Okunade Sijuade: A king known from birth

Okunade Sijuwade was the grandson of Oba Adelekan Olubuse 1. He was born around the period of Aderemi’s coronation. Folktales about Okunade attested to his regal future right from infancy. He was reputed to have had the royal mark and many people in Ile Ife, then perceived and respected him as a future king. Everything about him was had the stamp of royalty. It manifested in his lifestyle, choice of friends and even conversation. He was a rare prince with a special royal taste. His notable blue blooded friends were Alhaji Ado Bayero, the late Emir of Kano, who died about a year ago as well as late Ajiroba Adebodun Adewumi, a prince from the Asemojobiowo ruling house of Efon Alaaye who died some few years ago at the age of 80.Ooni Coronation pix
According to his colleagues at the Baptist Grammar School, Abeokuta and Oduduwa College, Sijuade was always conscious of his royal background and future role in Ile Oodua. There were tales of how he forbade anybody, not even teachers, touching or knocking his head. His resistance court the ire of his principal, the highly respected Cannon Oludotun Ransom-Kuti. When asked for reasons for his audacity, he told the venerable teacher that he was a future Ooni of Ife. After investigations into his royal background, Cannon Ransom-Kuti cautioned him to always be of good behaviour because only an Omoluabi could command the admiration of his subjects and survive on the prestigious throne.
At Ile-Ife, even as a youth, he was fond of dressing like a king, and his peers hailed him as Kabiyesi. Sijuade was generous and soon became a household name. He was a charismatic figure. As social functions, his presence was always electrifying. Prominent musicians, such as juju maestro, King Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey sang his praises, eulogised his magnetic personality, business prowess and philanthropy.
As his business boomed and he saw wealth, Oba Sijuade, at a point jettisoned the ambition to become a monarch. He re-located to London and concentrated on his businesses. It took the intervention of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Odole of Ife, and his wife, Hannah Dideolu Awolowo, who he made Yeye Oba of Ife, on his ascension of the throne, to persuade him to return home and fulfill his destiny when Ooni Adesoji Aderemi joined his ancestors in 1980. Sijuade was 50 years old then. He died at the age 85 having reigned for 35years.

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