The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has unveiled a 42-feet tall Moremi Statute of Liberty in honour of one of the greatest heroine, Moremi Ajasoro, who died many years ago.
The Director, Media and Public Affairs of the Ooni’s Palace, Mr. Moses Olafare, who said this in a statement in Osogbo on Tuesday, said the statute was the tallest in Nigeria and the third tallest in Africa.
The historic event witnessed by over 5,000 youths from all over Nigeria took place at the New World Class Heritage Site. The construction of the huge statute was done 100 per cent by some youths inside the compound where the Heroine of Liberty lived thousands of years ago in Ife.
The team of almost 200 Nigerian youths was led by the sculptor who is the head of the Ooni’s Palace Art Gallery, Victor Badejo, and the palace engineer, Simeon Adeyinka.
The monarch said the construction of the statute by Nigerians showed that Nigerian youths could do great things if they were properly engaged and motivated by the government.
The statement partly read, “The 42-feet Moremi Statue of Liberty in Ile-Ife is the tallest statue in Nigeria and third tallest in Africa envisioned by Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, and 100 per cent indigenously constructed by a team of almost 200 Nigerian youths led by the sculptor who is the head of the Ooni’s Palace Art Gallery, Victor Badejo and the palace engineer, Simeon Adeyinka.
“While the African tallest statue is the 161-feet African Renaissance Monument in Dakar, Senegal was built by a North Korean company, Mansudae Overseas Projects Ltd. followed by the 66-feet Great Sphinx of Gisa in Egypt as the African second tallest statue.”
The Ooni said dependence on foreign goods and services was what was rendering youths unemployed in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, saying this must be changed in order to make Africa truly independent.
“These Nigerian and African youths are naturally endowed, and with the level of their education and training, they are the materials needed to develop this country and the continent of Africa. It surprises me that our governments across Africa still encourage capital flight by always giving the jobs to the foreigners at the expense of our youths, several of whom are more qualified and competent to do the jobs.
“I am proud to say that this project is the first of its kind to be 100 per cent indigenously constructed, all of them numbering about 200 are youths and all the materials used were sourced locally from the 774 local government areas in Nigeria.
“I want to stress that Nigeria has the manpower that can create, construct, and build standard and original goods, I therefore appeal to the governments in Africa to empower them and give them the chance to display their capacities.”
Prof. Wole Soyinka’s daughter, Mrs. Moremi Onijala, who was also present at the ceremony, said she believed in the life of Moremi for what she represented.
Onijala said that her father, Soyinka, had named her Moremi with the hope that she would grow to lead in the path of freedom the way Moremi Ajasoro did.