Plans are currently underway to transform Ile-Ife, the ancestral home of over 100 million Yoruba descendants all over the world to a global tourist hub.
The initiative being spearheaded by the Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Ojaja II in conjunction with international business conglomerate Almajdal Limited seeks to transform Ile-Ife into world Heritage city, an economic stronghold and a tourist destination in Africa.
Almajdal is an international construction organization with branches in Africa, Europe and Asia.
The group is also working with Tropical Green City Foundation, an environmental friendly group.
Estimated to cost several billions of naira, the promoters say upon completion, the project would stir immense wealth and job creation and attract millions of tourists to the ancient city.
The Ooni of Ife was quoted in a statement as saying: “The project involves re-construction and beautification of ancient sites, city parks, new boulevards, greenery of the city centers, redesign of the city main boulevard, outskirts and other legacy projects in line with the idea to create the necessary impetus for Ile-Ife and Yoruba cultural renaissance.
“The Yoruba people all over the world and Nigeria as a country will be grateful to see the success of the amazing project with the highest assurances that the promoters will have their names etched in gold,” Ooni said.
Oba Ogunwusi is currently in California USA where he is meeting with potential investors including stakeholders in the famous Silicon Valley.
The project will also enhance research-based and knowledge-driven economy in Nigeria with the South West as the peg, the statement added.
Countries with huge population of Yoruba ancestry in West Africa and Latin America will be enlisted in the project.
“We are set for a legacy project that will uplift one of the oldest cities in the world and put it on the global tourist map. It involves rebuilding the over 200 historical and archaeological sites dating back to the 8th century as well as construction of the Yoruba Museum of Natural History and the Yoruba Ancient War Museum.
Also as part of the project, the vault of Oduduwa, the first Ooni of Ile-Ife who died around late 9th Century would be remodeled just as the Garden of Saints of late Oonis including botanical gardens and fountains across the city would be beatified.
No fewer than one million trees of different species are also to be planted in il-Ife alone in a bid to create a green revolution while rare species of plants and animals will be conserved, the executive director Almajdal Wali Kutrub said.
Kutrub said: “Ile-Ife is one of the oldest cities in the world.
“Tourism built around history and heritage is a major source of multi-billions naira revenue for nations all over the world. Nigeria is about to tap this immense resources beginning with the Ile-Ife project.”
He said millions of tourists from Europe, America and Asia are anxious to visit Ile-Ife but are constrained by environmental factors.