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Ooni Ogunwusi Gives Insight About Ancient Ife Glass Technology, Says "Our Ancestors Started Physics, Other High-Techs"

The Arole Oduduwa and Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, on Wednesday gave a deep insight about the culture and practice of glass technology in the ancient town, submitting that the Yorubas commenced what is today known as physics and other high technological studies globally.

Ooni Ogunwusi said this at the Igbo Olokun heritage site, during the on-site exhibition and opening of the ancient Igbo Olokun Heritage site, a location where the prominent Ori Olokun bronze head was discovered and excavated in 1910 and taken to the British Museum where it is till date.

Addressing newsmen, the Ooni who expressed his heartfelt joy over the event, added that it is a further attestation of the prominent fact that Ile-Ife is the cradle of civilization.

"During a research in the 18th century, a British scientist known as Richard Landner led a team to a market in the Old Oyo empire known as Katingua where they found some precious items. When they asked the Oyo people, they said such items could be only gotten from Ife; where they all came from.

"When the researcher traced it down to Ife in 1830, he was marvelled to see a very broad-based technology rolling out glass technology in millions and trading it across the world. Other researchers came in the early 19th century, they kept digging and that was when they saw the Yoruba's identity; Ori Olokun and took it to the British Museum.

"We are the first material scientists as far as Physics, Chemistry and other high technologies are concerned. We started the glass technology here, before you all are items of over four thousand years ago that stands as evidence to justify the claim." Ooni Ogunwusi said.

On the repatriation of artifacts and antiquities of Yoruba origin, Ooni Ogunwusi admonished that such call must be genuine and be backed by ability to secure the historical items.

"It is good to request and celebrate the repatriation of these artifacts but the most important is for us to plug it appropriately, for cultural and economic use. That is why we are working with our tertiary institutions including the Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Ibadan and others to ensure that we have a successful repatriation." Ooni Ogunwusi added.

Osun State Governor, Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola who commended the Ooni for his efforts towards reviving the agelong Yoruba culture, stated that there are lots of economic benefits embedded in the promotion of arts and culture.

Represented by the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Hon. Adebisi Obawale, the Governor who described the ancient city of Ife as a land of riches, revealed that the government is currently working with the Ooni to ensure that Ile-Ife attains a special tourism status similar to that of Jerusalem and Mecca where people visit regularly for pilgrimage.

In his goodwill message, the Director-General of the National Commission for Museum and Monuments, Prof. Abba Isa Tijani, explained that artifacts such as discoveries from the Igbo Olokun Heritage site, can be used for cultural cooperation and understand in the face of the current challenges confronting the country.

Earlier in his opening address, the guest curator who is a researcher from the British Museum, Dr. Abidemi Babalola, explained that he was fascinated to undertake the huge task since 2009 due to the report of early researchers.

"What we do hear is that the glass technology which is the oldest material created by man on earth was only invented in the Middle East and also the ancient Egypt and then spread across the world. But what we are seeing here today contradicts that as the ancient people practiced glass technology on a very large scale and distribute it across the world." Dr. Babalola said.

In the same vein, a professor of Archeology from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Adisa Ogunfolakan, thanked the Ooni for his unending support for cultural practices across Yoruba land.

The professor who cautioned a section of the public from tagging the Ooni as promoter of idolatry practices, added that the ways of Yoruba ancestors should be taught in school towards the institutionalization of the prestigious Yoruba culture.

The Igbo Olokun Heritage site was an indigenous glassmaking industry dating over 1000 years ago, it was the location where the prominent Ori Olokun bronze head was excavated and taken to the British Museum in 1910.

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