‘Ooni of Ife’s last wish’
OBA Okunade Sijuwade, the Ooni of Ife, whose reported demise has been trailed by controversies even by tradition, the ancient town’s traditional council still believes he is still alive until they give contrary news, is allegedly reluctant to return home from England to the throne of his forebears.
Sources close to the palace disclosed yesterday that Oba Sijuwade first turned down the offer when the lot fell on him from Ogboru ruling House in 1980 to mount the exalted stool of the ancient town which is regarded as the source of creation and cradle of the Yoruba ethnic nationality but was persuaded by the late sage and Odole of Ife, Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo, to accept the responsibility.
The Guardian also gathered yesterday that before the monarch joined his ancestors, he had given words that his only personal clothes, staff of office and horsetails used on the throne are those things people should take away from the palace.
By implication, the monarch might have had it in his mind to donate all his other personal property to the palace.
The sources said that the decision was part of the love the Ooni had for the people of Ife and his remarkable generosity to all who came in contact with him.
He said that evacuation of other personal property of the monarch was against his wish and he was allegedly influenced by some unnamed personal staff to satisfy their greed.
Sources also informed that contrary to the media reports, the body of the monarch is not being kept in ‘Ile ’gbo but confirmed that the body was already in the country.
He said that Ile ’gbo was a place within the palace where the Emeses used to stay adding that the location was too visible and open to the public glare for the body to be kept there.
“I will not disclose the place where the body is kept, I mention it in order to correct so many untrue things and wrong impression being made by the media. Some of them have been writing incredible things concerning our respected and revered monarch and the sacred institution he represents,” the source said.
The Guardian also learnt that traditional chiefs continued their marathon meetings on the ‘living monarch’ yesterday while public announcement on his true status might be made on or before Wednesday next week.
He also dispelled the rumour that shedding of human blood is part of rites of passage and rituals carried out whenever a reigning Ooni passes on adding that the impression had sent wrong signal about the ancient town to the world.
“Ife people are not murderers, I belief the wrong impression emanates from the rich and complex tradition and customs for which the source is known worldwide.”
Meanwhile the rites of passage and rituals by various traditional groups and fraternities are said to have begun in earnest immediately the body of the Ooni arrived early this week. Part of locations such rites and rituals are taking place included the Oduduwa Shrine and other sacred shrines and forests.
The Guardian learnt that all heads of fraternities in the land, which the monarch belonged to, had been communicated to play their part on the rites of passage of the monarch.
Sources close to the palace listed some of the deity headships that have role to play including Osogun, Obalara and Lana, Emese, etc. All of them were said to operate under Isoro deity, which is the father of all deities in the land.
Isoro deity headship is said to be Obadio who is believed to be in charge of dialects and languages of gods and goddeses of the land.
“Isoro is the custodian of all other deities and Obalara is in charge of Obalufon shrine, while the Emeses, who is supposed to spread the news of happenings had been reportedly told to be on alert to carry out its own duty in traditional way.