The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has paid glowing tributes to the role played by his predecessor, late Oba Okunade Sijuade in his ascension to the throne.
Speaking yesterday at the renaming of Ife City Hall after the late Oba Okunade Sijuade in Ile Ife, Oba Ogunwusi recalled his fond memory of the opportunity of meeting with the late Ooni.
The event which saw the three wives of the late Oba Sijuade making a public appearance within Ile Ife for the first time since the completion of his funeral rites in September last year, was also witnessed by the eldest son of the monarch, Prince Adetokunbo and some of his siblings.
Oba Ogunwusi said his predecessor played a major role in his becoming monarch through prayers, saying on few occasions he had opportunity of close interaction with Oba Sijuade, the late monarch in his prayers lauded his progress in life.
According to him: “Oba Sijuade is not just our revered father, he was a special creature and demonstrated his ability to foresee future on few occasions I had interaction with him. I can confidently say he played a role in my ascension. On those occasions, he usually prayed from his heart for me. The honour we are doing him today can never be at par with his contributions to the development of this land. His contributions to even this structure we are naming after him today was huge. Ife will continue to remember him for his great contributions to our development.”
Earlier, President, Ife Development Board, Prof. Muib Opeloye, said Oba Sijuade was being immortalised in recognition of the role he played in developments of Ife and empowerment of its people.
Opeloye recalled that the late monarch initiated the project and contributed immensely to seeing it to fruition and commended the chairman of Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Babajide Omoworare, for contributing N12.5 million for the project.
Responding on behalf of Sijuade’s family, Prince Aderemi Sijuade, thanked the community for recognising the role Oba Sujuade played in putting Ife on world map and promised that the family would always be ready to contribute to the development of the town.
He said IDB was also using the occasion to honour some members of Ife Academia who had risen to the professorial cadre, explaining that in over 50 years of existence of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, no indigene of the community had been made a vice chancellor of the university.