The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has charged researchers to study the age-long relationship between the Yoruba natives and the Igbo people of South-east Nigeria so as to deepen their knowledge of African history.
He made this call on Thursday while hosting a monarch, Chukwuemeka Eri, Ezeora 34th, from Anambra State.
Mr Ogunwusi said the Igbo people, globally known for economic prowess, have identical culture with their Yoruba counterparts in the South-west part of the country.
“Africa must unite for peace and progress across board, I am sure that if Igbo people and their Yoruba brothers come together, Africa will unite”, he said.
“I am so happy to receive you all and I must say that today is one of my happiest moments on this throne. I feel proud of you on your achievements within the last 42 years of reign on the throne of your ancestors.
“I have been having sleepless night because my ancestors have been visiting me that black race must unite. This coincided with my mandate of peace and unity that I have preached around the globe. No race should be left behind,” the Ooni said.
“Your Eri kingdom is one of the oldest kingdoms in Igboland. We Yoruba have strong ties with Igbos because no Igbo man can do without kolanut which only grows in Yorubaland, we must therefore relate together as members of the dame family, this is the best way we can enjoy lasting peaceful coexistence as Nigerians.
“Ile-Ife is your home and you are always welcome. We, in Ife are only the custodians of the great family worldwide because all the citizens of the world migrated from Ife.”
In his speech titled, “Royal Handshake Across The Niger”, Eze Chukwuemeka Eri appreciated the roles played by the Ooni to open up the relationship between the Yoruba and Igbos.
“Thank you Imperial Majesty, we have been projecting this historical dimension, though not using your platform and since you have echoed same from different angle, there seems to be some kind of historical treasure hidden somewhere about the relationship between Yoruba and Igbo.
“One of the best ways to unravel this mystery is to encourage inter-ethnic visits especially during cultural activities,” he said.
The Eze Ndigbo of Ife, Ezekiel Onyejekwe, while reacting, said the visit is a historic homecoming for the visiting Igbo monarch.
“The Ndigbo will fully support the Ooni of Ife in his peace and unity mission, irrespective of the hues and cries by the uninformed mischief makers who are mere attention seekers.”