IITA chief recognized for achievements by traditional king of Yoruba in Nigeria

15 November 2021

Ibadan, Nigeria — The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Enitan Adeyeye, Ojaja II, will confer the title of Aare Afurugbin Ola of the Source (Lead Sower of Wealth and Prosperity of the House Oduduwa) on the Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr Nteranya Sanginga. Dr Sanginga is also the Regional Director of CGIAR, a global partnership that unites international organizations engaged in research about food security.

The conferment, which will take place at Ile Oodua, Ooni’s palace, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria, is in recognition of Dr Sanginga’s achievements as one of the illustrious sons of Africa who has contributed immensely to the development and promotion of the financial and economic stability and growth of the continent.

The Ooni (king), who is one of the most powerful and influential traditional rulers in Africa, sits in Ile-Ife, the cradle of the Yoruba people—the largest ethnic group in West Africa.

The Ooni (king) of Ife (right), Oba Enitan Adeyeye, Ojaja II, will confer the Aare Afurugbin-Ola of ‘The Source’, Oduduwa land (Lead Sower of Wealth and Prosperity, of the House of Oduduwa) on Dr Nteranya Sanginga, Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on 11 December 2021 in recognition of his achievements that have contributed immensely to the development and promotion of the financial and economic stability and growth of the African continent. Photo by Olusegun Adebayo, IITA.

Dr Sanginga is a citizen of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and had spent a large part of his career in Nigeria and is the first African to head IITA.

In 2018, Dr Sanginga, on behalf of IITA, received the Africa Food Prize for the trailblazing research leadership of the institute in Nigeria and the continent which has impacted positively on the lives and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers.

The Institute was cited for “generating solutions on and off the farm that have improved the lives of millions in the face of climate change, a surge of crop pests and diseases, and an urgent need for youth employment.”

In 2016, IITA also received the Al-Sumait Award for Food Security for its sustained efforts in undertaking groundbreaking research and development that continues to positively affect the lives of millions on the African continent.

The Ooni of Ife, Arole Oduduwa Olofin Adimula, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the natural head of the entire Oodua Race worldwide, will confer the title of Aare Afurugbin Ola of the Source (Lead Sower of Wealth and Prosperity of the House Oduduwa) on Dr Sanginga on 11 December at a conferment ceremony to be held at Ile Oodua (Ooni’s palace), Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.

The conferment of the title is indeed an honor that is well respected and regarded, not only in Yorubaland, but also in Africa.

Since he assumed office in 2011, Dr Sanginga has displayed exceptional commitment to initiatives which have placed the African continent on the global stage, especially in the agricultural arena.

Over the past 50 years, IITA, through its various programs, provided farmers on the continent with innovations that promoted food and nutritional security and safety, increased food production, raised yield of major food crops, reduced poverty levels, decreased postharvest losses, promoted mechanization of agriculture, and generated jobs and wealth creation for young people and women in the agricultural sector, among others.

IITA is known for its world-class innovative research that has lifted millions of African farmers out of peasant farming and given them the opportunity to practice agriculture on a more profitable scale through agribusiness. It is one of 13 research centers under CGIAR, which aims to reduce rural poverty, increase food security, improve human health and nutrition, and sustainable management of natural resources.

To develop the next generation of farmers, agribusiness entrepreneurs, and science leaders, IITA under Sanginga built the research capacity of national agricultural systems in sub-Saharan Africa, provided opportunities for young scientists and entrepreneurs to adopt and introduce various agricultural technologies while also developing the skills of young people to become self-employed and employers of labor in the agricultural sector.

The conferment event, which is the first of international honorary chieftaincy in the reign of the current king—the 51st Oonirisa of Ile-Ife—will host captains of industries from all over Africa, Heads of state, former Heads of state, diplomats from within and outside Africa, politicians of repute, members of the development community, and other stakeholders in the diaspora.

This event is also expected to promote the socioeconomic and cultural ties between Nigeria and Dr Sanginga’s country—the Democratic Republic of Congo, two of Africa’s most endowed countries in terms of human and natural resources.


About IITA, iita.org

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is a not-for-profit institution that generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation. Working with various partners across sub-Saharan Africa, we improve livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security, increase employment, and preserve natural resource integrity. IITA is a member of CGIAR, a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future.


About Oonirisa
“Oònirìsà” means caretaker of the “Orisa” (Oracle, deity, the Almighty). The Ooni of Ife is the traditional ruler of Ile-Ife, whose dynasty goes back hundreds of years. Ifè is also known as Ilé-Ifè̀, an ancient Yoruba city in south-western Nigeria. Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi is the 51st Ooni of Ife.

Media contacts
Katherine Lopez, Head of Communication, IITA
Email: k.lopez@cgiar.org, Tel. +234 8039784454

Moses Olafare, Director Public Affairs, Ile Oodua, Ile Ife
Email: myvisionsocial@gmail.com, Tel. +234 8033588148