Kamari Ademiluyi is a British born Nigerian based in London. He works in a pharmaceutical generic company in UK. In an interview with Effects recently at ‘Westfield in Stratford, London, he talked about his job, the ongoing succession to the throne of the Ooni of Ife, why he thinks his younger brother should be the next Ooni of Ife and lots more. Excerpts:
What do you do in the UK?
I have always done programme management. I started up as a project manager in the IT industry, soft ware development, at the moment; I’m working with a pharmaceutical generic company called GENOMICS England LTD.
We are going to take the DNA of 100,000 people in UK, 50,000 of those will be cancer related people, and 50,000 are going to be very diseased and infectious disease related people.
Prior to now, if we do your DNA we try to find out the cause of any illness, to do the DNA test alone for one person cost over 1,000 pounds.
But we are trying to do it in such a way that we can create these initiatives and give it to the NHS and then people can be on the NHS and get a DNA test for free.
The programme on its own is 300 million pounds and I am the project manager for that. The main goal is to look at people’s DNA that have cancer, look at their parents, if one person got cancer then you get the mum and the dad. So, we get these people DNA and we check if it’s the mum or the dad’s DNA that causes the cancer or cannot cause the cancer.
We are just creating a database where the 100,000 people DNA is inside it and get all the big companies in the world to come in and do their research, it has never been done before in the UK. There are experts in the field but there are no deposits at the moment for them to come and work with. There is DNA everywhere but there’s no deposit for the company to walk in and find something.
At least, we’ve started the ball rolling. I programme managed that. As a back-up, I also work for my sister, Africa Fashion Week London, which from the onset, I am the project manager. We just had the fifth year of Africa Fashion Week London Show.
Tell us more about yourself
Kamari Ademiluyi is a prince. I am prince because I am from a royal family, the Ademiluyi family from Ile-Ife., Osun State, Nigeria.
Everyone calls me Kamari but my full name is Kamari Aderotimi Ademiluyi. We come from a big family, the Ademiluyi family, my mum was married to my dad until he passed away about 10 years ago and never married again.
She gave birth to four children. I am the first born. My sister, Ronke, my younger brother who we call CJ junior Adebolu Ademilyi, he bears the same name as my dad. My dad’s name is Prince Henry Adebolu Ademiluyi and the last born is Adebowale Ademiluyi.
My parents met in Nigeria but my dad and mum came to London to study. They worked here and they did their business here. My dad was a very successful businessman and he was also a lawyer.
He did many court cases here in London. He was quite successful and based upon his success, his family became the first black to live in Mayfair which is the most expensive place in London. I can remember, my dad had a brown Rolls Royce in 1975.
That shows how successful he was in his time. My mum also studied for her first degree in Agriculture; we are all born here except the last born. I was born in Kingston, my sister, Ronke was born in Royal Park in Camden, Junior was born also in Kingston and Debo was the only one born in Nigeria. We went back to Nigeria in 1977, we stayed there about 15 years, and we went to school before coming back to the UK.
Your family name, Ademiluyi is being touted as one that may likely produce the Ooni of Ife in future. What’s your take on that?
May the late Oni of Ife rest in peace. He was a great man, a highly influential man, and he’s put a lot of positivity to the outlook of Yorubaland . It’s not that he just got there and sat down as a king, he attracted a lot of industries and businesses to Ile-Ife. It’s official that he’s passed away now, so the space is now open for the next Ooni. It is four families that take turns in assuming the kingship of Ile-Ife. They are the Osinkola of Iremo, the Giesi house of Moore, the Orogun house of Ilare, and Lafogido.
Now, the next Ooni must come from one of these houses.To get to the throne, aside being influential and powerful,you must be a man of proven integrity.
My great grandfather was Ajagun Ademiluyi, he was a fierce warrior and he fought to protect the people of ile-ife and Osun State and based on that he was enthroned as king. I don’t see myself becoming an oba. My younger brother, CJ is in support of Debo. Debo is officially the Ooni in waiting from the Ademiluyi’s family. Debo lives in Oxford with his wife and children but he’s currently in Nigeria. Adebowale Ademiluyi is now the representive of the Ademiluyi clan.
But you are the first son, why shifting the obaship to the last born?
To be honest, I don’t think I have the drive to be a king. I like power, but in a different way. Probably, what affects my decision is that my dad at some point was contesting for the throne while he was alive. It was basically between my dad and Oba Sijuade at that time.
My dad spent so much money but he was conned by a lot of fraudsters. There’s one particular fraudster who stood behind my dad and egged him on, but unknown to my father, he was actually conning him. The guy is a magician in Nigeria; I think he has passed away now.
They call him Professor Peller. He basically took a lot of stuff from my dad, money, property, saying that he would work towards getting the kingship for my dad and at the same time he was working for the other side. Imagine you having a 100 acres of land and my dad gave him the land to go and represent him, that this man is worthy of kingship and what he did was to fraudulently take possession of the land.
Is this a true life story?
Yes, it’s a true life story. It’s known within the family. All those things broke my dad’s heart. Because of that, I don’t fancy the idea of becoming an oba. It’s a true story, why would my father be conned?
What makes you feel your brother is eligible for this position?
He’s as strong as me. We both have strong character. I know he will do a good job. He’s a man of integrity; he’s married with two children here in London. He’s done very well for himself. He’s got British citizenship. He talks straight, very bold, strong Christian, I know he will do a fantastic job. I know he will lead the people aright.
Is he ready to leave London to dwell in Ife, do all the traditional stuffs as Oba?
Remember, I said Debo was the last born and he was born in Nigeria. He has not lived in London for more than a year, all his life. He schooled in Nigeria, grew up in Nigeria, done his NYSC in Nigeria.
He’s always going to Ife, he’s known to all the chiefs and kingmakers, he’s very institutional and very proud of his origin. Over here, I’m known as Mr Kamari Aderotimi Ademiluyi, but my brother is Prince Adebowale Ademiluyi, he has prince on his passport, bank account, driving licence, he always has that pride of the son of a king, or grandson of a king. He’s always in touch with everyone over there.
Being an oba is no joke, the traditional, fetish aspect of it. How would he cope?
We are in a technology age now, we are moving forward. There were some stories recently about ‘Aboba Ku’. That he ran away. If you look deep down inside it there was never anything like that.
All these things happened in the olden days. The idea actually came from Egypt. It’s a very old idea but now you are not killing anyone just because the king is dead. It’s just ignorance. We don’t do it. There is no such thing, it’s just rumour. The guy is not running anywhere, he’s still there.
You are married to an Ibo lady, how did you meet her?
I have been married now for five years. I met my wife through a friend of my sister. We have a two-year-old daughter, we are working on another child and she is from Mgbidi in Owerri. She came over here over 20 years ago. She has done well for herself.
How is it like getting married to an Ibo?
We are all Nigerians, that is the whole point. After my marriage, I started noticing a lot of inter-cultural marriages going on. A lot of Ibos marrying Yorubas, a lot of Yorubas marrying Ibos, even Hausas too. Before it was stay with your tribe but now, the boundaries are widening, people are now crossing over. -The Sun