believed that democracy
and monarchy should ever mix. But by virtue of how you have
significantly touched lives, I now believe that some kind of
constitutional roles should be given our traditional rulers for better
management of our society,” Odere said.
The Ekiti State Diaspora Focal Point Officer added that “it was
therefore against this background that I mooted the idea of recognizing
the roles you’re playing in the fight against human trafficking with my
colleagues in the southwest with an award. This is why my colleagues and
I are here.
In her remarks, the *Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of the
State of Osun Hon. (Mrs.) Titi Fadahunsi-Ajayi* expressed her
appreciation to the Ooni of Ife for his tremendous assistance to the
youths of the state while she admonished them to seek for the greener
pasture the “right and legitimate way” if they must emigrate.
The member of the *Ondo State House of Assembly Committee on Diaspora
and Foreign Affairs Hon. Favour Tomomewo* also thanked the Ile-Ife
monarch for his several interventions. She pleaded to the monarch to
prevail on the governors of the region to see the need for the creation
of Diaspora Commission in all the southwest states as this, according to
her, ” is one of the most effective ways in which governments can
effectively nip human trafficking in the bud” in our region.
While showing appreciation to the organizers of the award, Ooni Ogunwusi
said he was elated that the organizers thought it fit to honour him. He
said he will not to relent in his efforts in fighting human trafficking
in Yorubaland, and by extension the entire country.
Also honoured with an award at the event was the *Chairman/CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Hon Abike Dabiri Erewa* who bagged the *”Champion of Women Empowerment and Eradication of Human Trafficking”award. Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa was ably represented by Mr. Wale Ojomo.