Major cities in Ghana, Togo, Cote d ‘Ivoire and other cities in the West African coast recently had a full dose of Yoruba culture and tradition when several culture enthusiasts and monarchs stormed the cities as part of a 32-man strong team for the launch of the Oodua Progressives Union (OPU), a pan-Yoruba group for Yoruba people in the Diaspora.
On the team were 4 traditional rulers from Yoruba land- Oba Joseph Adeoye Adewole, the Owa Ajero of Ijero kingdom; Oba Yisa Olanipekun, the Zaki of Arigidi, Ondo State; Oba Walidu Sanni, the Onigedegede of Igedegede, Ondo State and Oba Lasisi Olawuyi, the Asagangan of Igangan, Oyo State.
Other dignitaries on the team included Otunba Gani Adams, National Coordinator of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) and convener of the OPU; Captain Adetokunbo Adesina; Yoruba actor, Yomi Fash–Lanso and other notable members of the OPC.
In each of these cities, the Yoruba joyfully received the team with the wonderful display of cultural dance, drumming, chants which enchanted and attracted the citizens of the countries to the venues.
The cultural evangelization kicked off on Friday, September 11 in the city of Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire , a country where Yoruba constitute 2.5 million of the population. Otunba Adams led the delegates to the warm embrace of the Nigerian Ambassador , Mrs. Ifeoma Jacinite Akabogu – Chinwuba,(represented by Mr Olumuyiwa Ogundeme the consular officer) who, together with members of the embassy, held a red carpet reception for the visiting Yoruba cultural revivalists.
Otunba Adams explained the mission of his delegates to the ambassador.
The ambassador gave her blessing to the inauguration of the Union. “I am sure and confident that the OPU as an association will not only help in cultural revival of the Yoruba value, but also serve as a coordinating platform for members of the race and an institution of behavioral adherence“
The ambassador presented a plaque of honor to Otunba Adams and other 4 traditional rulers as she declared her support for the union.
In Ghana where the team was warmly received by the Yoruba community with pomp and pageantry. The President of the Yoruba community in Ghana, Chief Musa Baba, hosted the group in his posh house in Accra to a memorable dinner and also, on behalf of the Yoruba community in Ghana, later presented a plaque to Otunba Adams.
In Togo, the Yoruba community turned out in large numbers at the beautifully decorated hall at the Palaise De Congress De Lome, Republic of Togo, on Sunday, September 20 for the inauguration which was spearheaded by His Royal Majesty, Oba Alhaji Kareem Afolabi, Amoloko 1 of Togo, who is the paramount Oba of Yoruba in Togo.
The Nigerian ambassador in Togo, Mr Gilbert Nnaji, added colour to the inauguration and commended Adams for upholding and promoting the culture and tradition of Yoruba.
Ambassador Nnaji, who was visibly elated by the inauguration of the OPU, said: “I am opportune to share the same table with Otunba Adams, a great Nigerian and a Yoruba icon.”
Otunba Adams, in his thank–you speech, pointed out that, “this chapter makes brings the total numbers of the OPU chapters to 61. I must commend you for your brilliance at planning and wonderful implementation which should be the benchmark for the OPU in Togo“