By Gbenga Olarinoye
OSOGBO—Dignitaries from all walks of life yesterday converged on the ancient town of Ile-Ife for the first anniversary of a foremost traditional ruler of the town, late Oba Okunade Sijuwade (Olubuse 11.)
Some of the dignitaries at the occasion were the reigning Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd), Deputy Governor of Osun State, Titi-Laoye Tomori, former governor of Oyo State, Senator Adebayo Alao-Akala, Lt Gen. Oladipo Diya (retd), Amb. Baju Bamgbetan, Titi Atiku Abubakar, who represented her husband, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
Others include leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Alex Duduyemi and former Communication Minister, Chief Cornelius Adebayo.
Traditional rulers at the event included the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe among others.
In his sermon at the ceremony, a former Bishop of Ife Anglican Diocese, Bishop Oluranti Odubogun described the late Ooni as a monarch who served God and his people until his last breath.
Preaching during the service held at St. Paul Anglican Church, Ayegbaju, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Bishop Odubogun said late Sijuade lived well and died well.
Bishop Odubogun, who took his sermon from Psalm 112 charged all and sundry, especially relatives of the late Ooni to emulate his lifestyle and be reconciled to God in order to gain eternal life.
Paying tribute to the late monarch, who died in London last year, the cleric said: “Late Sijuade lived well and died well. He was a follower of Christ. I had personal relationship with him when he was alive.
“He will remove his crown, kneel down and direct all his courtiers out of the vicinity before praying to God. As we remember him today, we should also focus on our lives. We should fear God and obey his commandments.”
After the about three hours memorial service, late Ooni Sijuade’s children, relatives and other invited guests proceeded to the tomb of the late monarch within the Ooni’s palace.
At the beautifully decorated tomb, prayers were offered for the repose of Sijuade’s soul and for the entire Ile-Ife community.