Nigeria’s former Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade who died this August is being remembered for recently endorsing the corrupt former president Goodluck Jonathan’s government.
During Jonathan’s campaign to retain power, the then president desperately attempted to make inroads into the Yoruba south-west. It was at this time that Oba Okunade Sijuwade betrayed the Yorubas and Nigeria’s popular and rather desperate battle for change, by endorsing and praying for Jonathan. Millions of dollars are believed to have assisted that endorsement.
The Ooni made personal demands during that infamous March 7th president’s visit, asking for better representation of his people in Jonathan’s government. Also asking for an Oduduwa state. He said,
“We want total representation. There are ongoing projects in Osun State and we know there is paucity of fund but we want you to finish all the projects.
“Ife and Ijesa are large enough to form a state of their own. We want you to create Oduduwa State with its headquarters in Ile Ife. We also seek the implementation of the Confab report. We throw our weight behind you.”
He further said,
“There will be political opportunities for the people in the South-West, we will correct all the lapses. People from the south-west will play key role and whatever is due them will be given.”
“Be rest assured that Obas and indigenes of Osun State are solidly behind you.”
Then the Ooni and several of his Obas prayed for Jonathan in a spectacular prayer session pointing their staffs at him.
This betrayal of the people of the south west was the last notable event in the life of the Ooni of Ife.
Perhaps due to the shock of their defeat, perhaps related to the war against corruption that the new Buhari government waged and has been exposing billions of dollars looted by the Goodluck Jonathan government with their palls in government and traditional institutions, the Ooni died shortly after the new government took over in a hospital in London.
The Ooni of Ife did not live for three months after the new government was sworn in before he died.
There is an ongoing battle for his replacement.