There was another twist into the death of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II yesterday as the Royal Traditional Council of Ife denied his death, saying that the traditional ruler is alive and in good health.
The council which comprises of all traditional chiefs and title holders in Ile-Ife stressed that the news of the death of the monarch was still a mere rumour, adding that the first class traditional ruler is still hale and hearty.
They disclosed that the royal father is preparing for son’s wedding slated for next week Sunday. Briefing newsmen in House of Chiefs located within the premises of Ile-Oodua palace of Ooni, the Lowa of Ife, Oba Joseph Ijaodola, insisted that the report in the media that the monarch died in a London Hospital of an undisclosed ailment was untrue.
Corroborating him, the Secretary, Royal Traditional Council of Ife, the Ladin of Ife, High Chief Adetoye Odewole, said Ooni is hale and hearty, saying that he spoke with the chiefs on phone few hours earlier.
His words: “ Those behind the death story are enemies of Ife. As I speak with you, 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 1984, also in 2004 and now, these people are coming up with another rumour. Oba Sijuwade remains in sound state of health.” Similarly, the chairman, Ife Development Board, Prof. Muib Opeloye, said Ife as a town rich in tradition has its way of managing its affairs, urging the people not to panic.
The entrance of Ooni’s palace was yesterday shut to visitors, as only journalists, chiefs and relations of Oba Sijuwade were allowed into the premises. Many indigenes and residents of Ife who converged at the entrance of the palace were prevented from entering by the guards.
Following media reports of the passing on of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, sympathisers yesterday morning trooped to his palace to confirm the development. The sympathisers began arriving at the palace as early as 6.3a.m. to ascertain the veracity of the report from palace chiefs, who declined to speak.
They were, however, turned back at the entrance of the palace by palace guards, while the gate was shut. Many sympathisers, however, gathered in groups a few metres from the palace gate discussing the development in low tones. When the Private Secretary to the Ooni, Mr Saka Awojoodu, was approached by journalists to react to the development, he simply said: “I have nothing to disclose.’’ Mr Bisi Oduyemi, one of those who was at the palace, said he came to find out whether the news of the monarch’s passing on was true.
-Yetunde Oladejo, Osogbo