“Ooni Sijuwade, pillar behind my success” says Ooni Ogunwusi as he remembers his predecessor.
The Arole Oduduwa & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has described his predecessor, late Ooni Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II as the pillar behind his success in life.
Ooni Ogunwusi gave the testimony during a programme designed to celebrate the five-year remembrance of the immediate past Ooni, at his Ile Oduduwa Palace, on Tuesday in Ile-Ife.
While acknowledging the purposeful reign of Ooni Sijuwade, Ooni Ogunwusi explained that he enjoyed a mutual relationship with his predecessor during which Ooni Sijuwade prayed for him.
“Ooni Okunade Adele Sijuwade was my father and I am proud to be associated with him. Baba lived a good life during which the Ife economy was grown to the benefits of all and sundry.
“I am a living testimony of Ooni Sijuwade’s goodness and unique leadership style as he touched my life positively which opened and still opens doors for me. Even now that he has rejoined our ancestors, I still consult him on this throne and he has been so helpful to me.
“This is a lesson to all that we will all die and return to our creator one day no matter how good or bad our lives are. We are all gathered here to speak about the exit of a good man, what would the world say about you and I when we are gone?” Ooni Ogunwusi said.
Earlier in her address, widow of the late Ooni Sijuwade, Olori Odunola described her husband as a complete father, husband and a unique African monarch who brought immeasurable respect to the traditional stool across Africa.
“I have come here today to thank Ooni Ogunwusi for taking time out of his busy schedule to celebrate my father, husband and benefactor. I pray that he shall reign for a very long term in peace and tranquility.” Olori Odunola Sijuwade noted.
In his testimony, an Ife born Justice of Osun State High Court, Justice Yinka Afolabi described the late Ooni Sijuwade as possessing a uniquely intimidating personality which he got through his accomplishments before he became the Ooni.
“Long before he became the Ooni, he was prominent for his philanthropic gesture, investment and undivided interest in the development of the country. This was misconstrued by some mischief makers but to their disappointment, Baba was an uncommonly humble personality.” Justice Afolabi stated.
Narrating how he became a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a former Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Ishola Awotorebo, explained that the 50th Ooni was a man who cherished competence over favoritism.
“I had the chance of meeting him in 1994 and the whole day would not be enough for me to mention all he did to make me a successful man in life. In July 2003, he called me and asked for my CV which I submitted to his Lagos office innocently and that was how I became a Minister.” Hon. Awotorebo testified.
Politicians, businessmen and women, traditional rulers as well as chiefs among other top personalities took their turns to testify about the personality of Ooni Sijuwade, whom they described as an icon of monarchy.
“Ooni Sijuwade was a bridge builder and his unequalled human relations knack brought about the establishment of the National Council of Traditional Rulers. However, we are happy that his predecessor is a replica of the good virtues that Ooni Sijuwade stood for throughout his life and all we need is to keep praying for long life and a healthy reign on throne of his ancestors. The Olufon of Ifon-Osun, Oba Moruf Adedeji said.