AN ADDRESS BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF OSUN, OGBENI RAUF AREGBESOLA, TO THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF OSUN ON THE TRANSLATION OF HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY, OBA OKUNADE SIJUWADE, OLUBUSE II, OONI OF IFE, ON WEDNESDAY AUGUST 12, 2015.
My good people of Osun,
I have just been formally briefed by the traditional Chiefs of Ile-Ife of the translation of a foremost royal personage in Yorubaland, Arole Oodua, Oonirisa, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II, the Ooni of Ile-Ife. It was the end of a glorious era. The translation of the Ooni is a great loss to the people of Ile-Ife, the State of Osun and the Yoruba race at large.
He was a great king, a monarch’s monarch and a king to whom other kings bow. In his lifetime, he was a man of prodigious means and resources who reigned in majesty and splendour. His influence went beyond his immediate kingdom in Ile-Ufe to the far reaches of Yorubaland, our kith and kin in Niger, Edo and Delta States, the Yoruba Diaspora in Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, United States, Britain, Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Venezuela, Spain, Portugal, Trinidad and Tobago, The Caribbean, Australia, Polynesia and indeed, other parts of the world with Yoruba people and those who have had contact with Yoruba civilisation.
Oba Sijuwade succeeded Oba Adesoji Aderemi in 1980 and reigned for 35 momentous years straddling two transitions from civilian to military on December 31, 1983 and back to civilian rule on May 29, 1999, during which he saw the coming and departure of 10 civilian presidents and military heads of state. He also saw the splitting of the old Oyo into two and the creation of the State of Osun in 1991 with the reign of 14 governors and military administrators, including the incumbent (six in Old Oyo and eight in Osun). Indeed, he was one of the movers for the creation of Osun; it was a dream fulfilled for him when the state was created in 1991.
Oba Okunade Sijuwade was an inestimable cultural Icon, a truly regal epigram of Yoruba aristocracy. He brought into the royalty elegance, splendour, colour and panache. Ooni Olubuse used his huge wealth to promote traditional institutions to an all time enviable height. A very successful businessman before ascending to the throne, Oba Okunade devoted his time, energy and resources to raise the status of the monarchy in Yorubaland. A well travelled man, who used his global network to expose the beauty of Yoruba monarchy, culture and people to the world. The value that his tenure added to the institution of obaship in our clime will forever be appreciated and remembered.
During his reign, he was able to bring a lot of development to Ile-Ife in addition to his advocacy for greater Yorubaland in the Nigerian nation.
He was a man of great diplomacy, building bridges across all lands, nations and peoples. He was one of the pioneers of North-South inter-ethnic and inter-faith dialogues for peace building, mutual understanding and mutual respect.
He was of invaluable assistance to our administration, just as he had been to previous administrations, in offering godly counsel, words of wisdom, trouble shooting and conflict resolution. He was a man of peace. He never failed to appear in public to openly identify with our cause, even when he was advanced in age and his health was failing.
The chiefs and priests in Ile-Ife and other traditionalists across Yorubaland have commenced the traditional rites of the celebration of his translation. We ask, in accordance with our tradition, that we all cooperate with them during the brief period this will take. As we join the great people of Ife to celebrate this great life, we enjoin all our people to go about their daily normal activities without fear or doubt about their security and safety. The State of Osun in general and Ile-Ife in particular are safe, as security agencies have been mobilised to reinforce all necessary arrangements to prevent any threat to life and property.
We expect our people as Omoluabi to exhibit the best in our culture and attitude at this moment.
The State Government, the good people of Osun, my wife and I stand with the wives and family of the departed king, the traditional council and the people of Ile-Ife, State of Osun Traditional Council and all Yoruba people at home and in the Diaspora.
Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II lived a very successful life deserving praise and encomia from all and sundry. As it is said in Ife at a moment like this: ‘Eku Ayo, Ooni to f’ese pa. Erin wo, ajanaku sun bi oke!’