Ife Council formally announces Ooni’s demise

                                                                       Ooni of Ife
Speculations surrounding the death of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, were yesterday finally laid to rest when the Ife Traditional Council announced the demise of the paramount ruler.

The Obalufe, Oba Solomon Omisakin, who led the traditional council to Governor Rauf Aregbesola at the Government House Osogbo, told the governor that the monarch has joined his ancestors.
He held that the delay in the announcement of Ooni’s death was due to strict adherence to Yoruba tradition of announcing the death of a monarch.
Omisakin stressed that it was imperative for the council to lay to rest the rumours making the rounds on the death of the Ooni, saying the announcement of the monarch’s death was not supposed to be made in the market place or social gatherings.
He asked for the support and cooperation of the governor and the state government for peace and progress of Ife Kingdom and Yoruba Land in general.
His words: “We, the Ife Traditional Council have come here to brief you, the governor and the government of Osun about the passing-on of our royal majesty, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, the Ooni of Ife.
“The breaking of the news of the demise of the king must follow traditional ways and rites, that is why it is coming at this time.
“The news of the transition to glory of any Yoruba monarch is not a pedestrian news that one can just announce at a market place or a social gathering.
“The announcement of the death of a great man like our royal monarch is a great news that must be announced in a grand style.
“On behalf of the entire Sijuade family, the Ife Traditional Council and the entire Ife indigenes, we hereby announce the passing on to glory of His Imperial Majesy, Oba Okunade Sijuade, Olubuse the II.”
Responding, Governor, Aregbesola recounted the last message he received from the late monarch on the 23rd day of July when he briefed him of his medical trip abroad.
Aregbesola described Oba Sijuade as a person, who during his lifetime, did everything humanly possible to uplift the Yoruba tradition the world over.
He held that it should be on record that during his lifetime, he showcased the Yoruba tradition anywhere he visited across the globe.
In the course of his address, Aregbesola read verbatim the message the Late Ooni sent to him when he was going for medical trip abroad; “I am still not feeling good, so I am travelling abroad for further medical treatment this week.
“I place you and your government in the hand of God and under His continuous guidance.
“This was the last conversation I had with the late monarch, we dearly miss his charisma, demonstration of loyalty and his position as a rallying point for all Yoruba people and a bridge builder across all ethnic groups in Nigeria.
“Indeed, he was a great man and he left an indelible mark on the sand of history, not only in Yorubaland, Nigeria but across the world,” the governor said.
Situation in Ife earlier yesterday
Meanwhile, as earlier announced, first open traditional rites of passage for Ooni Sijuade, was yesterday held in Ile Ife, even as residents stayed in door in compliance with the restriction order.
Head of Oro Cult in the town, Oba Layi Adereti, had on Monday announced that Oro procession will move round the town from 9am to 4pm as part of rites of passage for Ooni Sijuade, calling on residents to stay indoors during the duration of the rites.
His position was however countered by the Lowa of Ife, Oba Joseph Ijaodola, who, on behalf of Royal Traditional Council of Ife, told residents to go about their normal business activities.
Residents of the town stayed indoors as the Oro procession, which started few minutes to 10am moved round the town.
Banks, schools and other public institutions were under lock and key and streets were deserted.
At Ooni’s palace, procession of Oro, which had nine people, comprising mainly members of Isoro Cult left for other parts of the town about 9:45 am.
Just as the the procession was leaving Ile Oodua, trees within the palace premises were being cut as tradition demands before formal announcement of Ooni’s passage.
Newsmen, who had gathered at the entrance of Ooni’s palace were chased away shortly before the Oro procession began.
Meanwhile, invitation letters were yesterday sent out to the public on the demise of the monarch and the interdenominational service for him in Ile-Ife tomorrow .
The letter was jointly signed by Obalufe, Oba Omisakin, the Vice chairman, Ife Traditional Council, the Lowa of Ife, Oba Joseph Ijaodola and Prince Adetokunbo Sijuwade, on behalf of Olubuse Royal family.
The letter reads in part “on behalf of the entire royal house of Olubuse family, we write to formally notify you of the transition to eternal glory of our father, grandfather and great grandfather,His imperial Majesty, Oba Okunade Sijuade, Olubuse 11 CFR.
“Our father until his demise recently was the Ooni of Ife and permanent chairman of Osun state Council of Obas and co chairman Nigeria National Traditional Council.”

Report By,
Gbenga Olarinoye (Osogbo)


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