One of Nigeria’s prominent traditional ruler, the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade will be laid to rest Friday, August 14, in Ile-Ife.
The south-west monarch is to be buried with thousands of people expected to attend his funeral.
Traditional rites to honour Oba Okunade Sijuwade – the king of the Yorubas, Nigeria’s second biggest ethnic group – will be held in the city of Ife.
Banks and other business activities have been closed, as part of ways to pay respect to the late ruler.
The 85-year-old sovereign died in London in July but his death was only announced on Wednesday by his son, Prince Adetokunboh Sijuwade.
It was gathered that the royal court first needed to have extensive consultations and begin the search for a successor before the announcement of the obas transition.
The late monarch was respected by most Yorubas, who number about 35 million, in south-west Nigeria, Togo and Benin.
The Ooni was said to be the direct descendant of Oduduwa, who is a Yoruba god.
Traditional rulers, politicians and other dignitaries are expected to attend the ceremony.
Dignitaries have described the death of the Ooni as a great loss to the state and the Yoruba race, stressing, however, that a king could not die in Yorubaland.
They also expressed gratitude to the people of Osun and prayed that God would provide another king who would excel as the late Ooni did.
Sijuwade was born to the Ogboru ruling house. The handsome king was a grandson of the Ooni Sijuwade Adelekan Olubuse I. He studied at the Abeokuta Grammar School and Oduduwa College in Ile-Ife.
He worked for three years in his father’s business and later did a two-year stint with the Nigerian Tribune, before attending the Northampton College in the United Kingdom to study Business Management.
At the young age of 30, he became a manager in Leventis, a Greek-Nigerian conglomerate. In 1963, he became the Sales Director of the state-owned National Motors in Lagos. After spotting a business opportunity during a 1964 visit to the Soviet Union, he formed a company to distribute Soviet-built vehicles and equipment in Nigeria. This later became the nucleus of his widespread business empire. He also invested in real estate in his home town of Ile-Ife. By the time
Sijuwade was crowned Ooni in 1980 he had become a wealthy man, whose fame and connection was global.