The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, says that Nigeria is among the countries in the world endowed with the best purified gold and gemstones that can change her economic and social narratives positively.
Oba Ogunwusi spoke during the official unveiling of the Oduduwa Heritage Mobile Museum late on Saturday at the Brazilian Embassy in Lagos.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that covered the event reports that the inauguration was performed by Oba Ogunwusi, founder of the House of Oduduwa Foundation, and the Acting Consul-General of Brazil in Lagos, Mr Helges Bandeira
The event also coincided with the 197th independence anniversary of Brazil that gained independence from Portugal on Sept. 7, 1822.
“Today is a great honour for our country and Brazil, what we are doing is a very strong strategic alliance between Brazil and the Kingdom of Ife.
”It is basically to showcase our ancestral treasures and our roots, we need to tell our stories ourselves because nobody can tell it for us,” he said.
According to the monarch, our motive is to tell the world about Nigeria and what stuffs we are made of. It is a shame that we have so much treasures, yet, we are in abject poverty.
The monarch then urged Nigerians to wake up from their slumbers instead of crying over spilt milk.
” Some people used to export our raw gold to other countries, refine them there and bring them back for us to buy at exorbitant prices.
“We also have the best gemstones in the world, which can be found from the southwest to Northern Nigeria, no country can beat us in terms of their colours,” he said.
Oba Ogunwusi decried the taking of these treasures out of the country for others to benefit which never added any value to Nigerians through such processes.
” Our people will dig the ground for gold, discover them and some people will buy them for just 10 dollars from our people
“When they had processed it, they will bring them back to us in return and sell them to us for 10,000 dollars.
“The annoying thing is that when they are returned, they will no longer bear the identity of our country but a foreign one and our people will begin to value them more,” he said.
The traditional ruler noted that most foreign countries depended on Nigeria for these treasures, yet, they blossomed with what they tapped from our country and that was what was the focus.
” We are trying to wake up Nigerians from their slumber to admire and possess our treasures.
“We, of the House of Oduduwa Foundation, have discovered and processed these monuments ourselves, none was done outside Nigeria.
“We are trying to tell ourselves that we can truly discover, process, and polish our treasures ourselves, to add value to what Nigerian youths can do with their hands.
” This can further be done by our youths by setting up so many industries where we can positively engage them,” he said.
The cultural promoter said that out of the entire population of Brazil he put at over 200 million, he said that the population of Yoruba people there was no less than 70 million.
He said that this had made the Brazilian Government to appreciate the importance of the Yoruba heritage in their midst which was why the synergy came about.
“This priceless museum project, which has taken several years to gather, will be strongly routed in Brazil and Cuba, because of the strong alliance between them and the Oduduwa people.
” It is meant to change our narratives and perspectives across the world with our mission of moving it around the world beginning with over 30 countries that will start with Nigeria.
” Some of Tpthese monuments and antiquities, over a thousand in number, are over six thousand years age .
“We have been able to display between 63 items and 70 items out of them.
” We want to change our narratives socially, culturally, economically and otherwise, ” he said.
” We are starting from Nigeria since charity begins at home. We will be having strong alliance with some companies and financial institutions because it is a capital intensive project.
” We need the partnership as well as have an insurance policy that will secure our treasures because of their worth,” he said.
Also speaking, the Acting Consul-General of Brazil in Lagos, Mr Helges Bandeira, appreciated Nigeria for giving his country the honour of showcasing African heritage for Africans.
“It is a great honour to celebrate our country’s independence in alliance with a great cultural heritage as this Oduduwa Heritage Mobile Museum project.
” Everybody in Brazil is familiar with Yoruba people and their culture, some of us even speak the language, the Ooni has been to Brazil and acknowledged this.
“This project is Africa, showcasing Africans to Africa and the rest of the world,” he said.
The ceremony included a tour of the different sites of the monuments and artifacts on display led by the royal father in company with diplomats, other traditional rulers and some Nollywood stars.