- 85 years old
- Date of birth: Jan 1, 1930
- Place of birth:
- Date of passing: Jul 28, 2015
|Let the memory of His Imperial Majesty Oba Okunade be with us forever. Ooni of Ife|
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, His Imperial Majesty Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse11, 85, born on January 1, 1930 and passed away on July 28, 2015. We will remember him forever
THE GENEOLOGICAL HISTORY OF OBA OKUNADE SIJUWADE OLUBUSE II- OONI OF IFE
History had it that Olofin Oduduwa had many children who reigned after his death.
One was Oranmiyan from whom Lajamisan was a descendant. One of his children, Lajodogun succeeded him as an Ooni.
Lajodoku is the ancestorial father of Lafogido, Ogboru, Giesi and Oshikola. These are the four ruling houses at Ile Ife.
These descendants have reigned at Ile-Ife for the past four hundred years and they produced last twenty four Ooni's.
The Ooni's Biography
Alayeluwa Oba Okunade Sijuwade was born on the 1st of January, 1930 to a great royal family in the Ogboru house, Ilare, Ile-Ife. The last Ooni of Ife that the Ogboru ruling housepresented (before the incumbent) reigned in Ife for many years as Sijuwade Adelekan Olubuse I. He was the first Ooni to venture out of his domain. At the invitation of the colonial Governor he visited Lagos in 1903 to give his ruling on whether the Oba Elepe of Epe was entitled to wear a crown which was earlier refused by Oba Akarigbo of Remo. Oba Adelekan was the father of the late “Omo-Oba“ Adereti Sijuwade, the father of Oba Sijuwade Olubuse II- the present Ooni of Ife. His mother was the late Yeyelori, Emilia Ifasesin Sijuwade.
Prince Okunade Sijuwade as he was then called, started his elementary education at Igbein school, Abeokuta, an institution owned by the CMS mission. He lived with his other brother under the care of their father’s good friend Chief G. A. Adedayo and his family. Chief Adebayo was the secretary to the Egba council, under the Asoju Oba. After his elementary school education he proceeded to Abeokuta Grammar school, under the well-known educationist, The Rev. I. O. Ransome Kuti who was the principal of the school.
Early in life, Prince Okunade Sijuwade was conscious of his royal birth, and his carriage, even in school, was of one who was destined to wear the crown.
Once, at Abeokuta Grammar school, the Reverend Ransome Kuti wanted to flog the young Sijuwade for some misdemeanour. As the principal raised his whip, the young prince dared the famous disciplinarian to hit a ‘king’.
This did not of course stop Reverend Kuti from meting out what he considered appropriate punishment to the erring young man who was nonetheless satisfied that he has made his point. He left Abeokuta Grammar school after five years and got transferred to Oduduwa college in Ile-Ife to complete his studies under the Reverend S. A. Adeyefa. On his first day at school, mistaken for one of the new teachers and in no hurry to correct the impression, young Sijuwade took over the class in which he was supposed to be a student. In spite of his royal posturing and youthful pranks, Prince Sijuwade is remembered by many of his classmates as a particularly diligent student and quite mature for his age . Because of his relative access to money the prince was able to acquire many good things of life, especially clothes. He was a trend setter in school. He was one of the few students in Oduduwa college, who were familiar with the life in Lagos at that time, as today, the centre of good life in Nigeria.
On leaving Oduduwa College, the young prince joined his father’s business for about three years after which the elder Sijuwade, convinced that his son had acquired sufficient on-the-job training, decided he should proceed for a course of study overseas. Before he left however, the young man on his own volition decided he needed to have journalistic training.
He joined The Nigerian Tribune where he spent two years, first as a reporter and later as a sales executive. Thereafter, he proceeded to the United Kingdom in the early fifties to undertake a course of training in Business Management.
His training was essentially in Northampton and with the Leventis Group in Manchester in 1957. He also participated in advanced business management training programmes with companies in Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Scotland, West Germany and Israel. Armed with the immense experience he acquired in these places he returned to Nigeria a few years later to lunch a career in business.
Prince Sijuwade’s business career was marked by more than average fortune. Endowed with an agile mind, highly motivated and possessed of an iron-will, courage and prodigious industry, the prince was certainly destined for success. And so he drove himself to limits that would seriously test all but the most dogged. Early in his career he decided he could do with no more than four hours sleep and that distance would prevent him from accomplishing his goals. Even today, with the enormous demand on his time in several places, some of them several miles apart he maintains a travelling schedule that even the most peripatetic would consider punitive.
Shortly after Prince Sijuwade returned to Nigeria , he was appointed the Sales Manager of Leventis Motors in Western Nigeria with its headquarters in Ibadan. By 1960, with Nigerian Independence, he became an adviser to the Leventis Group..
"TRIBUTE, NOT A TRINUTE
From the outset, I can’t call this piece a tribute as it is a little feature of Ooni Sijuwade. But seen with an enlarging lens it has his larger than life written all over it.
This was my stint s the Admin Secretary to the Council of Ife Honorary Chiefs btw 1988/89. I had just been admitted into my Master’s program at OAU. Kabiyesi had just inaugurated the Council comprising all his honorary chiefs with Late Pro Saburi Biobaku as the Chairman and Late Prof Folayan of OAU as the Sec Gen. I was honoured with this post courtesy of Late Chief Omotoso Eluyemi of blessed memory whom I got close to through my NIDSA activities at OAU. The interview was conducted by himself and Prof Folayan at the place. Anyway, I got the job and that would be my first exposition to who was who whom Kabiyesi had selected to be his honorary chiefs and brought together for the purpose of securing their input to the development of Ife.
Althouh I spent a short period on that job but it let me with a lasting memory. One, it showed the love of Kabiyesi for Ife by rallying round captains of industry, luminary academia, retired generals, seasoned technocrats etc to rub minds on what is best for Ife. Most of my time on the job was spent shuttling btw the palace on meeting days, the Sec Gen house at OAU staff quarters, the Chairman’s office on Broad street, Lagos and few of the Chiefs’ houses. We were using the house of Pro Folayan as the temporary Secretariat. But towards the end of my tenure, a small office was created at Ile-Nla.
One visit that got etched in my memory was my visit to Rtd Gen Adeyinka Adebayo’s hose at GRA Ikeja. Having seen this stern old man at a distance in several of the meetings at the palace, I as a bit trepid for having to meet hi at a very close up in his house. After delivering my official message, the old man brought out the generosity and kindness in him by offering me a plate of delicious iyan an egusi with eja gbigbe ati’gbin. On top o this he gave me some money as my obi alejo. Imagine my elated trip back to Ife that day.
About the meeting of the Council, Kabiyesi was always constant as the shining star in presence, coordination and contributions. His chiefs, who were mostly close friends, always had the reewill to state their minds and poke jokes at him which he always parried off with “Allah dey” as a disharming device.
I usually had my seat at the back of the meeting hall to take note of the minutes in conjunction with the Sec Gen. The camaraderie spiced with strong sense of purpose always made the meetings a look forward to for me. It gave me a sense that as highly placed as these chiefs were, a forum could be created for them to unwind as well as discuss the serious matters concerning Ife in an informal setting. Although I didn’t witness execution of any project due to my short tenure there cos of my study, I belie if the tempo of that forum had been maintained something great must have come out of it.
Before I conclude, another incident that has a profound impression on me was at a meeting of the Council. The meeting has started with Kabiyesi flanked by the Chairman an Gen Adebayo. Deep into the meeting, one of the chiefs came late and still deemed it fit to handshake all round. This incurred the wrath of Gen Adebayo who sternly stopped the chief in his track to take his seat as he was disrupting the meeting. The said chief, I wouldn’t know due to what, instantly retired to his empty seat. But as the father of the gathering, Kabiyesi doused the tension by poking jokes at the chief and Gen Adebayo and ended with the usual “Allah dey”.
To conclude, there are many good things Kabiyesi would have done that were not apparent to most of us. Besides, not all of these would have yielded positive returns. But one thing that cannot be detracted from him was his passion for the development of Ife and Yoruba race at large. I am convinced it is this flaming torch that our indefatigable Ooni Ogunwusi has taken on and is seeing to its illuminating Ife, Yoruba land, Nigeria and Africa in general.
Didun ni iranti olododo. Kabiyesi, jingbinni bi ateekun, keep resting in the bosom of your Lord.
Sikiru omo Banjo Jalala"
"From Ambassador plenipotentiary Layi
His Imperial Majesty Oba Alaiyeluwa the former Oni of Ife Okuade Sijuade will surely be missed by all his subjects, friends and all those he came in contact with He bestrode the Nigerian landscape like a colossus and left his footprints in t6he Sands of time He carried on in the tradition of those before. Him such as HRH adesoji Aderemi by showcasing the essentials, beauty, and life-long values of the Yoruba culture where ever Yoruba people maybe in the world May his Royal soul rest in perfect Peace Amen
Ambassador Layi Laseinde"
"Continue to rest in peace Kabiesi.
Eyin ti e fi sile koni baje."
"Baba, it is exactly, a year and two days you left the throne of Oduduwa our progenitor. We indigenes of Ife Oodaye and the entire Yoruba nation are yet to come to term with your depature. You added glamour to the institute of Obaship in Ile-Ife and promoted the Yoruba tradition all over the World. You arose nostagic feelings among Yorubas in diaspora. We will forever miss your ingenuity, boldness and audacity with which you defended the house of Oduduwa till you had your last breath. Odi gba, Odi Owuro, O tun di ojo miran ojo ire. Adieu Okunade Sijuwade Adele, Omo Fasesin, jigbini bi ate akoun."
"Read full text of Obasanjo’s emotional tribute to late monarch
The article is titled “The Oba Sijuwade I knew” and is filled with lofty praise for the monarch who passed away on July 28, 2015, in the United Kingdom but his death was officially announced on Wednesday, August 12, in keeping with tradition.
The tribute reads:
I do appreciate the immense pain that the unfortunate death of the Late Oba Okunade Sijuwade has caused his Oloris, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and the entire people of the Kingdom of Ife in particular and Osun State in general, who must be grieving at the demise of the Oba.
Oba Sijuwade was, undoubtedly, a very eminent citizen and his death will be felt not only by his people but indeed, the entire nation. We can, nevertheless, be consoled from knowing that Oba Sijuwade has gone to rest in the bosom of his Maker and left behind him a good name and worthy legacy. Indeed, ‘Erin wo’.
We have been inspired, over the years, by Oba Sijuwade’s most impressive career as a tested manager of men and resources, a proprietor of repute, and an industrialist of distinction. From the Tribune Group where he had his early experience in the private sector through the Leventis family and therefrom into private entrepreneurship, he truly distinguished himself as a businessman of note.
His attainments, over the years, surely culminated in his unanimous nomination and coronation as the Ooni Olubuse II of Ile-Ife since November 1980. In this capacity, he functioned as Chancellor of the University of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State in 1988. It is a measure of his selfless and qualitative service to our dear country that he was honoured with the revered national award of the Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR, by former President Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1983.
The late Oba Sijuwade was a patriotic and highly respected traditional ruler who had immeasurable love for his people and great faith in a united Nigeria. I remember his firmness in support of Government at all levels when I was President of Nigeria. His staunch support was appreciated and would always be remembered for it. He, accordingly, stood out as a voice of honesty and forthrightness in national affairs. He was at the same time a fervent promoter of mutual tolerance and understanding not only among the diverse people who lived in his domain but also across the country. The toga of acrimony, thuggery and violence which stigmatized the politics and the people of Ife and Modakeke for many years was permanently brought to an end by him with the support of his royal colleagues. Today, there can be no gainsaying that his nearly four-decade reign was marked by unprecedented peace-making and lasting peace and prosperity in Ife and Modadeke.
The late Oba followed the tradition of his great predecessors. He was a great traditional leader, urbane and respected by his subjects. His influence transcended the Kingdom of Ife and, indeed, Osun State. He stood shoulder-to-shoulder with traditional rulers across Nigeria and beyond the shore of Nigeria and was very well respected among his counterparts from the South, North and East. He was a unifying force not just in Ife but in the whole of the South Western zone and beyond.
Oba Sijuwade’s journey to meet his ancestors means an irreplaceable loss to his family, his people, Osun State and, indeed, Nigeria. For those of us who knew Oba Sijuwade closely for many years, the good times we shared, the successes we achieved together and the lessons we learned are as consoling as the legacy he left behind. Only about ten days ago he invited me to Ife to share with him his views and feelings on some national and community issues. It was like a parting shot.
Oba Sijuwade may no longer be with us but his legacy endures. He had a vision for his Kingdom and pursued it with every resource available to him. We must not let that vision for the greatness of Ife and the entire Yorubaland depart with him.
As we bid farewell to this great Nigerian, let us rededicate ourselves to the values he cherished and lived by such as love of the country and community as well as the readiness to help the less fortunate at all times.
On behalf of my family and on my own behalf, I extend heartfelt condolences on the final transition of Alaiyeluwa Okunade Sijuwade and pray that the Almighty God grant you all the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.
May the soul of the dear departed rest in perfect peace."
"May your soul continue to rest in perfect peace. Mukaila Ayoade"
"Kaaaaabiyesi, Onirisa. Jigbini bi ate akun, osumosile sunmoseni
Thank you for all you did. Your warmth, your kindness, your generosity and indeed your love will forever be remembered.
Baba once wrote (Excerpt from his salutation to Egbe Omo Ife, Dallas, 2005 Fundraising)
"....All of you have been doing your utmost for the upliftment for that spiritual city once described by our late revered political leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the natural capital of the Yoruba empire and you must not be tired of doing more so that the history will write many good things about all of you.
By special Grace of God and Oduduwa the legend you will always be successful in everything you handle most specially in your professional areas and all of you will grow from strength by the special grace of God and Oranfe.
God in his masses will continue to be your Guard and Guide and bring you back home with flying colors"
THAT'S TRUE LOVE. BABA SUN RE O"
"Kabiyesi, mo jokun, mo jekolo, i un ihan ba nje lajule orum ni ki e ma a ba won je. Rest in peace our dear father and King. Your contribution to the development of Ile ife and the entire Yoruba empire and kingship will never be forgotten. The standard you set is being guarded. Once again Baba, rest in peace."
"Rest in peace Kabiyesi."
"Jingbinni bi ate akun, memory eternal with Olofin Adimula"
"BABA, REST IN BOSSOM OF THE LORD. JIGBINI BI ATE AKUN, ITI OMO OLODUMARE."
"An Eminent King,A bridge Builder,and Elder Stateman,Ooni Okunade Sijuwade,Olubuse II,whose 85years on Earth,Truly touched the lives of his subjects,all Nigerians from all walks of life and entire human race,During your reign,spanning 35years,You have really put the name Ile-Ife on the world map,Ooni Olubuse II is a great Nationalist that will be remembered eternally,having left footprints on the sand of time.Adieu!OUR BELOVED KING!"
"Ooni Okunade Sijuwade is undoubtedly one of the greatest kings that have ruled our great city Ile-Ife. His great works will live on. May he continue to rest in peace. Amen.
Here is the Oriki of our great city Ile-Ife. Adapted as you will see below for our great and noble King Ooni Okunade Sijuwade (Olubuse II) .
May God empower the new king that will emerge from Giesi ruling house to carry on from where Oba Okunade Sijuwade left and lead Ile-Ife to greater heights. Amen
A kii duro kiwon nife Ooni
A kii bere kiwon nife Ooye
Eni duro kiwon nife Ooni kii tabere
Ai bere kiwon nife Ooni, oju bintin ni won fi nwoni
Kinwin kinwin lonse loju eni
Agbogun mosa nife je
Sare gbade mo tewo gbade
Ilekun meje naa si konile dodo adimula
Yemoja gbere komi naa ki konile dodo adimula
Omo agogo sewo gbeti
Iku baba yeye alase ikeji orisa
Aterere kaye ajakaye Olofin Oodua
Abori esin bamu bamu
Abidi esin batakun batakun
Toba ni mose adimula o
Olubuse eri ogun, ebiti kimo piri
O sunmole O sunmoni
Olubuse alakete oogun
Dakun dabo mo kan mi loogun
Je nku ti ka ara mi
Orisa kihan Oyibo nbo
Nihan rabeeni nfojudi
Eero o mi re 'lare e mo ya soosi
Otun nile Olubuse
Agogo nla na fi nkoba nile'fe
Olooore re oooo, wa gbade ori re yi dojo ale
Prince Adeyemi Oladepo Alphonso Ogunwusi (grandson of Ayikiti ninu aran (fabric) Orayigba Ojaja (Giesi ruling house)."
"REST IN PERFECT PEACE, KABIYESI"
"Rest in Peace An Entreprenuer par excellence ,Leader of Leaders ,Fashion Icon of repute .Ooni Arole Oodua."
"Jigbini bi ate ileke osunmosile sumoseni okunmolosun kumolata ...Rest in peace Omo fasesin"
"Rest in peace Kabiyesi."
"Rest in perfect peace my Father, my mentor I was in shock when I heard of your demise. I remember what you used to tell me whenever I visited you, your fatherly advice, love, caring.rest in my mind forever.
We the sons and daughters of Olubushe Royal house of ile ife will all missed you. R.I.P. Kabiyesi.as you are fondly called."
"... Rest in peace my father, my king... Ooni of the world... 'Jigbini bi ate akun'"
"May his soul continue to rest in perfect peace and may love continue to reign in the family and community he left behind"
"Rest in peace baba. We miss you so much, baba oninu rere"
"Arole Oodua, King Okunade Sijuwade … A Tribute
By Tola Adeniyi
Obas, the symbol of royalty in Yoruba land do not die. When their time comes to join their
ancestors, they simply move upstairs into the penthouse. And as they say in Yoruba language, Oba pa’poda! Transfiguration. Metamorphosis. While on the
throne, Obas are regarded as second in command to the Gods, and their cognomen
includes fearsome ‘Iku Baba Yeye’; one with power of death over fathers and
mothers! The being above beings that is empowered by divine rights to decree
death over all and any of his subjects!
But the vast lands occupied by the
millions of the Yoruba race spread over West Africa, the Caribbean and the
Americas trace their roots to Ile-Ife, the place believed by the race as the
cradle of mankind and their own beginning. Ife Woda’ye, that is Ife of Creation
and Ife Ooye, which is Ife that survived the deluge are now both entwined in the
ancient city where the obelisk of Oranmiyan looks upwards to the
Ile-Ife is therefore not just a town like another town, not a city like
another city. It is a most sacred land where the 401 Gods of the Yoruba reside.
It is the home of Oduduwa, the legendary ancestor of the Yoruba race. It was the
city that housed Prophet Orunmila Agbonniregun, Archangel Obatala, and the
Yoruba famed God of war, Ogun, Oshinmole Orisa, oni’le kangun-kangun
All the Kings that came after the reign of Oduduwa were/are regarded
as the anointed successor of Oduduwa and the Spiritual and Temporal head of all
Yoruba Kingdoms. The Oonirisa of Ile-Ife is therefore primus inter pares. The
hierarchical order established by the Yoruba kings has its beginning at Ile-Ife,
and it is from there that the concept of an Oba receiving the prostration of
another Oba came from.
It is against this backdrop that the then Prince
Okunade Sijuwade ascended the throne of his forefathers. His grandfather Olubuse
the First was a very prominent and powerful King. Okunade Sijuwade mounted the
throne with a rich pedigree trailing his ascendancy. Cosmopolitan, fashionable,
wealthy with international connections, urbane, articulate and fluent, Prince
Sijuwade was every inch a King before he was crowned.
Since he began another
phase of his journey in the Continuum about three weeks ago a lot has been said
and written of Oba Sijuwade. Many commentators reminded us of his many trips to
all the countries where members of the Yoruba race have spread to. They spoke of
Cuba where Oba Sijuwade was referred to as the King of Africa. The story was
told of how the arrival of King Sijuwade at Havana was greeted with a very heavy
downpour. Cuba was said to have experienced their worst draught in history and
the moment Ooni landed from his aircraft, kissed the land with his forehead, the
heavens opened up. It was celebration galore, and there and then the locals
ascribed great spiritual powers to the revered Monarch.
Similar stories were
told of his journeys to Brazil and Argentina and the huge enthusiasm with which
the Yoruba whose great great grandparents were carted to those distant lands
received his royal presence..
Robust in frame, elegant in carriage and
debonair in poise King Okunade Sijuwade carried himself with so much self
confidence and inimitable dignity. He had a special aura of distinction around
his person. He was one King whose presence could not be ignored or could pass
What probably stood Ooni Olubuse apart from several of his
contemporaries was his outstanding hospitality. As soon as you were ushered to
his royal presence, palace bottlers were on hand to serve you the coldest
Champagne as first choice, or any other drink preferred. Oba Okunade received
his guests with a disarming smile and prayers. Within seconds guests found
themselves much at home despite the awesomeness of the prevailing
King Sijuwade added colour, panache and respectability to the
Monarchy. Any visitor to the Royal Court of Ile-Ife would wish to be king!
Okunade transformed the ancient Palace and endowed the hallowed place with
ultra-modern gadgets that made the abode of Oduduwa the envy of several other
Kings from other places.
He invested his huge wealth in upgrading and
refurbishing the palace to reflect his international stature and distinct
One other feature of Oba Okunade was his excellent human and public
relations. A former journalist and public relations practitioner, Oba Okunade
knew and appreciated the power and presence of the media in governance,
leadership and management. It was in furtherance of this awareness that he
created a Public Affairs Department charged with Public Relations, Media and
Publicity within a year of ascending the throne and assigned one of the most
outstanding personalities in the Media Chief Olorunfunmilola Olorunnisola to
head the outfit. And for decades he assigned one of his British staff to man his
Oba Okunade Sijuwade ran his government in the most modern way
while of course retaining all the traditional elements in accordance with the
cultural norms of the Kingdom. And to douse tension and acrimony in his Kingdom,
he approved the creation of coronet Obas in areas where the people had expressed
desire to have their own rulers.
A Born-Again Christian, Oba Okunade gave
the greatest regard to all the traditional observances. As he participated in
Christian rituals in the Church he did also carry out the rituals dictated by
his ancestors. As far as he was concerned Caesar and God must be given what
rightly belonged to each of the two.
Those who merely saw King Sijuwade from
afar might not know that Oba Okunade was a personification of humility. He was
such a humble human being that used the third person plural reserved for elders
and seniors to address everybody including those as young as his biological
children. He used ‘eyin’ plural you instead of ‘iwo’ when addressing anybody.
Soft spoken and methodical, Oba Sijuwade chose his words carefully and
Very protective of his race Oba Sijuwade was always eager to
intervene in matters that concerned his subjects from any part of Yoruba
Kingdoms. When Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was jailed by General Abacha, General
David Medayese Jemibewon and I visited Oba Sijuwade twice in London to use his
vast influence to secure Obasanjo’s release. He put a call there and then to the
British Prime Minister pleading Obasanjo’s cause. He also sought King Ado
Some people did not approve what they perceived as
his handling of the Abacha-Diya saga, but whatever view any one might hold, no
one could accuse the Ooni of cowardice or self centeredness.
My wife, a
Princess of Ife, the Yeyesorun of the Kingdom [installed 1989], and my humble
self the Jaagun Oodua Adimula ll [installed 1990] shall miss the fatherly
friendship and kindness the highly cherished King extended to us.
Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse ll is not dead. We commend his continuous journey to
the protection and favour of Adiitu Olodumare.
•Akogun Tola Adeniyi is holds
the traditional title of Jagun Oodua Adimula ll of Ile-Ife"
"May His Legacy lives for ever. Rest In Peace Olori Alade."
"Rest in perfect peace Olori Alade."
"Rest in perfect peace Olori Alade. Jigbini bi akun."
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