Nigerian King Visits Township With Gift And Talk Of Economic Partnership

Nigerian King - 16

Mayor Phillip Kramer, front row, left, with Yorubaland King Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, center, and his wife June 11 in the Township Council chamber.

A Nigerian King on a tour of the United States visited Franklin June 11, bringing messages of peace and the desire to establish economic ties with the township.

Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, King of the Yourba people in Nigeria, is leading a delegation of other Nigerian kings and dignitaries in the month-long trip to the U.S. Ogunwisu – known in Nigeria as the Ooni of Ife – and his entourage have scheduled stops in a number of cities over the next several weeks.

But June 11 was Franklin’s turn.

The day was highlighted by presentations of gifts between Mayor Phillip Kramer and the Nigerian king, and a gala later in the evening at which the king was feted with speeches and songs.

The visit was a spectacle almost from the moment the King’s motorcade pulled up to the municipal building on DeMott Lane. Ogunwusi and his wife, Queen Wuraola Ogunwusi, were greeted by a troupe of men chanting and playing hand-held steel percussion instruments and a drum.

The royal couple were met outside of their car by a delegation of Nigerian-Americans, Kramer and Township Council members, and well-wishers.

Accompanied by the musicians, the group made its way into the council chamber, where the mayor and council and king and his court took places on the dais.

A number of other Nigerian kings traveling with Ogunwusi sat in the front row of audience seats.

Ogunwusi is touring the country looking to build economic ties between Nigeria and the U.S. He noted that Nigeria produces a large percentage of the world’s cocoa and coffee beans, and said that he is “looking for other means, in health care, social services and medical services, that your town might have expertise in.”

“We want to establish a very good link,” Ogunwusi said.

He said the African market is “very large,” and “the potential in the country is so humungous.”

“We cannot work alone, and that’s why we’re here,” he said.

Ogunwusi also said that there are agricultural opportunities in Africa, due to large expanse of arid soil.

“This is a great day for Franklin,” said Township Councilman James Vassanella (D-Ward 5). “I hope this opens us up to more exchanges and more cultural and economic initiatives.”

Ogunwusi thanked the council for “your warm reception and the love you extended to all of us.”

“On behalf of the other kings who came with me, we say a very big thank you to you.”

Ogunwusi and his wife and Akin Awofolaju, president of the Ife Indigenes in Diaspora Organization, were presented with proclamations by Township Councilman Charles Onyejiaka (D-Ward3), Vassanella and Township Councilwoman Kimberly Francois (D-At Large.)

Ogunwusi presented Kramer with a bronze plaque featuring several “talking drums” which the king said are “part of our heritage.”

Kramer thanked him for the gift, then presented Ogunwusi with a brass key to the township.

Kramer noted that in the years he has been involved in township politics, “this is the first time we have given the key to the township to anyone.”

After a picture-taking session with township officials and others in attendance, the king and queen were taken to the Ukranian Cultural Arts Center on Davidson Road for a gala celebration the king’s visit.

During the evening, Ogunwusi was presented with a proclamation by state Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17), commemorating the king on his visit.

“It is from the deepest part of my heart that I welcome you,” Danielsen said.

Kramer was also installed as an honorary Chief Omowale of Ile-Ife, an act consummated by the placing of a string of beads around his neck. “Omowale” means “the child who has returned home” in the Yoruba language.

Kramer’s wife, Laurie, was also installed as an honorary Queen, and was given a beaded bracelet.

“Thank you for your display of love,” Kramer said to Ogunwusi.

Kramer said Ogunwusi’s visit was “quite an honor.”

“I’m looking forward to perhaps some economic exchange between us,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve had someone of his rank in Franklin for quite some time.

Township Councilman Charles Onyejiaka (D-Ward 3), a native of Nigeria, said the king’s visit “means a lot to me.”

“”We really enjoyed his presence and the speech he made here,” he said. “We enjoyed his company and the company of all the kings who came with him.”

2016 Nigerian King Visit


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