Her Royal Majesty, Oloori Wuraola Zynab Otiti Ogunwusi, the wife of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi has been very busy for the past few months.As you read this, this delectable wife of the Ooni of Ife has been neck deep in preparations for her forthcoming concert for the less priviledged tagged GIVE BACK Concert. It is an initiative of her compassion for helping the less privileged. Since she became Oloori, she has been busy helping Orphans, Orphanages, development of women and children across the south-west region of Nigeria, around the country and beyond.The Olori Wuraola Orphan Aid Project is an initiative under The House of Oduduwa foundation aimed at empowering the less privileged children in Nigeria regardless of their cultural and religious affiliations.THE ORPHAN AID PROJECT is committed to helping orphaned children fulfill their potential by assisting in the renovation of local orphanages while providing food and supplies for orphans in rural areas of Nigeria and across Africa.Orphans are society’s lost children–homeless and without parents, they are often a group without hope. These children have lost their parents and family due to the devastating effects of war, drought, famine and economic hardships, bringing with them malnutrition, disease and hopelessness. These vulnerable children face a disastrous future without our immediate intervention.She says her Orphan Aid project is able to support these needy children through humanitarian aid and takes pleasure in putting smiles on the faces of the less privileged, by reaching out and showing love through her Giveback Concert slated to hold on the 24th of February, 2017 at the Eko Hotels Lagos, with performances from top Nigerian artists, Cobhams Asuquo, 2face, Darey art Alade and many others.The “GIVEBACK CONCERT” is an initiative envisioned to excellently achieve a medium where the Orphans in the country can have a sense of belonging in the Society. The initiative is aimed at exploring the gifts and talents embedded in the less privileged children and expose them to opportunities capable of delivering them as stars into the Nigerian Society and the world at large.It is a fund raising project where over Twenty (20) orphanages are billed to be restored from the proceeds of the concert, so the community at large is needed to support in reaching out to these children. Funds realized will be used to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of their structures, activities and programs designed to ensure adequate and proper nurturing of all the children under their care.Last week, in an exclusive interview with City People’s VIVIAN ONUORAH, the ever gorgeous and beautiful Olori spoke about her pet project, life as the queen of Ife, her love for white and lots more. Its her first major interview.
What is the Olori Wuraola Orphan Aid Project all about?
The Orphan Aid Project is an initiative that is tailored to provide life support for orphans in orphanages across Nigeria. It is a platform through which we ensure in our own capacity, that these orphaned children are being fed, provided with medicare, that they attend schools and that their housing structures are in habitable conditions. We try to ensure that some of the fundamentals that parents give their children, such as love and care, are made available to these children.
What inspired the project?
The project was borne out of compassion for human lives. There are so many areas of need for the socially challenged. There are the physically challenged, the mentally challenged, those in need of rehabilitation from traumatized lives, the list can go on and on. But I discovered that in all these groups, the most vulnerable are the children who are having to grow up without the privilege of belonging to homes and having families to form their foundations on. No one who is not an orphan can tell how it feels to be an orphan. Only an orphan knows how it feels. There are certain shocks that will last them a life time if God does not help. Who, for instance will inspire them to work hard and succeed as a role model? Who is to care for their emotional needs? Who is to give them a sense of security and belonging? Who is to step in the gap and ensure that these orphans are guided into the future with good chances of survival? These are some of the questions that after pondering, I was moved to do my best to help.
The Upcoming Giveback Concert is quite a huge event, how do you plan to sponsor that? or do you already have sponsors for the event?
We have quite a number of friendly brands who have come on board to support us and we are very grateful. But there is so much left to be done. And you know, the event is already close by, on the 24th of February at Eko Convention Center in Eko Hotel. It is important to note that the real reward for doing things like this is from God. You are making yourself a channel of blessing through which God is reaching these children, you will not go unrewarded. We are still hopeful of more people coming on board to help move the cause.
Is it going to be an annual show and why the choice of Lagos State as venue of the event?
Yes from feedbacks already, we have seen that it will have to be an annual event. Most of the people we have spoken to are so happy that a platform like this has finally emerged to take the advocacy for the plight of orphaned children to greater echelons of public consciousness and to provide a means of channeling resources to them. We have seen that the platform has to be sustained and enlarged to increase the positive impact on the lives of these orphaned children. So it will be an annual event. And we chose Lagos as an easier avenue to connect people from all geographical zones and across economic strata. Lagos is still part of Nigeria. We are focused on the core issue which is fundraising to help the needy, more than anything else. The location was chosen to maximize the opportunities within towards achieving the goal of fundraising.
Your foundation has a special focus on women and children, is there any special reason behind that?
It is all about being a voice to the voiceless. Women, children and youth generally are often swept to the back when issues of development and empowerment arise because they are often not enabled to fight for themselves. It is one of the objectives of the House of Oduduwa Foundation to deliver assistance to the more vulnerable and unprotected sections of the society. That is why we focus on women and children.
You seem to have a soft spot for reaching out to the less privileged. Has that always been part of you or did it come as part of your role as the queen?
It has always been part of me, but being the Oloori has also provided an enablement to expand my reach of those in need of help. I am able to gather more assistance from the very privileged and to channel it to the less privileged. It is an opportunity to play a value adding role in the lives of people.
How has the experience been for you in the last 10 months as the queen of the great Ife Kingdom?
Being a queen comes with a lot of expectations and a lot of responsibilities. It is a duty to meet the expectations and to manage the privileges for maximum positive impact on the lives of those around me. It is a chance to be selfless and to give a good account of what I have been given. It helps a lot to think of what I can do for others rather than what others can do for me.
Its barely a year since you assumed your role as the queen but you have made a great impact within that short time, what would you attribute that to?
Like I said, it is a sense of duty and responsibility. There are things that no one would query you for not doing, yet history will record that you didn’t do what you could have done. History is written not in books, but in the lives of people. That is why it is not every one that has ever lived that you read about after they are gone. Also considering the amount of need in so many places, especially the rural areas, it is very difficult to fold one’s hands and watch.
What is your official role as the queen?
Fundamentally being the wife of the Ooni of course. But then one naturally assumes the position of being the voice of the voiceless and a source of softer considerations for issues and cases that need a more humane approach. In my personal efforts, I try to assist with women and children.
What is your typical day like?
My typical day is busy. There is no day that is not pre-planned ahead, and then you also get surprises in between, But every day starts with waking up, saying my prayers, taking care of my family and then get the day started.
You have been saddled with an enormous responsibility as the mother of a great kingdom and you are doing a tremendous job of it, where do you draw your strength?
Well, thanks for the compliment but I am sure I am not trying to win medals or to exceed any records. Like I said, a lot can be done and I am trying my best. My strength comes from first of all knowing my limitations and trying to maximize all that is available within my means. If it qualifies as a ‘tremendous job’ as you said, I thank God.
Despite your new dress code of strictly white, you have remained stylish with your regalia, what informs your fashion style?
First wearing white for me was before the role so I was already used to it prior to becoming the queen.Then when you become a reference point, and you want to inspire those that can be inspired, you make the extra efforts to balance everything. My policy is moderation and modesty in everything, including what I wear and truly, it is not difficult.
How does it feel having to wear all white all the time?
It feels great and wearing white isn’t simply about fashion for me there is a strong significance to it. But one must fit into it like a habit. If you ask a banker, “how does it feel to have to look corporate all the time?” he may say “what other way is there to look?”
Can you give us a detailed profile of Her Majesty Olori Wuraola Ogunwusi?
I was born in Benin and grew up between Nigeria and every other part of the world that I lived at different times in my life, no matter how brief it was I learnt a lot from them all. From Europe to the Middle East, am a child of the world and that truly helped my soul to grow. I have always been interested in the whole business of buying and selling. There was some satisfaction to the idea of being able to turn money around. And I also have a certain love for visual merchandising. I love the whole idea of a beautiful store. I remember having one of the best lingerie boutiques in Abuja because I had seen a lingerie boutique in Rotterdam and I wanted to replicate same here. But real estate was more my area from the days of buying and selling homes in Dubai prior to the real estate meltdown that crippled most people at the time, to developing and selling, I went ahead to study Interior Designing because I love the whole idea of bringing an empty space alive, there was something fulfilling about moving furniture and seeing the facelift little additions can give to a space. And I further went to study architecture and not long after I started practicing was when I got married to the king.
What are your hobbies?
I love reading and writing. I used to enjoy traveling a lot too I don’t know if I should call that a hobby but it was definitely great seeing exotic places as part of leisure.