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Sweet memories of late Ooni of Ife Oba Okunade Sijuwade

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By Demola Akinyemi

The controversial monarch, Oluwo of Iwo land in Osun state,Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi was at its best last Saturday during the third memorial lecture organised to resonate the sweet memories of the legendary, late imperial majesty,Oba Okunade Sijuwade,the immediate past Ooni of Ife.

Ooni of Ife, Oba Sijuwade Okunade

The program was the memorial lecture in honour of the late Ooni of Ife Oba Okunade Sijuwade last weekend in Oduduwa university, Ipetumodu,Ile-ife.

The annual lecture series was organised by Chief (Dr) Rahmon Adegoke Adedoyin,the Maye of Yoruba land and the Chancellor of Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu,Ileife in recognition of the exemplary life and times of the late monarch.

The hall, venue of the ceremony in, Oduduwa university, Ipetumodu, IleIfe, was full to the brim with eminent Nigerians from far and near, including traditional rulers, students and staff of the university, and the children of the late Ooni of Ife,and their.

In an electrifying manner, the monarch charged the seated Prince Adetokunbo Sijuwade the symbol of the Sijuwade dynasty to strive hard to ensure that he lived a far better life than his late father, The Ooni of Ife Oba Okunade Sijuwade who died three years ago, otherwise the late monarch would be largely seen to have lived an unfulfilled life.

Oba Akanbi said this became necessary because the glory of any surviving child of a father is to ensure that he surpass the late father in all ramifications, a clear indication that the late father lived a fulfilled life and left a worthy legacy behind.

Prince Adetokunbo Sijuwade was seated with his other siblings namely Prince Aderemi Sijuwade, Prince Seyi Sijuwade,Princess Jumoke Sijuwade, Prince Okunlola Sijuwade and Olori Odunola Sijuwade among others when the monarch was throwing the challenge at the family of the late Ooni of Ife.

Though Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi,Ojaja 11 was conspicuously absent, other traditional rulers in Ifeland, joined the Oluwo of Iwo Oba Abulraaheed Adewale Akanbi to add colour to the ceremony.

Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi also held his audience captive, when he decried the use age of “Alase Ekeji Orisa”, being popularly used by monarch in Yoruba lands stressing that the idols are nothing but irrelevant.” We traditional rulers are Asoju Olodumare on earth, no more, no less” he stressed.

He also challenged all traditional ruler in Yoruba land to show him any idol that Oduduwa handed over to them, saying that if there was any, he would remove his crown and leave his palace.

“You can only celebrate the birthdays of idol, never to worship any of them.If Alh Aliko Dangote had lived in those era, I’m sure, many would be worshipping him” He stressed.

Oluwo of Iwo land also said he doesn’t want anything else from God, having become the king, other than long life.

“There is nothing else I want from God, now that I’m a king other than old age, I wish to live up to 150years of age” he stressed.

The monarch also commended the organiser of the annual lecture, for his commitment to that ideal, saying that not all human beings have such sense of appreciation, particularly when the benefactor is no more.

Dr Rahmon Adegoke Adedoyin, The Maye of Yorubaland and others in their testimonies gave destiny changing encounters they had with the late monarch while he was alive.

While Dr Adedoyin has been consistent about the annual memorial lecture in honour of late Oba Okunade Sijuwade, obviously for the unquantifiable love the late monarch showered on him while was alive, Oba Sijuwade was about the only late Ooni of Ife who has been so honoured, unlike his predecessors.

Chief Adedoyin recounted clearly, how the late monarch in no small measure helped in the final approval of the university, and the 500 hectares of land he dashed him,on which the prestigious institution is sitting today.

“I also missed how he used to attend our programs in company of other first class traditional rulers to add colours to our programs” He stressed.

The educationist cum business mogul also noted that he would be eternally grateful to the late monarch for treating him like his own child and the special love he had for him.

“Oba Sijuwade was humble to a fault,when he was alive I was always amazed watching someone that God almighty so much elevated and blessed,openly respecting even those who are far below him.I copied that from him,and also his business and leadership strategies. They have all been useful to me in my daily activities”stressed Adedoyin.

He also recalled that by all standard, the late monarch’s love for Ileife was unparalleled when he was alive.

The guest lecturer,Professor Siyan Oyeweso the Executive Director, Center for Black Culture and International Understanding, State of Osun in his lecture titled,”The legacy and Relevance of Oranmiyan in Contemporary Yoruba History “did justice to the assignment as he held the audience spell bound,extolling the virtues of late Oba Okunade Sijuwade and how he applied his deep understanding of Yoruba culture and traditions to better the lots of not a few nations.

Relieving his maiden meeting with Oba Okunade who he recalled spent thirty years of splendor and glamour on the throne,the university don said he was shocked when he gave him a large sum of money,he had never been given in his entire life then,to write the history of the ancient city of Ile-ife, which he started but never completed.

Professor Oyeweso,also went ahead to explain the efforts, late historian Dr Omotosho Eluyemi,The Apena of Ife unsuccessfully made in the same direction and challenged the natives of Ile-ife to take the bull by the horn and write their own history, because no one will do it for them.

” I have completed, the history of my own town, Ede which is just awaiting launching, so the ball is in your courts”He told the audience.

Sat Ghuru Maraji who caused stir in the hall as his retinue of aides intermittently paid obeisance to him ,also relived how the late Ooni of ife, when he ran to him during the era of military administration in Oyo state,he was asked to vacate his expansive lands, on the accusation that he was carrying out kidnapping, money laundering and other vices there.

“Then I ran to kabiesi and he asked me,if I have papers for the lands, and I replied that I do,then he asked me to take them to court,which I did.The court summoned the government and nobody appeared, then the case was quashed.That is why I’m still in that place till today ”he said.

Also a judge in the state high court,Justice Yinka Afolabi one of the invited special guests described the late monarch as a father to him,and also eulogized him for his sincerity in trying his best for Ileife.

He told the audience that,from his findings, the ancient city has a very beautiful history that is incomparable with any of its contemporaries in the world.

The jurist who expressed anger that people of the ancient town used to get unnecessarily angry only when some historians for reasons best known to them decided to turn history upside down simply to spite the ancient city said the late monarch indeed tried his best to write the history of Ileife.

He nevertheless charged the guest lecturer to continue from where he stopped and complete the assignment given to him before the Oba Sijuwade passed on.

The testimonies went on and on by the audience until the time nobody knew the night had fallen,and then the audience dispersed.

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