An African King Visits Silicon Valley - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

African king Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II recently visited Silicon Valley to understand the technology landscape and figure out how to create partnerships between the U.S. and the African continent, specifically Nigeria. His mission, while here, is to start conversations around building a bridge between Nigeria and Silicon Valley’s powerful technology community.

To give context, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, born Oct. 17, 1974, is the 51st monarch and Ooni of Ife. This title is reserved for the king of some 50 million Nigerians of the Yoruba ethnic group.

The event was hosted by the Silicon Valley-Nigerian Economic Development Inc. (SV-NED Inc.) and African Technology Foundation, led by Stephen Ozoigbo and consisted of a two-day tech tour making stops at some of the most popular technology destinations. These locations included the California State Senator’s Office, Stanford University, Tesla Motors, Google, and YouTube.

The tour was arranged by Chief Temitope Ajayi, also known as Mama Diaspora by the Nigerian community, who has deep connections with many Silicon Valley companies.

 

 

King, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II and Royal Family (Image: Muyekconcepts)

King Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II and Royal Family (Image: Muyekconcepts)

 

On the first day of his visit, his evening culminated with an extravagant dinner party, where everyone was draped in their traditional African attire.

Some of the presenters included:

  • Seun Olagunju: Ooni of Ife lineage appraisal
  • Deborah Magid, director of software strategy, IBM Venture Capital Group
  • Bolaji Ajayi, award-winning and best-selling author of Akiti the Hunter children’s book series: Dedication to the Ooni of Ife
  • Dr. Sam Haddad, Ph.D. professor, Stanford University Nigeria’s Immersion Program
  • Carl Davis Jr., president of Silicon Valley Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Deanna Tyron, chief of protocol, Silicon Valley Office of Protocol: Award presentation to the Ooni of Ife
  • Awards presented were issued by Office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee; Office of the Mayor of Santa Clara, Lisa Gillmor; and California Legislature Assembly
  • Omo Oduduwa, Music by The Talented Band (Yinka Ayefele Boys); Engineer Yemi Martins, master of ceremony and dance

 

His Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, spoke about the reason he decided to do this tour and why it was important for him from a cultural perspective. “Whatever we can do, in whatever little way, we should all come together to make sure our heritage is in a better place,” said the royal.

 

King, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II and Mama Diaspora (Image: Kimi Alli)

King Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II and Mama Diaspora (Image: Kimi Alli)

 

Additionally, other sponsors and partners came to the table to ensure that the king had a proper visit. These parties included PagePedia, African Technology Foundation, IBM, Cisco, Silicon Valley Capital Club, Church Brothers Farms, True Leaf Farms, Yoruba Heritage International and, of course, Black Enterprise. 

 

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Sequoia Blodgett

Sequoia Blodgett is a Reporter for Black Enterprise. She is also the founder of Commas, a consulting firm that gives entrepreneurs access to top tech and creative resources to help them grow their business.


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