President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday described Yoruba as a great race that would always promote and reward excellence in people.
The President said whoever that the race decides to promote must have done enough to earn such honour, saying the choice of Adebutu Kesington as the new Odole Oodua bore eminent testimony to the greatness in the race.
The President spoke in Ile Ife at the reception after the coronation of Sir Kesington Adebutu as the new Odole Oodua by Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.
Two wives of the business mogul, Caroline Adebutu and Aminat Adebutu were also conferred with the titles of Yeyemode and Yeyerewa.
Represented by the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, Buhari said while he didn’t know much about the first holder of the title of Odole, the fact that former Premier of Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Kolawole Ajayi (SAN), were the last two holders of the title underscored the significance of Odole title.
Buhari said during the reign of the last two Odole, the holders worked for the unity of the Yoruba race and the progress of Nigeria as a nation. He expressed hope in the Adebutu’s capacity to do better than his predecessors.
He reminded traditional rulers that they would always be remembered for whatever legacies they leave behind, urged them to continue to play the roles pillars supporting peace in their various domains.
He then commended Ooni for promoting Yoruba culture, saying preservation of culture and traditions must be embraced by royal fathers.
“Even though I don’t know much about the history of other holders of the title, the last two Odole, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Kolawole Ajayi SAN worked for the unity of the Yoruba race and progress of the country,” he said.
Responding on behalf of Adebutu, his eldest son, Ladi, said Yoruba race would continue to play a prominent role in the affairs of the country and called for unity to ensure the race retains his pride of place.
He assured that all the areas highlighted in the president’s address would be given attention by the new Odole.
Earlier, Sir Adebutu, who was driven in a chariot to Ooni’s Palace later proceeded to Igbo Eede, where Oranmiyan staff was located and later to Ogun shrine where rites for his coronation were observed.
He was later ushered into the palace hall, where Ooni and his chiefs completed the rites and presented the new Odole staff and bronze sword as instruments of his new office.
Eminent personalities that include, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, ex-president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and former Military Vice President, Oladipo Diya witnessed the event.