Southwest Diaspora Focal Point Officers Honour Ooni Of Ife

  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 
Nigeria better.

“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.

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