The Awujale & Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland
As he approaches his 51st year on the revered throne of the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Aalaiyeluwa (DR) Sikiru Kayode Adetona, CFR, LL.D, DCL, D.Litt, D.Agric. (Hon), Ogbagba ll, has become a colossus, a frontline traditional ruler, a monarch of tremendous Intelligence, Tact, and wisdom, a prodigy of integrity and a reformer, an astute manager of human beings, a great motivator and catalyst of developmental activities.
Destined to be an Oba, Prince Sikiru Kayode Adetona was far way in the United Kingdom in pursuit of a professional career when the Anikinaiya ruling house from which he descended invited him home to ascend the throne of his ancestors following the demise of Oba Daniel Robertson Adesanya Gbelwguwa ll in January 1959.
As it then became the turn of the Anikinlaiya Ruling House, one of the four Awujale royal families to present the new Awujale, a number of canadidates emerged for consideration in conformity with Ijebu tradition ( the abidagba tradition) by which only son/sons born while the Oba was on the throne that are eligible. At that point in time, there were only two surviving Abidagbas one of whom was Omoba Rufai Adetona, father of the present Awujale. Unfortunately, both wee illiterate and therefore unsuitable for modern times. Consequently, the young Prince Sikiru Kayode Adetona was nominated by his father, following which he was invited home to be the next Aawujale of Ijebuland.
Prince Sikiru Adetona was born into the Anikinaiya royal family of Ijebu Ode on May 10, 1934 and had his elementary education between 1943 and 1950 at Baptist school, Eroko, Ijebu-Ode; Ogbere United Primary School, Oke Agbo, Ijebu-Igbo and Bapist School, Ijebu-Ode. The fact that the mother of the young prince hailed from two famous and illustrious families in ijebu- Igbo, the Onashile and Aagebelesona families, significantly helped in later years to bridge the gap between Ijebu-Ode and ijebu-igbo.
Prince Adetona had his secondary education at Olu-Iwa college (Now Adeola Odutola Collage) Ijebu-Ode from 1951 to 1956 when he left to take up an appointment with the Audit Department of the western region of Nigeria between 1957 and 1958. He resigned in 1958 to pursue further studies in Accountancy in the United Kingdom between 1957 and 1958. He resigned in 1958 to pursue further studies in Accountancy in the United Kingdom. He is an Associate Member of the Corporation of Secretaries and chartered Secretaries.
The Government of Western Nigeria approved his appointment as Awujale and Paramount ruler of Ijebuland on January 4, 1960. A fortnight later, he was formally presented to the Ijebu people by the Awukale Regency Council, headed by late Ogbeni-Oja, Chief T A Odutola. Then followed by the installation rituals ceremonies starting with the “Ilete” and the journey to ODO for the three months seclusion. The return trip to ijebu-Ode was very exciting and eventful with its many rituals and traditional observances.
However, Preparations for the Coronation began in earnest and on Saturday April, 2nd 1960, the new Awujale was crounced at “Oju Osi in ITORO and in the presence of all Ijebu Obas, Otunbas, and Chiefs, members of the Awujale Regency Council, the ijebu community at home and abroad, and invited distinguished guests from far and near.
His instrument of Appointment was formally presented to him at the impressive ceremony by the then Premier of Western Nigeria, late Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola. Three days later, the new Awujale took his seat at the western house of chiefs at lbandan.
Thereafter oba adetona was appointed a minister and member of the western region executive council, a post he held until the declaration of a state of emergency in may 1962. He also served as a commissioner during the emergency period of six months under administrator chief (DR) Olikoye Majekodunmi.
Oba Adetona believes in leadership by example. In his quest to energize his people and promote socio-econmic development of Ijebuland and Nigeria as a nation, He invested his personal funds in industrial enterprises, thereby providing employment opportunities for his people.
As an enlightened monarch, oba adetona belives that culture is dynamic and, therefore encouraged those changes that enable his people to meet with modern times.
In pursuance of this objective, He encouraged modification of culture and traditions by removing those aspects that are barbaric and inimical to modern civilization. For this, Ijebus are grateful to him. For example, Ijebu Obas on their demise are now buried according to their religious beliefs eliminating old unwholesome practices.
As part of his progressive ideas and programme, Oba adetona has consistently granted coronet status to deserving communities throughtout Ijebuland by allowing their bales the privilege to wear beaded crowns ( coronet) and the use of beaded walking sticks. Suck elevation was designed to facilitate easy mobilization of the people in the rural areas for rapid development.
Obas of some of those communities are: Alawunren of Okelamuren, Oru of Imoru, Lipa of Molipa, Ijebu-ode; Oyebola of Igbaga, Ajalaiye of ilugun southl Olligun of ilugun North; Ojotumoro of Abigi; Kobowore of Jobore; Magunsen of Itamarun; Lamodi of Isiwo; Ayanta of Odoyanta; Olokine of Ojowo (Ijebu-Igbo); Saderiren of Isonyin; Ogirimadagbo of ilodol Ayanyelu of ijesha Ijebu; Bejeroku of Okeagbo (Ijebu-Igbo)l Yanperuwa of Odoregbel Elefire of Efire; Aladeken of Oke-Ako; Sapenuwa of Igbo); Sopenlukale of Oke Sopen (Ijebu-Igbo); Oloni of Oni (Waterside); Alarige of Ibiade (Waterside); and few others.
Still keen on the rapid development of Ijebuland, Oba Adetona in addition to encouraging the citizens’ participation in ijebu industrial developemt programmes, revived the age-grade system, the regberegbe, for meaningful and more effective development of his domain. This strategy is yielding results as the Regberegbe have always been Lynchpin of traditional ijebu democratic form of government and Oba Adetona’s resuscitation of the system is a positive move to blend the ancient and modern for the progress of his domain.
In appreciated of Oba Adetona’s leadership style, his people rallied round to construct an ultra-modern Palace, a 21st century Palace complex commissioned on Novemeber 25, 1995. This edifice has no comparison yet in Nigeria and Africa. The financial contribution apart, the fact that the Chairman of the Aafin Awujale building Committee was the late Otunba Adeniran Ogunsaya of Ikorodu was a manifestation of the acceptance of the awujale as the rallying point of all ijeby at home and in the Diaspora. Again, it is an eloquent testimony that in spite of any political divison caused by the creation of States, the position of the Awujale as the Traditional Paramount Ruler of all Ijebu has not been affected.
Today the Awujale Palace ijebu-Ode stands as a great Ijebu Monument and to the pride of all.
On the national scene, Oba Sikiru Adetona has added enormous dignity to the status of the office of the Awujale through his comportment, Integrity, Courage, Sincerity, Creditability and reasoned contributions to national debates and issues. He has served as Chancellor of a federal university.
He is rotational President of Ogun State Countil of Obas, President of Ijebu Traditional Council and, finally the President of Ogun State Muslim Council.
Only recently, He was nominated as a delegate to the on-going National Political Reform Conference (NPRC) 2005, set up by the (Former) President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
Notwithstanding his busy schedule, Oba Adetona is of social disposition hence his membership of a number of societies, some of which have honoured him,He is the vice-Patron of Yoruba Tennis Club, Lagos. He is the patron of Egbe Mafowoku of Ijebuland. Oba sikiru Kayode Adetona, as his middle name connotes has brought joy to his people and has shared in their vicissitudes. His social engineering has been a stimulus for development in the areas of education and spheres of social development especially in the improvement of infrastructural facilities, during his reign, Ijebuland Has withnessed tremendous progress.
Oba Adetona assists and rewards merits; he encourages honesty, ingenuity and creativity. He liberally promotes every useful design towards socioeconomic emanipaction and improvement of Ijebuland, Yorubaland and Nigeria in general. Consequntly, His reign as the Awujale has been blessed with a lot of development. Through his outstanding quality of human engineering, he had stimulated tremendous developments and growth in the areas of education, provision of roads, infrastructural facilities; medical, social, industrial and economic growth; modern telecommunication system, modern water works with improved water distribution network, tight security network, ect. Through his mature leadership, Ijebu as a whole has enjoyed continuous peace, unity, stability; and also enormous progress. At no time in the history of the ijebus has an Oba been such a great rallying point of people.
Today, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adebtona remains a greatly loved, deeply and highly respected Oba, not only by his people of Ijebu but even beyond.
May Allah continue to bless this great gift to ijebus, Ogun State and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.