Ooni: Ife chiefs finally confirm what the world already knows

Ooni of Ife Oba Okunade SijuwadeThe Royal Traditional Council (RTC) of Ife in Osun State has officially confirmed the death of the Ooni of Ife, Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II, after denying that the monarch had passed away.

The Awara of Iwara-Ife, Layi Adereti, made this known in Ife while speaking on the preparation for the burial of the Ooni, who died at Saint Mary Hospital in London on Tuesday, July 28.

He said the official proclamation of the passage of the monarch would be made on Wednesday August 12.

The RTC said the Oro festival was the final rite of passage for the Ooni, declaring that the final pronouncement of the demise of Ooni has been fixed for Wednesday between the hours of 9am and 4pm.

“This is an official statement from the palace of Awara of Iwara-Ife who is the head of Oro deity that on Wednesday 12th August 2015, there would be official proclamation of the demise of Ooni of Ife,” he said.

“The proclamation will be made public during the Oro festival, being the final rites on the demise of Ooni of Ife.

“The residents of the ancient town are therefore urged to keep away from the streets between the hours of 9am and 4pm during which the Oro deity will be out.

“With the announcement, people are advised to stay in-doors for the period when the Oro will be out.”

Adereti, who is also the head of Oro Cult in Ile-Ife, noted that residents of the ancient town whether male or female would remain indoors during the Oro rites.

According to him, immediately after the Oro rites and the proclamation, subsequent rites would follow. He appealed to all residents of Ife to heed the restriction orders from the palace.

He added that though only females were normally barred when Oro festival is being carried out, but this time around, it would have no respect for gender.

Weeks of weak denial of the Ooni’s passing is finally over.

There was confusion shortly after the death was initially reported when Lowa of Ife, Oba Joseph Ijaodola, announced that the monarch was hale and hearty.

His words: “I hereby dispel the rumour that our baba, the Olubuse is dead. As I speak with you, the chiefs have not heard anything like that. This is not the first time such rumour will be carried about our father.

“They did it in 1982, also in 2004 and now, these people are coming up with another rumour. Oba Sijuwade remains in sound state of health.”