By Gbenga Olarinoye, Osogbo
Controversy has trailed the death of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, Olubuse II as the Royal Traditional Council,RTC, of the town, Wednesday, said the paramount ruler is alive and in good state of health.
The RTC, which comprises of all traditional chiefs and title holders in Ile-Ife, said Oba Sijuade is not only in a good state of health but added that the royal father was preparing for his son’s wedding holding Sunday, next week, in Lagos.
Sources close to the foremost traditioner ruler told Vanguard at the palace that the traditional wedding of the new couple took place last weekend in London.
Addressing newsmen in the House of Chiefs located within the premises of Ile-Oodua palace of the Ooni, Lowa of Ife, Oba Joseph Ijaodola who spoke in Yoruba, said the report in the media that the monarch died in a London Hospital of an undisclosed ailment,was untrue.
Also speaking, the secretary Royal Traditional Council of Ife, who is also the Ladin of Ife, High Chief Adetoye Odewole, said the Ooni is hale and hearty and he even spoke to the chiefs on the phone few hours earlier.
He added “those behind the death story are enemies of Ife and 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 1984, also in 2004 and now, these people are coming up with another rumour. Oba Sijuade remains in sound state of health”.
Chairman, Ife Development Board, Prof. Muib Opeloye, said Ife as a town with a rich tradition has its way of managing its affairs.
Opeloye maintained that the royal father was preparing for his son’s wedding, urging people not to panic and go about their normal daily activities.
Meanwhile, the entrance of the Ooni’s palace was shut to visitors, as only newsmen, chiefs and relations of Oba Sijuade were allowed into the premises.
Many indigenes and residents of Ife had converged on the palace but were prevented from going in by the guards.
Meanwhile, the Osun state government is yet to make official statement concerning the demise of the monarch.
But the Osun State House of Assembly has expressed its sympathy to Governor Rauf Aregbesola, state council of Traditional rulers and chiefs, the good people of ancient city of Ile Ife and the immediate and extended families of the late Oba Okunade Sijwade Olubuse, the Ooni of Ife as the great King joined his ancestors.
In a statement issued by the Speaker’s spokesman, Mr. Goke Butika, the parliament “in a condolence message by the Speaker, Mr Najeem Salaam “expressed his regret and shock over the transition of the natural ruler to the silent land of his forebear, saying the engine room of royalty and the custody of Yoruba cosmology has just been temporarily grounded by the clog of death”.
“We celebrate the life and time of the great king, Oba Sijuwade, attesting that the monarch exuded unique royalty almost equivalent of imperial culture that could not be rivaled while he called the shot on the revered stool of his fathers”.
“The parliament then sent its condolence to the governor over the loss of the monarch and prayed that the Supreme Eludumare, the Cherisher of Aiye would rest the late natural father”,the statement added.