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‘Fears, anxiety about Ooni still pervades Ile-Ife’

ooniRESIDENTS of Ile-Ife, the ancient city and cradle of the Yoruba civilisation yesterday said despite assurances by the town’s traditional council and messages by town criers, they were now prepared for the worst pertaining to its King, (Ooni), Oba Okunade Sijuwade.

Some of the residents who spoke to The Guardian about the messages asking them to be calm and go about their normal businesses said nothing concrete has happened to remove their fears and worry concerning the monarch

They said Oba Sijuwade remains a loving monarch and father in their hearts, stressing that the chiefs should go further to provide more concrete evidence to support their denial that the monarch had passed on.

On Monday speculation was rife that he had joined his ancestors in a London hospital but the chiefs had maintained a contrary position, insisting that His Imperial Majesty was not only alive but “hale and hearty.’’

Some of the residents said their anxiety increased when he was conspicuously absent from the traditional wedding of his son, Adegbite in Lagos on Sunday during which no mention was made of the monarch throughout the event.

The people said reason for the on-going Oro festival declared by traditionalists in the town was not satisfactorily explained and the messages from town criers are not convincing enough to remove their anxiety in respect of the monarch.

‘‘We are still waiting for the chiefs to come clear on the issue. If truly, nothing serious has happened to the monarch, then the chiefs owe residents and the world at large a duty to let us see concrete proof that our royal father is alive as they claimed and will soon return to the country,’’ a resident said.

Meanwhile, situation in the outer courtyard remained calm yesterday. Security situation in and around the palace had also been relaxed.

Traders went about their normal businesses except for the interruption caused by the Oro festival which compels many especially female traders to return to their homes before 7.00 p.m. when the festival would begin.

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