Ooni hosts Delta monarch, says ‘religious practice shouldn’t affect culture’

The Arole Oduduwa & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, played host to the Ovie of Ozoro kingdom, Delta State, Ovietobore Ogbogbo, on Saturday at his Ile Oodua Palace, Ile-Ife.

The Arole Oduduwa & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, played host to the Ovie of Ozoro kingdom, Delta State, Ovietobore Ogbogbo, on Saturday at his Ile Oodua Palace, Ile-Ife.

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While receiving the monarch who was flanked by his queen, chiefs and other dignitaries from the Delta kingdom, Ooni Ogunwusi admonished that Africans and indeed Nigerians should not dispose their cultural heritage on the basis of confliction with religion.

The Ooni who is the Spiritual head of the Yoruba race explained that there are distinctions between religion and culture and they must be carefully studied and practiced with one not encroaching on the other.

“How can you be sitting on honey and milk and not enjoying? Something is not adding up and what you need to do is to visit your history. I am aware of your rich cultural heritage, please do not throw them away for civilization or religion.

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“You need to know the difference between cultural heritage and spirituality. Visit your history and look into those things your ancestors used to do, do not think you are worshipping idols.

“I am the spiritual head of the Yoruba people and I am saying it with all authority. When you get home, gather your elders and speak to your ancestors, they will hear you. Don’t fight, just speak to the land of Uzoro and it’ll hear you.” The Ooni advised.

On the South-South kingdom’s relationship with their Yoruba counterpart in the Southwest part of Nigeria, Ooni Ogunwusi revealed that they belong to Oluyare Compound in Ife and their lineage remain unambiguously known to all.

“Oranmiyan who was an Ife Prince left home to establish the Benin kingdom from which Ozoro emanated from, now you see we are one. I want you to visit the Orun Oba Ado groove, Oduduwa groove, Oranmiyan groove and other places of significance to help you get the clear picture of what I am saying.

Earlier in his speech, the Ovie of Ozoro Kingdom, Ovietobore Ogbogbo, described the Ooni as a wonderful monarch whose leadership knacks are immeasurable.

“I decided to come here to have a feel of home and I am convinced that this is home, this is root. I am so happy and excited to tap from the grace and I pray that this shall be the beginning of good things in Ife and Ozoro kingdoms.

Guests at the event including the Oore of Otun Ekiti, Oba Adekunle Adeagbo, were thrilled with performances of palace cultural dancers, drummers and the Princesses from Ozoro Kingdom who made the big day colourful.

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A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.