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Ooni didn’t like polygamy, circumstances forced it on him– Sister

Byadmin

Jan 15, 2023

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Princess Folashade Ogunwusi-Fadairo is an elder sister of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, from the same father and motherShe tells EMMANUEL OJO about their childhood days in Ibadan and what life has been like for the family members since her brother became the Ooni of Ife

You are from the royal family of Ile-IfePlease tell us more about yourself.

I am Princess Folashade Ogunwusi-FadairoI’m a native of Ife, as you knowI am a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University (Ile-Ife)Right now, I am self-employed; I own a fabric business at Ikota Shopping Mall, Victoria Garden City, LagosI’m married to Prince Jide Fadairo and I’m blessed with a kid.

Is your husband also a prince of Ife?

No, he is from Abeokuta.

Are you a direct sister to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; that is, were you born the same father and mother?

The answer is yesWe were born same parents–father and mother – and I am the first girl in the family.

How large is the family?

It’s a family of seven, apart from my father.

And what is Ooni’s position?

He is the fifth childHe has two younger ones.

Did the Ooni and the rest of you spend your childhood together in the same place?

Yes.

How was growing up like?

We were brought up in Ibadan and growing up was funHe (Ooni) was very fun to be with, very intelligent, very creative, jovial; he was a good dancer, he was stubborn in a way and he learnt a lot himself.

For example, he started driving at the age of 11 or so, without anyone guiding himHe just took the (car) key, started the car and that was how he started drivingSo, we had a lot of fun together growing upHe taught me how to danceIn my family, if we are to pick the best two dancers, it will be me and himUp till now, I can still dance and I know he does too but not openly because of his positionI’m very proud to say that.

We used to scold him then that he would spoil something and use what he spoilt to create another thingHe loved making his shoes himselfI remember we had a flask with a rope handle but he removed the rope and turned it into shoelaces for the shoes he made himselfWe were annoyed that he spoilt the flask.

I also remember that when he was much younger, about age five, there was a drawing competition organised The PUNCH then for that age group and he wonHe drew a head and he actually wonI remember The PUNCH gave him a prize thenHe did so many things as a young boy that amazed me and people around himHe’s been very intelligent since childhood and growing up with him was fun.

Was it foretold that he would become the Ooni?

There were some predictionsFor instance, my father had three boys and he is the last of the three boysThe prediction had been there that one of the boys would become a king but no name was mentioned and we didn’t know which one of the three it would beIn any case, we didn’t even take the prediction too seriouslyYou know, people will always predict, it’s left for you to believe or not to believe.

The prediction came and I remember my dad gathering us together to pray for whoever it was going to be and I called my sister aside and said to her: “Do they know when the present one (king) would die? Nobody knows; so, what kind of prediction is that?” But then we joined our father in the prayers, believing that one day, it might happen and it actually happened eventually.

I remember my grandfather used to call him (my brother) Adeyeye Ooni; my late mum also did the same, calling him Adeyeye OoniMy other brothers were there but I can’t remember my grandfather or mum calling them Adegboyega Ooni or Adetunji Ooni.

Didn’t that spark some kind of jealousy among the brothers?

There was nothing like thatWe were just a happy familyI can’t remember any such thing coming upActually, we didn’t refer to ourselves as princes and princesses and even our peers didn’t know we were royaltiesThat was our upbringing.

What religion did your family practise while you were going up?

We were Christians, very strict ChristiansWe went to Deeper Life (Bible Church) and you know how Deeper Life church isYou know that they are very strictYou know the issue of not watching TV in Deeper LifeMy dad was a broadcaster and he monitored news through the TV and the radioHe started with WNTV (Western Nigeria Television), the first television station in AfricaBut the doctrine of the Deeper Life then was that they should do away with TV; I don’t know if they still do that nowWe were so angry about it.

My parents were initially Anglicans before they joined Deeper Life and then they later joined the Redeemed (Christian Church of God)We were brought up in a Christian homeWe were just one humble family in IbadanWe knew we are from a royal lineage but we really didn’t bother about what was happening at the palace in IfeMy brother (Oba Adeyeye) wasn’t groomed or prepared for the throne at childhoodWe just grew up like every other childrenOur parents sent us to school like every other normal childrenIt wasn’t even in our head that we are royaltiesWe lived our normal lives.

Now that your brother has become the Ooni, as predicted; has that brought any kind of changes to the family?

A lot has changedEven friends don’t believe that I’m still my normal old selfThey believe that I’m up there now and that I wouldn’t want to associate with them anymore but when I have the opportunity of meeting them, I tell them that nothing has changed, that I’m still my normal selfBut when we are in public we know how to comport ourselves; we know what we should and shouldn’t doWe can’t behave aggressively or talk anyhowIn any case, these are things that our parents inculcated in us while we were growing upThe background they gave us has been really helpful.

Having had a feel of both the ordinary lifestyle and the royal life, which do you prefer?

Should I be sincere? I prefer the former lifestyle to the current one.

Why?

I prefer the former lifestyle because now, what they (public members) do is to fabricate lies and pin them on youA lot of things are being said even about the kabiyesi himself; all sorts of evil things, people fabricating different stories and liesThey tell people that we all live in Ife, controlling the palace, meanwhile, I live in LagosWhere is that coming from? And people out there believe it so much that they don’t even bother to try to confirm the truth or otherwise of such claims.

On a normal day, I would have preferred that people don’t know much about my private life; to just live my normal life as a NigerianBut right now, anything that happens there (at the palace) in Ife, it’s all out there on the social mediaEven things that didn’t happen, they will just sit down somewhere and fabricate things and people believe these thingsIf I am unknown, what would they have been writing about me?

What about the privileges of royalty?

Well, just meeting peopleAnd even when you meet people, nobody wants to help you; they think you don’t have any need; they believe you have it all because your brother is the OoniThere are people coming to you with demands or sending their account numbers via Facebook and Instagram, some even send pictures of themselves taking garri and water and begging for financial help(They don’t realise that) everybody wants money, help and job; they don’t care to know what’s going on in your own lifeIt’s not like I don’t like helping people or that I am complaining, but one can only offer help to the best of one’s abilityThere are times that you also need helpYou want to do one or two things at a time but nobody wants to know that; they are only after their gains.

Has that taken a toll on your business?

Well, I’m just trying to develop my business in my own way; putting royalty aside and doing it in my own wayProbably some customers come because (they say) ‘she’s Ooni of Ife’s sister’ but I’m just doing it in my own way, believing that things will get better.

You mentioned that you came from a strict Christian backgroundBut recently, the Ooni, being the king, had the honour of taking more than one wifeWhat’s your opinion about that?

My opinion is that what you have to do, you just have to do itMeanwhile, that’s his personal life, I can’t meddle in itWhat I can say is that I don’t know if you were there during his wedding anniversary or so, if you heard the speech he made, it was very touching and it was something that personally he didn’t like but he had no choice, he had to do itWhere the Yoruba are coming from, polygamy is expectedAnd being the progenitor of the Yoruba race, inu e ni won bi wa si (we were born in it)For instance, my grandfather had eight wives, that’s paternal and my maternal grandfather had about seven or eight wives tooSo, it’s something he had to do, although, I think he avoided it.

Are you saying that as kabiyesi, it is compulsory for him to have more than one wife?

YesAs kabiyesi, he just has to take more than one wife.

Are there other practices that come with the stool that the Ooni, you or other family members have reservations about?

He has to do itHow do I say this now? It is what God wants him to do and that is what he is doingHe was chosen for itIf I’m chosen for it, I will know what to doHe is called for it, he will do itIf it is my calling, I will know what to do but that’s his own life and he knows what to doI believe you get what I’m sayingThe Yoruba will say, “Ibi ori da ni si la n gbe,”(where fate leads one to, that’s the path one takes)Ibi t’ori da si, Ibe l’oun gbe yen (he’s on the path that fate chose for him)What God purposed for him to come to do in this life is what he is doing and there is nothing anybody can do about it.

What’s your opinion about the 2023 presidential race?

I put everything in God’s handsGod knows what will become of Nigeria and NigeriansAll I’m praying for is the bestLet’s hope for something good and let God in His infinite mercy choose a wonderful leader that will turn Nigeria around for good.

Do you have a preferred candidate?

(Laughs)….Even if I have, I won’t tell you because in the position that I am I can’t support anybody publicly and I won’t let you know; even kabiyesi is supposed to pray for everybodyI’m just a princess.

Do you think that there is some sort of pressure on the Ooni to endorse a particular candidate as politicians always visit the palace?

They go there for his prayersLike we all know, he is a first-class monarch in Nigeria, not only in Nigeria, also in Brazil, where they speak Yoruba; just like in CubaSo, anywhere they speak Yoruba all around the world, he is our progenitorPeople go to him for spiritual prayers, for affirmation from God and for so many thingsHe’s our father and he will give his blessings.

What schools did you attend?

I started my early life at Subuola Memorial Nursery and Primary School at Agodi, IbadanThe school was created in 1972I was born in 1970, April 6; I didn’t finish thereI left for the Seventh Day Adventist Primary School, Agodi, Ibadan and that was where I finished my primary education and then proceeded to Isabatudeen Girls Grammar School, Bashorun, then I went to the College of Education in Ilesha (Osun State)After that, I went to Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, where I studied English EducationI worked with 21st Century Communications and Advertising Company at Ikosi, Ketu, LagosI left there and proceeded to the Nigerian Ports Authority where I worked for some time before I later went into shipping and that was the most interesting part of my lifeI was the only female there and all over the portI was a shipping manager at the port, doing all sorts of thingsI was in agency department and what we did basically was to berth vessels and I was the only woman thereIt was a very tedious jobSometimes I resumed at 8am and 3am (the following day), I was still on the ground because I was expecting a vessel.

I met a lot of people then; I met captains but the challenge I had then was that there was no mobile phoneWhen Obasanjo came and brought mobile phones, things changed but I had already lost a lot of contacts that I should have got earlier.

I tried to develop a career in shipping but I couldn’t, so I had to leave to start a businessI had a salon and a gift shopThat was in Ikorodu way back after I left the shipping business but now, I run a fabric shop, Wuraola Fola Couture at Ikota Shopping Mall in VGCI do that coupled with all the things we do at the palace.

Are there specific functions you perform as a princess or the first princess in the family?

A lotI do go out to represent the king, even outside the countryI remember going to The Gambia last year to represent himThe Yoruba in The Gambia gathered together to celebrate the Ooni and I was there in The Gambia to represent himI was meant to go to Ghana too but I had to stay back to prepare myself as I had another trip to ItalySo, I do that and I see to a lot of things too in-houseI pray for him too, I consult for him and if I hear anything, I talk to himMy father is also there and my husband is there as well.

As you said, your husband is also from a royal family in Ogun StateHow would you feel if the lot falls on his family and he becomes the next king?

Do you know that the issue actually came up? We lost the Olowu of Owu in Abeokuta, Obasanjo’s townThe issue came up and people were telling him that it was time (for him to become a king) and I said it was time to (go) where? (Laughs)…

I actually told him, though on a lighter note, that if he becomes a king, I will be the only Olori (queen) (laughs)… I told him that he will not marry another wife, that I will be the only one but he looked at me and said, “Well, if God wants me to be there, I will be there.” Unfortunately, he didn’t even pursue it because he is a politician in Ogun State and to the glory of God, we have another Olowu now.

So, is that to say you’re happy or relieved that he didn’t become a king?

Let him face his work as SSA to the governorHe is a very hard-working man and always very agile; he doesn’t like sitting at a place, so I think that suits him better.

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