Ooni: Rites Of Passage Continue, As Aregbesola Breaks Silence

ooni• Race For New Monarch Heats Up 

SINCE the remains of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, arrived the palace, last Sunday, various rites of passage and rituals have been performed as part of the complex traditional processes a deity of Ooni’s standing must pass through, sources close to the palace said yesterday.

The Guardian learnt that the monarch is one of 201 deities in Ife kingdom, and “since deities don’t die,” the Ooni, in the worldview of traditionalists, is alive until all rites and rituals pertaining to his transition are completed.

Sources said the rites of passage have reached advanced stage, while various traditional chiefs and priests are still busy with activities to enhance his seamless transition.

They noted that the rites of passage for the Ooni are not for public consumption, save initiates and members of various deities. “If an ordinary person tells you that he knows what is going on in respect of the Ooni, who is a deity, tell that person he is a liar.

By tradition, you are not expected to know because you are an “ogberi’’ (uninitiated) and because of the medium you work for, don’t join others in feeding the public what you don’t know and what is untrue,” a source close to the palace told the reporter.

On when the rites would end, he said: “I also need to inform you that there are different stages and processes in respect of rites and rituals to be performed concerning his transition.

You people must wait until words of wisdom come from the palace on the status of the Ooni. We are the custodian of culture and tradition. If we are not in a hurry over what should be done, why must you be in a hurry about an event you know little or nothing about?” Another source said Ooni’s body has been taken to Ile Ase (chamber of authority) where it is believed a transited Ooni received all the spiritual powers he used in asserting authority during his lifetime.

The house is said to be unique in the sense that all authorities acquired from gods and godesses must be re-claimed from the ‘living’ monarch before he is laid to rest. A public pronouncement on the monarch might be made on or before Wednesday.

Yesterday, it was learnt some interested parties were already warming up as contenders to succeed the monarch. The four ruling houses in Ile-Ife are Lafogido, Giesi, Ogboru and Osinkola.

Oba Sijuwade, who hails from the Ogboru ruling house, succeeded his predecessor, the late Ooni of Ife, Sir Adesoji Aderemi, who came from the Osinkola ruling house.

Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola, meanwhile, has for the first time spoken publicly on the death of the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, since the monarch died in a London hospital on July 27.

The governor disclosed that the last SMS he received from Oba Sijuwade was touching and promised to share its content with people of the state at a future date.

Speaking at a special sitting at the Osun State House of Assembly to mark the 50th birthday of the Speaker of Osun Assembly, Hon. Najeem Salaam, the governor disclosed that he discussed the content of the message with the Ife Royal Traditional Council when he held a meeting with the chiefs, recently, in Osogbo over Ooni’s issue.

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