BY GBENGA OLARINOYE,
OSOGBO – There were strong indications yesterday that Osun State government may this week announced the new Ooni of Ife amidst heavy presence of security operatives around the ancient town.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that as early as 8 am yesterday, news had gone round the town that new Ooni may be announced, throwing the town into expectant mood and frenzy.
Though late Obalufe, Chief Solomon Omisakin, while addressing the media on the decision of the kingmakers to stick to the 1980 Ife Chieftaincy Declaration and narrow search for new monarch to only the Giesi Ruling House, inside Ooni’ s palace a little over one month ago, said new monarch would emerge 40 days from then.
But the death of Obalufe, who was the most senior kingmaker and many court cases instituted by the aggrieved parties in the matter had made the projection very unlikely.
However, the insinuation that a new Ooni had been chosen by the kingmakers, only for the state governor to approve yesterday, sparked tension in the town.
Lending credence to the insinuations was the increased presence of security operatives in strategic places across the town.
At areas like, Moore, Enuwa, Mayfair and Agbedegbede, heavy police presence was noticed while fully armed men of Department of State Security were also seen on streets across Ile Ife.
The Prof. Adekanye Aderibigbe-led screening panel set up by the Giesi Ruling House, it was learnt had summited four names to the kingmakers as candidates to fill Ooni stool.
While details of the four candidates had been kept from the press, a very reliable source from Giesi ruling house, said the ruling house was not unaware of how “the immediate past Ooni, Oba Okunade Sijuade, elevated the status of the stool with his enormous influence and wealth beyond Africa, so Ooni in that moul