Brazil, Canada, UK, others to partner Ooni on Oduduwa Heritage Museum project

The Governments  of Brazil and Cuba as well as many international  museum operators in  Canada,  the United States and the United Kingdom have agreed to partner the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on the multi-million naira Oduduwa Heritage Museum project.

Oba Ogunwusi who  disclosed this to the News  Agency of Nigeria in Lagos added that  the more than N500 million museum would have their permanent  locations  in  in Ile – Ife and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

He said  in addition to its permanent bases in Ile Ife and Brazil, it would also have mobile features for it to  be moved all over the world from both ends for the rest of the world to appreciate the  Yoruba Culture as  revered in Nigeria, Brazil, Cuba, UK and  in Brampton in  Canada.

He also told NAN that the  museum project  which  would be unveiled at the Brazillian Embassy  on Saturday would be  a priceless investment that would boost the image of the country before the international community.

” UNESCO and the Government of Brazil are already in partnership with us.We are in talks with British museum, Canada’s city of Brampton, which has the largest population of blacks.

” Also, we are partnering with  the Government  of Cuba that has had  a long term  bilateral relations with  the Kingdom of Ife,  and over 20 other countries.

“We  are partnering with  the Government of Brazil through the State  of Rio de Janeiro, the government of  Cuba and others to achieve our aim” he told NAN.

The Oba  said that the Obafemi Awolowo University ( OAU) and the University of Ibadan (UI)’sDepartments of History, Archaeology and Anthropology ,had been and  would  continue to be fully involved in the project.

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“This project will give birth to a lot opportunities: socially, culturally, traditionally and economically for all Nigerians,” he told NAN.

The Oba said that the project being pioneered  by the House of Oduduwa, would serve as the centrec for collection, preservation, , exhibition, and promotion of antiquities, treasures and traditional art forms of Africa.

“The Oduduwa Heritage Museum project  which is priceless, has to do with  the promotion of the ancestral lineage of Oduduwa people in the country and those in the Diaspora.

” A lot of work has gone into this; professionals and experts have put their  ideas  together to come out with a very detailed collection that has taken us over the years to put together”.

Ooni said that the priceless investment  also would involve  the collection of  artifacts and antiquities for posterity and to promote and preserve the Yoruba culture.

He added that the House of Oduduwa  had been working on the project  more than 20 years before he ascended  the throne.

According to Oba Ogunwusi, the international value and recognition that  the project will attract  to Nigeria has propelled him to continue with it since  he ascended the throne of his forebears.

” We have rare collections of gemstones, antiquities and other artifacts in Ile Ife,and  in Nigeria as a country  that can never be found elsewhere.

“We need to collect them and preserve them because they were part of what our forefathers left for us  and part of our cultural heritage.”

He said that there were other artifacts that  had been taken  away to other countries which we had been finding very hard to retrieve because  they are littered all over the world.

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He also disclosed that the largest diamond ever seen was taking  out of Ife in the  late 18th century.

 “An artiste, Damien Hirst,  once sold a piece of Ife golden head for over 110 million dollars and not a single dime entered our country.

“We have very ancient antiquities discovered from many places with some of our contemporary arts. One of our prominent art collectors got our display from United Kingdom  and was bought for a huge amount,” he  said.

The traditional ruler said that the museum would not just concentrate on monetary values but would also focus  on the impact it would have socially, culturally and economically on Nigeria.

He said that  the country is believed with several natural  and cultural assets and very huge  collections that are priceless and  required international insurance for their preservation and protection..

According to Ojaja II,  in the  history of the entire black race which is   the most populous people in Brazil are the Yoruba and that is why the House of Oduduwa chose to begin its partnership on the Oduduwa Heritage Museum project with Brazil.

He said that most people did not  know that there were more Yoruba people  in Brazil than in Nigeria, adding that over 100 million Yoruba peopl are living  in Brazil while  about 70 million are  in Nigeria.

“All over the world our ancestral beliefs are still being practised, especially in Brazil and Cuba.”

“Through the Oduduwa Heritage Museum,  the past and present pivotal roles and  contributions of Yoruba people , Nigeria and the black race to civilisation and nation building in  Africa will  be better  appreciated by Africans and the rest of the world.”

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” What we can do is to  display and continue to positively promote  who we are:  our past, our present   for generations yet unborn to appreciate and be proud of ,”  the Oba said.

The Ooni  said that the project  also would bring out the treasures of  Yorubaland ancestors  and by extension, Nigeria.

” Nigeria supplies between 30 percent and 40 per cent of gemstones being sold in Ireland and Hong Kong. We have a huge lot of it coming from Ife.

” If we train thousands of our  youths on  khow to handle these treasures, it will  provide huge jobs for them, reduce youth creativeness  and increase our GDP .

“We have gold in abundance and our ancestors had  used the mineral resources and others to their own  advantages in the past. We need to leverage on such opportunities for our  common good.”

 He added that several youths  would be trained and be exposed to  how they could refine such raw materials into   commercial products.

He added that the advocacy museum  would  be commercialized to boost the economy of the country,  as well as  give the country and Yoruba people, a better image.

” It is about time for us to appreciate our own.  It’s time for us to tell our stories ourselves,” he said, adding that would be the purpose that  the Oduduwa Heritage Museum would serve to the Yoruba people, Nigeria, Africa and the world.(NAN)

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