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Nigerian Monarch Set To Visit Franklin During U.S. Trade Tour

Oonie of Ife

The Ooni of Ife – King of the Yoruba people in Nigeria – Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, will visit Franklin Township in June.


One of the youngest traditional rulers in Nigeria will visit the township in June during a nearly month-long trade mission to the United States.

Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi was named the Ooni of Ife – King of the Yoruba people – in October, following the July 2015 death of the previous monarch.

Ogunwusi will visit the township on June 11, according to a letter sent to Mayor Philip Kramer and Township Councilman Charles Onyejiaka from Akin Awofolaju, president of the Union-based Ife Indigenes in Diasporo Organization.

“His tour is an initiative designed to advance relationships between the citizens of Africa esp. Yorubaland and the USA,” Awofolaju said in the letter.

The Oonie of Ife is one of Nigeria’s many regional monarchs. The monarchs have no constitutional powers, but they are held in great esteem by their “subjects” and are considered the standard-bearers of ethnic cultures.

Many of these monarchs rule over villages or towns, while others – such as the Oonie of Ife – rule over larger areas. Yorubaland is home to more than 40 million people.

The monarch will be honored by a “Grand Reception,” which is planned for 5 p.m. on June 11 at the Ukranian Cultural Center on Davidson Avenue, after he meets with the mayor and council.

In a letter to Ogunwsi, Kramer said the township “looks forward to greeting you” at the municipal building.

“We look forward to discussing how our communities can work together towards the mutual benefit of both,” Kramer wrote.

“It is my understanding there are only two West African elected officials in the United States and one of them is Franklin Township Councilman Charles Onyejiaka, who was born in Nigeria,” Kramer said in an email. “Clearly his Imperial Majesty Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi has recognized this and wishes to visit Franklin after he receives the key to the city in Philadelphia.”

“Members of Council plan to meet with him to discuss the possibilities of future cultural and economic exchanges between us,” Kramer wrote.

Onyejiaka said the monarch’s visit “has a lot of advantages that cannot be over-emphasized.”

“As the West Africa community in Franklin Township is growing and integrating ourselves into the system, we do not want to lose our heritage,” he said in an email. “The king is here to attract economic growth to both cities. Finally, Franklin Township is one of the best cities to live in United States, so he wants to see for himself.”

During his visit to the United States, King Ogunwusi will also visit Washington, D.C., where he will receive an award from the White House’s Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. Other cities on his itinerary include Philadelphia; New York; Baltimore; Beaufort, S.C.; Mobile, Ala.; Atlanta; Little Rock, Ark. and Chicago.

 

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