THE first year remembrance of Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II, the 50th Ooni of Ife, begins today.
A statement by the family on Tuesday, said the two-day event would kick-off today with a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Ayegbaju, Ile-Ife.
“This will be followed by a grand reception at the Castle of Mercy, Ede Road, Ile-Ife.
“On Friday, July 29, a colloquium, entitled: “The life and times of Oba Okunade Sijuwade,” will be hosted by the Institute of Cultural Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, at Oduduwa Hall, OAU at 10.00 a.m.
“Another reception will follow same day at Motel Royal, KM 4, Ede Road, Ile-Ife,” it read.
Oba Sijuwade joined his ancestors on Tuesday, July 28, 2015, at Saint Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, in London, where he was being treated, after his health reportedly suffered a relapse.
He was aged 85.
The late revered monarch was succeeded by the incumbent Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.
Meanwhile, the chairman of Ife Developmenf Board, Professor Muib Opeloye, Tuesday evening, said Oba Sijuwade bequeathed enduring legacies of leadership and service to humanity during his lifetime.
He maintained that the 50th Ooni of Ife carved a niche for himself by promoting the sustenance of Yoruba culture and tradition, just as he recalled that he earned international recognition for the throne of Oduduwa and the entire Yoruba race.
Addressing a press conference as part of the activities commemorating the one year anniversary of his transition, Opeloye averred that “what was unique about him was the new concept he created for royalty. With him, royalty had in it inherent influence used to benefit humanity. This was hallmark of a monarch, who allowed the fear of God to rule over his life.”
According to him, “Oba Sijuwade was critic of the proponents of the notion that traditional rulers are anachronistic in a Republican Nigeria, arguing that the acid test is acceptability by their people and the evidence is that, what they have lost in the executive power, they have gained in their increased influence.”
Opeloye, who is also the chairman of local organising committee for the one year remembrance activities of Oba Sijuwade hinted that eminent Nigerians from all walks of life were expected to converge on the ancient city of Ile Ife, for a colloquim as part of the activities packaged to remember the great monarch.