Chairman of the African Business Roundtable, Dr Bamanga Tukur has described the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, as a bridge builder.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Prince Oliver Okpala, Tukur said his passage has deprived Nigeria of one of her best royal fathers and a man of unmistakable dignity and elegance.
The former Nigeria ambassador-at-large not only described Oni as a patriot, a philanthropist and a humanist of note and repute, but added that by his demise, Nigeria has lost one of her finest crop of gentlemen.
Sympathising with the immediate Oni family, the people of Ife, the Yoruba race and Nigerians at large, Tukur said his death came to him and his family as a shock.
He said: “The news of the passing on of the revered and legendary Oni of Ife, His Royal Highness, Oba Okunade Sijuwande, came to me and my family as a big surprise and shock.
“I have known and been a personal friend of the Oni of Ife for a long period now. He was a complete gentleman, a detribalized Nigerian and a veritable repository and depository of the custom and tradition of the Yoruba race.
“As the Oni and Ipso-facto the Spiritual head of all the Yorubas, he exhibited immense dignity and grace to the traditional throne of Ife. He had a commanding presence and miam as the Oni of Ife.
“Oni was a great nationalist, bridge builder and elder statesman, a patriot, a philanthropist and a humanist of note and repute
“He was also a great Nigerian and rare gem. By his passage, Nigeria has been deprived of one of her best royal fathers and a man of unmistakable dignity and elegance. Nigeria indeed by his demise has lost one of her finest crop of gentlemen. May his gentle and humble soul rest in the bosom of the Almighty.”


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