Awujale at 90…When Oba Sikiru Adetona Defied Olusegun Obasanjo To Save Mike Adenuga


– Why Ijebu’s Paramount Monarch Dared Presidential Might to Rescue Globacom Founder

There exists a story that transcends the ordinary narrative. It’s a tale of ancient bonds, towering courage, and a fearless monarch who stood as a bulwark against the tempest of authority. His name is HRM Oba Sikiru Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebuland. And as he clocks 90, it becomes obligatory to recall the flashes of valour that has defined his reign.

The most memorable was his intervention in the pulsating heart of Nigeria’s political arena, when the clash of wills between a former president and a telecom tycoon threatened to erupt into a cataclysmic storm.

At the centre of the maelstrom stood the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, a figure of venerable wisdom and indomitable spirit. His weathered countenance belies a steely resolve, forged by decades of leadership amidst the ebbs and flows of power. But it was not his own fate that compelled him to step into the fray; it was the blood tie that bound him to a man facing the wrath of authority.

Enter Mike Adenuga, the enigmatic chairman of Globacom, a titan in the telecom industry whose fortunes have woven a tapestry of success and controversy. Yet, on this fateful day, the threads of his destiny hang by a perilously thin thread, threatened to be severed by the hand of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

What transpired next is the stuff of legend, whispered in hushed tones across the corridors of power and reverence. With the weight of history bearing down upon his shoulders, Oba Adetona embarked on a daring mission to defy the might of a former head of state. For Adenuga was not merely a mogul in his eyes; he was kin, a cherished cousin whose honor and legacy were intertwined with the very fabric of Ijebu tradition.

In a dramatic showdown that unfolded behind closed doors, the Awujale confronted Obasanjo with a resolve that echoed through the annals of time. With words as sharp as the ancestral blade he wielded, he dared to challenge the authority that sought to devour his kin. In that moment, age was but a number, and power but a fleeting illusion in the face of unwavering conviction.

Few people would forget in a hurry, how former President, Olusegun Obasanjo and the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, got embroiled in a war of words and will over issues revolving around the Globacom boss.

But rather than cash in on the situation like several other billionaires and publicity-huggers would do, Adenuga cleverly distanced himself from the fiasco. Findings revealed that he warned his underlings, friends, associates and family members against making any statement in respect of the incident.

This has been attributed to his desire to be uninvolved in the ugly war of words that transpired between the two elders whose mentorship and superior wisdom remain prime sources of wisdom and inspiration to Adenuga. Rather than join in the imbroglio, Adenuga fervently prayed for it to come to an abrupt end.

Whatever the heartfelt wishes of the Globacom boss, the tiff between Obasanjo and the Awujale came to an end. But unlike the carnages of old that shaped and malformed the histories of great icons and civilisations, it incited no bloodbath.

While it lasted, the former Nigerian President and incumbent monarch of Ijebuland respectively, presented an interesting portrait of ego, statesmanship and tolerance as they slugged it out against each other in spoken and printed words.

Against all odds, Oba Adetona emerged victorious, his steely determination casting a shadow over the ambitions of the mighty. Through his timely intervention, he not only saved Adenuga from the clutches of disgrace but also reaffirmed the enduring strength of familial bonds in a world often defined by its transience.

As the dust settled and the echoes of the confrontation faded into memory, one truth remained etched in the annals of history: that the noble intervention of a 90-year-old monarch had defied the tides of power and upheld the timeless values of loyalty, honor, and kinship.


Now, as he clocks 90, it is hardly surprising that the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu, conferred on the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, the second highest national honour of the Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON) to mark the monarch’s 90th birthday celebration.

Tinubu made the announcement at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye during the commissioning of the Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona School of Governance Studies and the presentation of a book titled; “Reinventing Governance in Nigeria: The Oba (Dr.) Sikiru Kayode Adetona Model.”

Represented by the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, the President said the monarch deserves the second highest honour in the land because of his contribution to nation-building and meritorious service to humanity.

“Because Kabiyesi Adetona has honoured our country and humanity with his many years of meritorious service, I, therefore, on this occasion of his 90th birthday ceremony confer on him the second highest National honour of Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON).

“The National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, will be asked to take over the running and management of Oba Sikiru Adetona School of Governance Studies,” the President said.

Tinubu said that the numerous contributions of Oba Adetona to national development, particularly in the education sector have expanded the sector to optimal delivery through various donations and endowments.

He described Adetona as forthright with exceptional character who stood his ground and confronted injustice in all ramifications, commending him for his role in ensuring the return of democratic governance in Nigeria.

Born on May 10, 1934, into the Royal House of Anikinaiya of Ijẹbuland in Imupa, Ijebu Ode, his father was Prince Rufai Adetọna Adeleke, a son of Ọba Adeleke, Ọgbagba Agbotewole I (c. 1825–1906), who was the Awujalẹ of Ijẹbuland from 1895 to 1906. His mother was Ajibabi Ọnaṣile, who was from the town of Ijebu Igbo. The founder of the Royal House of Anikinaiya (or Anikilaya) was his great-grandfather Oba Anikilaya, Figbajoye Agboogunsa I, (c. 1775–1854) who reigned from 1821 to 1854, and who himself was a son of Ọba Gbelegbuwa.

Oba Adetọna attended various Baptist Schools, Ereko, Ijẹbu-Ode; Ogbere United Primary School, Oke Agbo, Ijẹbu-Igbo; and Ansar-Ud-Deen School, Ijebu-Ode between 1943 and 1950. For his secondary education, he attended Olu-Iwa (now Adeola Odutọla) College, Ijebu-Ode from 1951 to 1956. Between 1957 and 1958 he took up an appointment with the then Audit Department of the Western Region, Ibadan.

The prince resigned his appointment in 1958 to pursue further studies in Accountancy in the United Kingdom, which was the colonial ruler of Nigeria at the time.

By a letter dated January 4, 1960, referenced CB. 4 1/333, the Permanent Secretary in the Western Region Ministry of Local Government conveyed to the Local Government Adviser in Ijẹbu Ode approval of the Western Region Governor in Council, the appointment of Prince Sikiru Kayode Adetona as king, and his confirmation as the new Awujale of Ijebuland with effect from that date, January 4, 1960.

It became the lot of Ijẹbu notables like the late Ọgbẹni-Ọja, Chief (Dr.) Timothy Adeọla Odutọla, Bọbasuwa I, Chief Emmanuel Okusanya Okunọwọ (MBE, KFNM); and Aṣiwaju, Chief Samuel Ọlatubọsun Ṣhonibare to arrange for the home-coming of the King-elect. On January 18, 1960, the Head of the Ijẹbu Ode Regency Council, the Ọgbeni-Ọja, Chief Timothy Adeọla Odutọla formally presented the new traditional ruler to the whole world.

Since he ascended the throne, Oba Adetona has done his best to galvanise the entire Ijebu citizenry through revitalisation and reinvigoration of the Age Grades system known as Regberegbe. He got a mini stadium built through communal efforts, and turned the age-long annual Ojude-Oba festival into a nonpareil cultural activity and tourism carnival, easily the best in Nigeria and most-talked-about-cultural event globally.

During his long and eventful reign, Ijebuland has enjoyed phenomenal growth in all spheres of human endeavour, exemplified by many educational institutions including the largest number of universities per population in Nigeria.

About the author

Baba Voss

A Prolific Writer, Vast In Series of Publications Basically on Politics, Entertainment, Sport, Life Style, Fashion, Business, Technology, Health, History etc.

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