Alaiyeluwa Oba (Dr) S.K. Adetona CFR, LL.D., DCL, A. Agric, D.Litt. (Hon), JP
The Awujale & Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland
This year 2015, the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Alaiyeluwa (Dr) Sikiru Kayode Adetona CFR, LL.D., DCL, A. Agric, D.Litt. (Hon), Ogbagba II, will be 55 years on the throne and has become a great motivator and catalyst of development activities in Ijebu - land and the whole of Nigeria.
Destined to be an Oba, Prince Sikiru Kayode Adetona was far away 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 Gbelegbuwa II in January 1959. As it then became the turn of the Anikilaiya Ruling house, one of the four Awujale royal families to present the new Awujale, a number of candidates emerged for consideration in conformity with Ijebu tradition (the Abidagba tradition) by which only son/sons born while Oba was on the throne that are eligible. At that point in time there were only two surviving Abidagbas one of whom was omoba Rufail Adetona, father of the present Awujale. Unfortunately, both wee illiterate and therefore unsuitable for modern Ijebu. In the circumstance, tradition had to be modified to suit dictates of modern times. Consequently the young Prince Sikiru Kayode Adetona was nominated by his father, following which he was invited home to be the next Awujale of Ijebuland.
Prince Sikiru Kayode 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 Ansar-Ud-deen 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 Agbelesona families, significantly helped in later years to bridge the gap between Ijebu-Ode and Ijebu-Igbo. Prince Adetona has his secondary education at Olu-Iwa college (now Adeola Odutola College) ijebu-ode from 1951 to 1956 when he left to take up an appointment with Audit department of Western Region of Nigeria between 1957 to 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 (ACCS) now (ACIS) under the merger arrangement between the two bodies’ 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 Awujale Regency council, headed by late Ogbeni-Oja, Chief T.A. Odutola. Then followed by the installation rituals and ceremony starting with the “ILETE” and the journey to ODO for 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 the earnest and on Saturday April, 2nd 1960. The new Awujale was crowned at “OJU OSI in ITORO and in the presence of all Ijebu Obas, Otunbas, Chiefs, member of the Awujale Regency Council, the Ijebu Community at home and abroad and invited guest from far and near.
His instrument of appointment was formally presented to him at the impressive ceremony by then the premier of Western Nigeria, late chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola. Three days later, the new Awujale took his seat from Western House of Chiefs at Ibadan.
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 Commissioner during period of six month under Administrator Chief (Dr) Olikoye Majekodunmi.
Oba Adetona believes in leadership by example. In his quest to energize his people and promote socio-economic 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 believes that culture is dynamics and, therefore encouraged that change that enables his people too meet with modern times.
In pursuance of this objective, he encouraged modification of culture and traditions by removing those aspect 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 throughout Ijebuland by allowing their Baales the privileged to wear beaded crowns (coronet) and the use of beaded walking sticks. Such elevation was designed to facilitate easy mobilization of the people in the rural areas for rapid development.
Obas of some of these communities are: Alawunren of Okelamuren, Oru Of Imoru, Lipa of Molipa Ijebu-Ode, Oyebola of Igbaga, Ajalaiye of Illugun South; Olligun of Ilugun North; Ojotumoro of Abigi, Kobowore of Jobore, Oloko of Ijebu-Imusin, Ajalorun of Ijebu-Ife, Obelu of Esure, Magunsen of Itamarun; Lamodi of Isiwo, Ayanya of Odoyanta, Olokine of Ojowo (Ijebu Igbo), Saderiren of Isonyin, Ogirimadagbo of Ilodo, Ayanyelu of Ijesha Ijebu, Bejeroku of Oke Agbo (Ijebu-igbo), Yanperuwa of Odoregbe, Elefire of Efire, Aladekan of Oke –Ako, Sapenuwa of Ogbere, Okamu of Ala, Abijaparoko of Japara (Ijebu-Igbo), Keegbo of Atikori (Ijebu-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 citizen’s participation of Ijebu Industrial development programmes revived the age-grade system, the Regberegbe, for meaningful and more effective development in his domain. The strategy is yielding and the Regberegbe are now engaged in healthy rivalry for contributions to the society upliftment. The Regberegbe have always been the 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 domain.
In appreciation of Oba Adetona’s leadership style, his people rallied round to construct an ultra- modern Palace, a 21st century Palace complex Commissioned on November 25, 1995. The edifice has no 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 Ogunsanya of Ikorodu, was a manifestation of the acceptance of the Awujale as the rallying point of all Ijebu at home and in the Diaspora. Again, it is eloquent testimony that in spite of any political division caused by the creation of states, the position of the Awujale as the Traditional Paramount Ruler of all Ijebu has not affected. Today the Awujale Palace Ijebu-Ode stands as a great 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, intergrity, courage, sincerity, creditability and reasoned contributions to national debates and issues. He served as Chancellor of a Federal University.
He is rotational President of Ogun State Council of Obas, President of Ijebu Traditional Council and, finally, 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 in 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 Tenins Club, Lagos and vice patron of some which have honoured him the Island Club Lagos. He is the Patron of Egbe Mafowoku of Ijebuland. Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, and his middle connoted has brought joy to his people and has shared in their vicissitudes. His social engineering has been a stimulus for development area of education and spheres of social development especially in the improvement of infrastructural facilities. During his reign, Ijebuland has witnessed tremendous progress.
Oba Adetona assits and reward merits; he encourages honesty, ingenuity and creativity. He liberally promotes ever useful design toward socio economic emancipation and improvement of Ijebuland, Yorubaland and Nigeria in general. Consequently, his reign as the Awujale has been blessed with a lot of development. Through his outstanding quality of human engineering he had stimulated tremendous facilities; medical, social, industrial and economic growth; modern telecommunication system, modern water works with improved water distribution network, tight security network etc. Through his mature leadership, Ijebu as a whole has enjoyed continuous peace, unity, stability, also enormous progress. At no time in history of the ijebus has an Oba been such a great rallying point for people.
Today, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona remains a greatly loved, deeply and highly respected Oba, not only by his people of Ijebu but even beyond.
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