By Demola Akinyemi
The late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade mounted the throne of his forefathers in 1980 and joined his ancestors four years ago on July 28 2015 after a fulfilling reign. He was said to be stupendously wealthy and affected so many lives positively in his lifetime. He lived a life worthy of emulation and many people cannot just forget him in a hurry.
And for his wife, Olori Odunola, the sweet memories of their romance and the love they shared together were still fresh four years after the late Ooni left this world. Last Sunday, on 28th July 2019, Olori had an opportunity to relive once again those fond memories she shared with His Imperial majesty, Oba Okunade Sijuwade.
It was during the Annual Lecture organised in honour of the late monarch by the founder of Oduduwa University in Ipetumodu, Ile-Ife in Osun state, Dr Rahmon Adedoyin. At the lecture titled; “Traditional institution in conflict management”delivered by Dr Nurudeen Arogundade, Olori Odunola and her two daughters who represented the extended family spoke glowingly about the late Ooni. In an interview she granted after the lecture, she revealed the kind of person her late husband was and what she was missing about him.
What are those things you are missing about your late husband?
I’m missing his sense of humour, his love, his compassion because he was a very compassionate person. Kabiesi was such a husband that you cannot but love. He was very caring to me, he brought me up, he was my benefactor. I missed so many things about him, he was such a wonderful man.
How was the crowd of people that used to visit you then and now?
There used to be so many people in a day, we could receive hundreds of people who wanted to see him but couldn’t see him and they would come to me. People used to come to seek advice, to seek help or to talk to him about something about the community, the state or the country or anything for that matter. At times he refered people to come and see me and explain whatever they wanted.That was because the palace was opened to everybody but now all those things are no more.
There was a request that Kabiesi’s large estate Motel Royal along Ede road Ile Ife should be converted to College of education what’s your reaction to that?
I will liaise with the family and the family will liaise with Dr Rahmon Adedoyin and I’m sure it would materialise by the grace of God.
How was the relationship between late Ooni and Dr Rahmon Adedoyin
They were both born on1st of January, aside that it was a father and son relationship.Dr Adedoyin has done so much to immortalise Kabiesi and the family is immensely appreciative of that. By immortalising him yearly, it is particularly exceptional and we are also glad about that.We know that wherever Kabiesi himself is right now he would be very proud of Dr Adedoyin.We are also happy that Oduduwa University has really gone far and we give glory to God Almighty for that.
We are happy about the progress of the university and I can say without being immodest that it’s because of the good work Dr Rahmon Adedoyin is doing.We heard just yesterday that the National University Commission(NUC) has given the institution approval to run some PhD courses. By the example of Dr Rahmon Adedoyin anybody who remembers his benefactor would always be making progress.
You said Kabiesi was romantic and many of us knew him to be a powerful dresser. Please tell us more about this romantic aspect and between then and now has there been any monarch who has the same sense of dress like he was?
(Smiles)…Yes, Kabiesi was romantic.Whenever we travelled, whether we were in London or elsewhere he would just come up with an idea and say ‘let’s go to one hotel to enjoy ourselves’ and when we got there he would look for the menu and book for foods because he knew so much about foods. He would say ‘you haven’t taken this my dear’. He didn’t do this to only me but also to other wives. About the dressing, Kabiesi was a fantastic dresser, he even taught me how to match colours. At times, as a woman I’m supposed to know colours so if I match some colours he would say ‘no my dear, it’s not like that’ and would give me the combinations. So, he knows how to match colours and since he died, none of the obas has impressed me in their dressing.
Will you marry him if he comes back again?
If people still come back to life I would love to meet him again as a father and a husband. As a human being he was a very good person, very loving and generous. He was my father’s friend.
How have you been coping financially?
We thank God because he has done that work for us before his death.We never lacked, even people that we didn’t know when he was alive would come to us and help us and God has kept the family together.That is why it’s good for people to do good before they die because everybody will die someday.There is a saying that the good that people do live after them, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.We also thank God that we have never lost any of the family members..
What are you doing presently to survive?
I’m doing a little business like real estate to keep body and soul together.