Profile: The Man Oba Sijuade, The Ooni of Ife


The late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, died at 85 years and seven months, having been born on January 1, 1930.
He ascended the throne in December 1980 when he became the 50th ruler of the ancient kingdom of Ife, popularly referred to as the cradle and source of the Yoruba.
Initially crowned as Alayeluwa Olubuse II, the late Ooni dropped “Alayeluwa” from his name a few years back, saying that only God is fit to be called “Alayeluwa.”
The flamboyant traditional ruler was crowned king on December 6, 1980 in a colourful ceremony attended by prominent traditional rulers the Emir of Kano, Oba of Benin, Amayanabo of Opobo and the Olu of Warri as well as the representatives of the Queen of England.
Sijuwade was born to the Ogboru ruling house and was a grandson of the Ooni Sijuwade Adelekan Olubuse I.
The late Oba studied at the Abeokuta Grammar School and Oduduwa College in Ile-Ife.
He worked for three years in his father’s business and later did a two-year stint with the Nigerian Tribune, before attending the Northampton College in the United Kingdom to study Business Management.
At the young age of 30, he became a manager in Leventis, a Greek-Nigerian conglomerate.
In 1963, he became the Sales Director of the state-owned National Motors in Lagos.
After spotting a business opportunity during a 1964 visit to the Soviet Union, he formed a company to distribute Soviet-built vehicles and equipment in Nigeria. This later became the nucleus of his widespread business empire.
He also invested in real estate in his home town of Ile-Ife and by the time Sijuwade was crowned Ooni in 1980, he had become a wealthy man, whose fame and connection was global.
When Sijuwade became the Ooni, he inherited an ongoing dispute over supremacy between the obas of Yorubaland.
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Source:: New Mail