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Anxiety as new Ooni of Ife emerges today


Late Ooni

Late Ooni

THERE were indications yesterday that a new Ooni of Ife may emerge today following the conclusion of the selection process by the kingmakers.

The emergence of the Ooni is coming almost three months after the demise of the immediate past Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade who spent 35 years on the throne.

Contest for the Ooni stool had been very fierce in the last one month when some stakeholders threatened to take the kingmakers to court, faulting the exclusion of some ruling houses from the selection process.

The state government had claimed that in line with Ooni Chieftaincy declaration, it was the turn of the Giesi Ruling House to produce the next Ooni.

This decision did not go down with other ruling houses, Lafogido and Lami, which claimed that the 1980 Ooni Chieftaincy Declaration, on which the government based its decision, was not sacrosanct.

However, within the Giesi Ruling House, which will produce the new Ooni, it was gathered that over 21 princes contested, from which the new ruler will eventually emerge

It was gathered yesterday that the kingmakers who have concluded the selection process have communicated to the authorities of Ife Central Local Government their choice of the new Ooni of Ife.
Efforts made yesterday night to get the state government to speak on the emergence of the new Ooni failed.

However, sources close to the kingmakers said the new Ooni might be announced in the early hours of today.
The source was silent on who the choice was , but instead, urged patience while awaiting the state government’s announcement
The source said the announcement was being delayed to forestall any protest that could lead to a breakdown of law and order by supporters of those who may lose out in the contest.

The selection process to fill the vacant stool of the Ooni started shortly after the conclusion of the traditional burial rites of the late Ooni Oba Okunade Sijewade,Olubuse 11 who allegedly joined his ancestors in July in a London Hospital after a brief illness.
The Giesi Ruling House acting on the 1980 Ife Chieftaincy Declaration said it was it’s turn to present candidates to the Ife Kingmakers out of which they would pick the most qualified prince to occupy the stool after the Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola must have given his approval.

The demise of Oba Sijuwade however raised serious controversies among the four ruling houses in Ile-Ife.The ruling houses included, the Osinkola, the Ogboru and the Lafogido .
Following the controversy, the Ife Traditional Council and the Osun state government intervened and declared that it was the turn of the Giesi Ruling House to fill the vacant stool based on the 1980 Declaration which was used to instal the late Oba Sijiwade.

Dissatisfied with the position of the kingmakers and the Osun state government, the Lafogido and the Osinkola instituted litigations challenging the authority of the kingmakers and the state government to declare that only the Giesi Ruling House has the sole right to present candidates to fill the vacant stool of Oooni.
An Osogbo High court, presided over by the Osun state Chief judge,Justice Adepele Ojo on Friday ruled that the 1980 Ife
Chieftaincy Declaration is sacrosanct in the selection of a new monarch to  occupy the Ooni stool.
The decision by the court upheld the 1980 Declaration and placed the Giesi Ruling House in comfortable position to fill the vacant stool.

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