Forest Heights hosts African prince
Visit looks to promote stronger relations between U.S., Africa
Promoting stronger relations to further development and investment opportunities between Africa and the U.S., the Town of Forest Heights hosted his imperial majesty Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, during his visit to the Forest Heights Municipal Building on June 16.
Ogunwusi arrived in true royal fashion as he and his wife were led by an entourage of about 50 people including security personnel, dancers, assistants and other dignitaries from Nigeria, most of whom were dressed in long colorful African dashikis and print skirts.
“What we are extending to his majesty is an offer, an invitation to be our sister city,” said Town of Forest Heights Mayor Jacqueline Goodall, who is also president of Maryland Black Mayors Inc.. “And in that, I hope that we can be able to begin to build some international relationships with them to have a further understanding of not only his city, but also to open up a relationship with the other kings and government entities of Nigeria. I believe it’s so important that we here in America, and especially Prince George’s County, that we begin to have a better relationship and that we begin to understand that we need each other in order for us to prosper.”
When it comes to helping the county prosper, Goodall says she always considers how new relationships will benefit the residents.
“I know in the past that Prince George’s County has had real dialogue with other African countries. One of the things that I have done is I’ve spoke to the African council and they explained to me that there is not as much emphasis now being put on the relationship with Africa. … I began to understand that there is so many job opportunities for import and export. There’s also a greater understanding that we must have of our African counties but particularly Nigeria, which is one of the fastest growing countries. Their [gross domestic product] is like No. 6 in the emerging countries in the world. So we as business people should pay attention to that and we should begin to build these relationships and not be left out.”
As an astute entrepreneur driven by turning impossibilities to possibilities, Ogunwusi has a clear track record of community development starting with his hometown in Nigeria. He set up and fostered strong trade relationships through the Association for International Business with a presence in more than 200 member countries across the globe. One of the achievements of this body includes the trade facilitation between the United Arab Emirates — Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone Development — and the federal government of Nigeria through the Nigeria Investment
Promotion Commission, according to a biography from his website.
“We have before us a king who is a people’s king. A king who has made peace, unity and love. A king whose enterprising has the love for the development of humanity starting not just in Nigeria, [but throughout] Africa,” said Continental African Council Director Remi Duyile, a Nigerian American who was recently appointed director of the Maryland Democratic Party’s Continental African Diversity Leadership Council. “A leader in Africa who is already impacting lives and needs the support of all of us to ensure that we leave full in this planet Earth and do the best that we need to do.”
Ogunwusi has forged respectable alliances with some of the most esteemed royal fathers, leaders and kings. He led Nigeria’s government delegation to Canada in 2002 which promoted strategic alliances through a partnership with the Ondo State Government on solid mineral — bitumen, dimension stones, granite, etc. — potentials of the state, which gave rise to the formation of the Amalgamated Mining and Exploration Company Limited. During that same year, Ogunwusi was able to revitalize the processing of rice and setting them into different groups and sub categories. He donated rice and tilling equipments to the Oyo and Ogun state chapters of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, according to his biography.
“I am very delighted for us to connect back to our blood brothers and sisters because I always say, ‘The greatest joy in this world is joy of origination,’” Ogunwusi said as he gave opening remarks to constituents and his entourage. “For the world to be a better place, we should all come together and live like one big happy family. It is very important for us to realize that we should all come together to make this world a better place.”
Ogunwusi was involved in the trading and market- ing of commodities as the main facilitator for Dangote Group’s break into the up-country supply chain consortium between 1996 and 1999. To mention a few, he traded for Dohagro Allied, Global Apex, Olam, Clemco, Stallion Group and Milan Group at about the same period. He also facilitated the biggest lead and aluminum recycling plant set up in Nigeria by the National Steel Company of India in Ota, Ogun State, according to the biography.
Furthermore, Ogunwusi led a team that opened up a remote jungle called Inagbe Island in Amuwo-Odofin LGA, Lagos. The team transformed Inagbe Island into a whole new community offering world class relaxation and recreational facilities. The multi-billion Naira Inagbe Grand Resorts and Leisure is the first of its kind in the whole of West Africa bounded by the Lagos Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. With this feat, Ogunwusi aims to increase Nigeria’s GDP through tourism and reduce unemployment by providing direct and indirect employment, the biog- raphy also noted.
“Our supreme being created us to be leaders,” Ogunwusi said. “No other person can do it; it’s only us. It’s a sacrifice for the entire mankind.”
Ogunwusi is set to visit the White House in Washington, D.C., this week where he will receive the Ambassador of Peace Award for his work.
“We are cut from the same cloth,” Ogunwusi said after Goodall presented him with a proclamation, letter of friendship and honorary life membership into the Maryland Black Mayors Inc. “The entire black race, the continent of Africa is all yours. Let us come together.”
Town of Landover Hills Mayor Lee P. Walker receives a token of appreciation from Prince Ogunwusi for his participation in the initiative.
Town of Forest Heights Mayor Jacqueline Goodall, left, presents a proclamation to Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, during his visit to the Forest Heights Municipal Building on June 16. Ogunwusi — who also received a letter of friendship and an honorary life membership into the Maryland Black Mayors, Inc. — is visiting select cities throughout the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area to further development and investment relations between Africa and the U.S. The White House will host Ogunwusi this week to honor him with a peace ambassador award.
Prince Ogunwusi presents a special plaque to Goodall to symbolize his agreement to work together and build stronger relations with the Town of Forest Heights and Prince George’s County.
Continental African Council Director Remi Duyile introduces Prince Ogunwusi before he takes the podium. Duyile is a Nigerian American who was recently appointed director of the Maryland Democratic Party’s Continental African Diversity Leadership Council in December 2015.