Oba Okunade Sijuade's last interview

It was Papa who persuaded me to take up this stool. It was as if he compelled me to take the throne

 

In an interview granted before he died, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade Olubuse II, revealed how he ascended the throne.

He said “I would not have been here today,” giving kudos to the former Premier of the Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his wife, Chief (Mrs.) H. I. D. Awolowo.

“It was Papa (Awolowo) who persuaded me to take up this stool. It was as if he compelled me to take the throne,” the Ooni said.

Commenting on his death, Dr Wale Adebanwi who spoke to TheNEWS said “Even though one would expect that an 85 year old could die at any time, on the Friday that I interviewed him in his palace, Kabiyesi was so full of life and he was enthusiastic as I opened the interview by asking him about his relationship with Mama Awolowo, the subject of my visit to the palace. He was resplendent, as usual, and became very animated once I mentioned Mama H. I. D. The first thing he told me was that his relationship with Mama was ‘very great.’ He then added in Yoruba that ‘it is as if she brought me up…. She is like the mother to whom I was born. I can not sufficiently describe the nature of our relationship.”

Speaking further on his ascension to the throne, the Ooni said “I was living in London at the time when Papa Awolowo asked me to return home after the late Ooni (Adesoji Aderemi) joined the ancestors,” the University of California-Davis don recalls the Ooni telling him. “I was operating my businesses from London and had branches all over the world. But Awolowo said to me, ‘it’s time to return home and ascend the throne.’ If such an elderly and wise person as Papa, and Mama who joined him in persuading me, asked you to do something, given the love they had shown me, and the fact that they were like my parents, I had to accept.”

About Mrs.H.I.D Awolowo he said “He told me that he was so happy that God had spared Mama Awolowo’s life for so long after her husband’s death,” Dr Adebanwi said. “I couldn’t imagine that he too would join Awolowo in only a couple of weeks. Now one of the most important guests at the centenary would be missing.”

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