Articles about our very own Yoruba king, the custodian of our traditions, Oba Okunade Sijuade, Olubuse II by Dele Momodu was interesting to read.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d be defensive but I know my people very well, some elders are so shameless that rather than speak the truths, they’d get out of their way to say complete opposite that only them believe.
So my conclusion after reading the two articles was that Mr Dele Momodu writes from his relationship with the king and he is perfectly entitled to his opinion.
Out of 38 long paragraphs, Mr Dele Momodu only talked about Modakeke in four lines and here’s what he had to say:
“He faced many challenges, the toughest being the internecine wars between Ife and Modakeke. It reminded me of the intractable clashes between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It is to his eternal credit that he managed to reconcile with the people of Modakeke after a most fearsome and destructive war.” Dele Momodu
There is a reason Nigeria is in a sink hole today, we lie and assume everyone is equally mindless.
Modakeke and Ife crisis is number one legacy that Oba Okunade Sijuade left behind, he resuscitated the isakole/land ownership crisis. The war that Mr Momodu spoke of lightly killed thousands of people starting from the day after the king was crowned, the most gruesome one was the 1997-2000 whereby the king paid for many youngsters from out of town to fight to reduce casualties from Ife. People in our inner villages still live in fear today, thanks to Oba Sijuade Okunade.
I don’t expect Mr Momodu to be Modakeke/Ife mouth piece but he would have done a lot better to not even talk about the issue at all.
The only recurring themes from both essays was the Oba Sijuade’s London home in Chester Terrace and his social life style which has nothing to do with his role as an important Yoruba king.
I am glad that in the end Mr Momodu suggested qualities that the new king must have:
“Above all he must be kind hearted, good natured and selfless.” Dele Momodu
In short, the new Ooni of Ife has to be all that Oba Okunade Sijuade was not.
The mention of being wealthy is nonsense, money would not buy you commonsense. How do you describe action of airlifting 85 years old king who is frail and ill to be taking through the stress of flying six hours so he could meet his ancestors in a foreign land?
Most Nigerians with far less money will not do that to their parents.
We certainly don’t have accurate record of past history, but the last 30 years of Oba Okunade Sijuade reign is fresh enough that we remember and I hope kingmakers would realise time has changed. That Ife and Modakeke case is like adie ba lokun… We all want progress, then sustainable peace must be the first priority.
A progressive minded individual willing to adapt traditions and champion all-inclusive positive change in both Ife and environment is what we wanted and desperately needed.