OSUN DEFENDER

How Oni Of Ife Sijuade Sold the June 12 Mandate To IBB for a Plate of Porridge: By Oba Sikiru Adetona, Awujale of Ijebuland

Ooni of Ife

June 12: Why Ooni Betrayed MKOAbiola-TheNEWS

Culled From The News Magazine Nigeria Via Sahara Reporters

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade’s role in the aftermath of the annulment of the 1993 presidential election is widely thought to have been less than noble. In Awujale, the recently released autobiography of Oba Sikiru Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebuland, Sijuade’s connivance with those who annulled the election is brought into sharp focus

His position as the most revered traditional ruler in Yorubaland has not innoculated Oba Okunade Sijuade Olubuse 11, the Ooni of Ife, from public scorn. Since 1993, much of the mystique around him has been eroded, largely through the carnage sparked by the controversial annulment of the 1993 presidential election, aka June 12. Oba Sijuade came out of the annulment saga with grave reputational injuries from which he is yet to, and may not, recover, given the decision of Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebuland, to re-invite public attention to Sijuwade’s role in one of the most grotesque episodes in Yoruba and Nigerian history.

The medium chosen by Oba Adetona is Awujale, his recently released autobiography, in which the 11th chapter is dedicated to the annulment and the struggle for the de-annulment of the election won by the late Chief M.K.O Abiola.

In Awujale, Adetona presents what can hardly be described as a worm’s eye view. And in the book, the Ooni does not come out smelling like roses. As one of the most prominent Yoruba traditional rulers, Adetona was regularly invited to meetings with General Ibrahim Babangida, the military president that annulled the election and installed an Interim National Government, ING, headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan.

As the widespread anger provoked by the annulment and Babangida’s ING contraption raged, the former military president hoped to limit the damage to his reputation and that of his government, appealing to leaders from all the country’s geo-political zones, especially the South-West, which felt wounded because of Abiola.

For one of those meetings in Abuja, writes Adetona in Awujale, he arrived on a Thursday. The meeting was to hold the next day. While in his hotel room on the day of arrival, Adetona called the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, to say that there was a need for a meeting of Yoruba traditional rulers, where they could arrive at a common position to be presented at the next day’s meeting with Babangida. Adeyemi agreed. Adetona then suggested that there was also a need to inform the Ooni and asked Adeyemi to accompany him to Sijuwade’s room.

Adeyemi, however, was not keen because of the rivalry, over superiority, between him and the Ooni. Eventually, he gave in. The late Oba Adeyinka Oyekan, Oba of Lagos, was also informed. He agreed that a meeting was required, but refused to accompany them to the Ooni’s suite. However, he said he would support whatever position the meeting adopted.
Oba Sikiru Adetona, Awujale of Ijebuland

In the Ooni’s suite, Adetona and Adeyemi met the Ife monarch dining with Alhaji Ado Bayero, Emir of Kano. Another Yoruba monarch, Oba Frederick Aroloye, the Owa of Idanre, writes Adetona, sat in a corner. When the two dining monarchs finished their meals, they went into the Ooni’s room for a discussion, after which the Ooni came out to meet Adetona and Adeyemi.

“When we told the Ooni the purpose of our meeting, he said he had met the Northern Emirs. Their position was the same as ours. We asked how and he said that they wanted a fresh meeting to be called of the Council of State along with us. The Council of State, as enshrined in the constitution, has powers to advise the President,” Adetona writes.

But what the Northern traditional rulers wanted was not exactly what the Yoruba monarchs wanted.

“Our mandate from the Yorubas was that the election had been concluded and our son was clearly the winner. So, all we wanted was that they should just simply release the results,” the author explains.

Adetona then insisted that if a Council of State meeting was to be called, it should be for the purpose of ensuring that the election was de-annulled and the wish of the people respected. The Ooni agreed. But the Alaafin, writes Adetona, said there was no need for another meeting because the key members of the Council had already expressed their opposition to the annulment.

When Adetona and the Alaafin left the Ooni, they went to discuss seating arrangements for the next day’s meeting with the other Yoruba traditional rulers. Apparently suspicious that the Ooni could switch positions, the monarchs agreed that they would sit in a way that would ensure that the Ife monarch was hemmed between two of them “so as to forestall any wavering of position.”

The planned sitting arrangement was foiled. As the traditional rulers walked into the venue of the meeting, they found seats that bore each attendee’s name. Babangida came in, explained the position of the government and sought reactions from his audience. The first came from Ibrahim Dasuki, then Sultan of Sokoto, who said very little apart from accusing the government of using traditional rulers to quell crises brought upon the nation by the government itself.

He suggested that Babangida should invite members of the Council of State to join the traditional rulers in the discussion of the annulment. The Ooni was the next to speak and presented the position of the Yoruba obas: declaration of Abiola as the winner.

It was something the meeting had not expected. “You could have heard a pin drop,” writes Adetona. Next was Bayero, who expressed no opposition to what the Ooni said, but called for a fresh Council of State meeting. After him spoke the Oba of Benin, who condemned the annulment and rejected calls for a Council of State meeting.

The natural rulers continued turning the heat on Babangida. According to Adetona, Gbong Gwon Jos, the late Chief Fom Bot, told the meeting that he could not return to his domain if Babangida did not to de-annul the election, as his subjects had demanded, and asked the former president to find accommodation for him in Abuja. A traditional ruler from the South-East, Adetona writes, was more dramatic, telling Babangida to quit as president. “Please go. Please go,” he shouted.

Then Babangida cut in, explaining that the decision to annul or de-annul was not solely his, but that of the military heirachy. He kept on calling on others to speak, but the obas observed that he was calling only people who sat to his right. The obas sat to his left. This drew a protest from the Alaafin, who Babangida was forced to ask to speak.

The Oyo monarch insisted that another Council of State meeting was needless because the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, a member, was out of the country, while some other key members had expressed their disapproval of the annulment in the media. Other traditional rulers told Babangida that he should save the country from a huge crisis by respecting the wishes of Nigerians.

Then, Babangida attempted one more throw of the dice. In a somewhat emotional tone, he told the meeting how close he and Abiola were. His government, he added, had paid Abiola hefty debts owed him by previous regimes. The sum, Babangida said, was about $600million. The scent of money scrambled a particular royal head–the Ooni’s.

“When he heard this piece of information, the Ooni became angry and said something to the effect that if Babangida paid him (Ooni) that much, he would be living on the Island of Capri in Italy,” Adetona writes.

Sijuade then got up to go to the toilet. Adetona followed, spewing criticisms at his fellow oba for going against what the Yoruba traditional rulers had agreed on. After the meeting, watched by Uche Chukwumerije, Information Secretary in the Interim National Government.

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Posted by on Jul 16 2010. Filed under Front Page Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

27 Comments for “How Oni Of Ife Sijuade Sold the June 12 Mandate To IBB for a Plate of Porridge: By Oba Sikiru Adetona, Awujale of Ijebuland”

  1. Thanks OTITO and do you thinks OWA ILESHA will wish MKO well when he snartched his wife -NO.

  2. Kola Adeyefa

    Osun Defender? NOOOOO This is Yoruba/Osun Destroyer!!!!!!!!!!!
    Your journalism is simply disgusting and childish.
    You like it or not, politics is temporary BUT our (Yoruba) history, culture and tradition will remain forever, even after your newspaper and your narrow readership. According to yours or Awujale’s story, Ooni did not sell or betray the Yorubas regarding June 12. Why must an Awujale even contemplate of writing such thing if he is truely an OMOLUABI? Bad belle. In age, wisdom,education, wealth,respect and connections both nationally and internationally, name three traditional rulers in Nigeria tha can rival the Ooni of Ife, Oba Sijuwade. Where is Concord Newspaper today ?
    This newspaper may not last more than the life-span of a stick of smoking cigar.
    Your newspaper should be defending your state including the globally loved, respected and valued kabiyesi, the Ooni of Ile-Ife, the cradle of the Yorubas. Ooni was born into millions and was an internationally known as one of wealthiest people in Nigeria as far back as 60s. He was super rich, yes, super rich before he became an Oba. It is a common knowledge at home and abroad that the likes of lesser obas like Alaafin and Awujale are only jealous of Kabiyesi, Ooni of Ife and the spiritual head of the Yorubas. Though as a well cultured and proper Yoruba man, I love and respect both Alaafin and Awujale.
    Please give honour to whom is due. Our Ooni deserves the greatest and best of respect.

    • Felix

      Utter rubbish. Everyone knows that the Ooni betrayed the Yorubas. Remember that infamous phrase of his ” Well, the man talked sense”? What was the sense that the man (IBB) talked that justified the annulling of the June 12 Presidential elections which was observed to be the freest and fairest election till date?
      By the way, respect is earned, not solicited for.

    • oreagba

      How dare you say such rurbish to the AWUJALE or do you think he’s one of those dirty and smelling obas. As a matter of fact ,ooni of ife is a betrayal to the yorubas .his (gp) as drop drastically in the southwest and all over nigeria. No one should ever compare AWUJALE of IJEBU LAND to ooni of ife,they are two different thin. AWUJALE is a king of value and virtue which makes him more unique

  3. Moshood Oni

    Well, the story told here was not made public by government then or afterwards but the factual and uncontestable statement Oba Sijuwade made on NTA news live after the said meeting with the devilish Babangida was this “AT SOME POINT HE WAS TALKING SENSE” aptly iterpreted as Babangida justifying the annulment of June 12 presidential election. Could it be the $600m joker? Possibly, this was rightful money belonging to Abiola if it was paid at all but why is Ooni getting angry over it. This is very suspicious and anybody that cares to pay attention will actually know how the unsuspecting Ooni was cajoled by the evil genius who stupidly want to become president again. BIG JOKE!

  4. ebonyxxx

    THIS IS UNPROFESSIONAL
    I AM MORE CONFUSED AFTER READING THIS
    THE HEADLINE AND THE BODY CANT BE JUSTIFY
    WHEN SHALL WE HAVE A GOOD JOURNALISM IN THIS COUNTRY
    LIKE THE DAYS OF DELE GIWA

  5. AJISEKOLA

    true or not true,for every rumour there must be an element of truth. Ok let’s assume the above story is false, now is what osun monarchies doing today good enough for royal fathers?
    Royal father now belong to this party or the other, can u people deny that?
    WE ALL KNOW THAT OONI IS PDP. IS THAT NOT?

  6. Glad ghana

    If ooni is a pdp member or not what is ur problem? If u want to mess a king, u must be a king. Di oba na koto le bu oba,mada si ohun ti kokan o,fi awon oba le,eyin na lenda arin won ru.

  7. Thanks Glad ghana,OTE TI POJU among yorubas and thats why we lack behind.

  8. Ajisekola,these royal fathers are AGIP to any govenment of the day and they don’t want to be dethroned like Dansuki and what YORUBAS should be thinking of now is our POSITION at the national level in next election than destroying our HERITAGE.

  9. Bashir Adesanya

    but why did it take so long for the Awujale to tell the story to the world? Some traditional rulers cant even tell the truth on time- when it matters most.

  10. In reference to your recent contribution on what actually transpired among the obas in the wake of Abiola’s tragedy, you referenced Oba Sijuwade as the “Oonirisa Oluaye Olofin Adimula” Please, people, the only Oluaye is the Almighty God. Beside Him, there is non others who can save. Please, put politics aside and know that even Kabiyesi dose not even want such accolades, or title been bestowed on him. He has acknowledged the fact that there is only one God and that is Jesus, without which nothing is made that is made. He is the uncaused-cause, the giver of life, the Allknowing Creator, the only God, who created the adimulas. Besides. please, wake up, times have changed, as such, that people have the right to voice their opinion. This is the opinion of one of the prominent obas and the newspaper did not put a gun to the Obas’ head. The time this kind of bullying comment counted has passed. People have the right to express themselves without this kind of comment from anyone, who thinks by his or her comment, he wins favor from the “Oonirisa” as he has described him. Such inscriptions, or titles, the Good Book describes as, “…they have eyes, but they cannot see, ears, but they cannot hear-and they that worship them shall be like them…” If anything, you need to stop this kind of nonsense as it only serves to impeade the progress for those who badly need it as opposed to you who want to keep your so called values and customs for the priviledged. Shame on you. By the way, you called yourself Olubuse, wao!!!!!!!!!!, So, you have forsaken your father’s name for Olubuse. I wonder if this so called Olubuse is a theif, would you still want to be associated with him. Never have you ever heard Ooni ascribing to himself as being Omisore. Please, spare me the lineage, or the geneological history, as we all know the history. Like you saide, search the truth and let the truth set you free.

  11. Prince Olubuse Omisore

    Initially, I did not want to comment or have anything to say about your comments. Firstly, you do not know anything about me. Thank God for freedom of speech, that gives each and every one of us rights to express ourselves. At any rate, the appellation of the Custodian of Yoruba Customs and Tradition and the ruler of the African Ancient Kingdom is Oonirisa Oluaye Olofin Adimula. According to Yoruba Tradition and Religion, the King (Oba) of the Ancient City (State like) is a DEITY. This is not my own making; this is just how Yoruba speaking people in Nigeria and Diaspora refer to Baba in Ife..

  12. Kola, I can’t believe all your praisesongs of Ooni? How has all Ooni’s wealth has helped/benefitted Ifes and Yorubas in general? Have you plied on Ife-Ibadan expressway? The side Ooni did is a suicide witness to all the road users while the older part is much better. For your information, I live in UK and conversant with how Sijuwade enriched himself and use the money to oppress the people and sleep around with oyinbo prostitutes. Please safe your praise songs to yourself and see how Ooni keep cheating all Ife local government councils and Obas in surrounding lesser towns. He will soon die and face his maker.
    Can you compare his reign to that of his predecessor Sir Aderemi? You must be too dumb!!!

  13. Mumu OMOIFE,where you there when the election was rigged by OONI or is OONI AN INEC OFFICER.CHILD PLEASE.

  14. Badeola, no wonder you did not pass wasce/gce, you can’t even read or write, where did I claim Sijuwade rigged election.?Please learn how to read/understand and write first b4 you join an intelligent discussion. You are probably too stoned from OGURO( eyin omo ife emu le nmu o!).

  15. Ekpo Johnson

    This is a very poor journalism which will rather push people off your paper than attract them. I wonder if the Editor went through the story before publishing – otherwise it is shamefu of Osun Defender to be portraying such a person as an Editor at whatever level.
    Your story unfortunately woefully failed to protray Ooni as a selfish personality. I knew Ooni of Ife in the days we were schooling at Uyo. His personality alone attracted some goodies for d University in those days as the Chancellor; couple with personal donations he made to the school. We all loved him so much.
    We use to hear that Ooni Sijuwade is the foresmost, well respected traditional ruler in Yorubaland & even in Nigeria; but I wonder what this writer want to gain
    by publishing a story that the title and the content are directly opposite.
    I see this as one of the manifestations of falling standards of professionalism in Nigeria which has now extended to journalism.
    I expect your publication to salute the courage of a concerned father who was able to face military junter and tell him direct truth right across the table.
    I do not see what is wrong in what Oba Adetona has said concerning Oba Sijuwade. Even if he has said anything wrong, your paper as Osun Defender should have defended him at worst as a traditional ruler in your state – otherwise what are you defending?

  16. Jide Jone

    Having gone through all your write up,it is like all of you are throwing your weight behind Ooni, despite and in spite of his status as a monarch participating in an electoral issues this is a disgrace,he should be in position of trust and to mediate between two parties and to be unsoliciting for any group or individual but from the look of the things he is not the only monarch in town, we have several other monarch’s that does’t partake in any issue relating to political parties.You people knew the PDP across Nigeria purchased their position and acquired power through miscarriage of justice.lt is high time we have to face reality and you should stop deceiving yourselves as charity begins at home.
    If wishes were horses begars would ride, if that being the case must Iyiola Omisore qualified as a senator from prison after demised of the then Attorney for justice chief Bola Ige the cisero of Esa-Oke.Please think deeply before you lots place your article or contribution for submission.

  17. Our royal fathers,our fathers in yorubaland,no matter what may happen we can never ‘disfather’ you.pls,for the sake of our future and yoruba as a whole,since we cannot change the past,but present then lets face the future and make it as if past never existed.may God forgive MKO Abiola and grant him aljannat firdaus.may you our royal fathers in yorubaland live long in health and wealth and may your back be good,ki ade o pe lori yio o.God bless Nigeria,ile oodua o ni baje o lagbara Olohun.

  18. MR SUNDAY FAWIBE

    Thank you for your note Lawyer Akinyanju.Please,I will like to know Is this Lawyer Kayode Akinyanju that went to St. John’s Grammar School Ife and SDA Primary School.?Thanks Mr Fawibe

  19. Mr Sunday Fawibe,im not a lawyer,im the same person you met on facebook.again i attended GRA pry school and Ogudu Gramar School both in Ogudu/Ojota area in Lagos state.have a nice day.

  20. AJISEKOLA

    So Baba can beg(bebe) Aregbe. Even Adejare can even bow to the true symbol of Yoruba Omoluabi. Definately God is Great!!!

  21. otunba abegunde

    no one talk bad about oba if you want to live long.

  22. How Oni Of Ife Sijuade Sold the June 12 Mandate To IBB for a Plate of Porridge: By Oba Sikiru Adetona, Awujale of Ijebuland | OSUN DEFENDER – just great!

  23. oreagba

    God is in control. It is well

  24. God Almighty is in Control… All Shall be Well…

  25. omoniger 1

    Let be honest Awujale has said nothing to buttress the titled of this article.If someone his paid $600.000000 for a job in Nigeria for any Job or jobs in Nigeria we should all ask question.Abiola is a very corrupt leader weather dead or alive.Awujale and Alaafin will always support this man because of their friendship and turn blind eyes to his shortcoming this will be a different story if it were to be Cheif Obafemi Awolowo.

    Awujale is never a saint he wine and dine with like of Abiola, Adenunga and other corrupt Nigeria citizen to get his own shares and Alaafin benefited so much from Abiolas loot.

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