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Rites of passage preceding Ooni’s burial in progress

ooni• Chiefs may announce demise Wednesday
• Olugbo decries controversy over passage

The rites of passage that should precede public pronouncement of the demise and burial of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, may have reached final stage as the Isoros, a powerful deity in Ife kingdom was said to have procured necessary materials for the burial as tradition demands.

Meanwhile, Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom in Ilaje Local Government of Ondo State, Oba Fredrick Obateru Akinruntan, has decried the controversy surrounding the passing on of the Ooni of Ife, saying it has denied the highly referred monarch the expected sympathy that ordinarily should accompany the transition of such a leader.

The Guardian leant yesterday that whenever a reigning monarch in Ife ‘’changes position’’ or ‘’enters the roof’’, it is mandatory in line with tradition and norms that the family of the monarch must provide ‘’Ikaro’’ (items that would be used for burial rites.)

Sources close to the palace hinted that fund for procurement of the Ikaro had been made available to the Isoros to facilitate the rites.

All indigenous deities in Ile-Ife, it was learnt, have to submit local materials to the palace as burial rites to enhance smooth transition
for the late monarch.

‘’I can tell you authoritatively that the family of Oba Sijuwade have provided fund to meet this demand to the Isoros. It is after the Isoros have resolved and been settled with materials they would use that the Emeses would inspect the materials, then members of the Isoro deity can, in turn, settle down for the rites,” a source said.

Sources confirmed the arrival of the body of the monarch in the country early last week but disputed the claim that it had been brought to the palace. ‘’If it is true that the body has been brought to the palace, movement of people would have been restricted, the gates leading to the palace too would have been shut and you too wouldn’t have had opportunity to enter here’’

It was gathered that Oba Okunade’s body is being kept at a secretive place jointly by the traditional chiefs and members of the royal family. The body may arrive the palace tomorrow Night, while the traditional chiefs may announce the demise of the monarch on Wednesday.

The palace was deserted yesterday, save for the security men, palace guards on duty and the traditional chiefs who came for meeting and consultation.
Normal commercial activities were also observed by Ife residents, but a few traders opened for business yesterday, being a Sunday.

Almost two weeks after the news was broken through the Internet that the highly flamboyant monarch had joined his ancestors in far away United Kingdom‎ (UK), the traditional council of the ancient Ife town had insisted that the monarch was still very much alive, hale and hearty.

But, reacting to what has become a conflict between tradition and modernity, Oba Akinruntan said nobody could be blamed for the situation, but asked for the management of the issue by the whole Yoruba race, the tradition of which is at stake.

Olugbo, who spoke after his investiture as the Life Patron of the Correspondents Chapel of the Oyo State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), said: “Although nobody has the right to announce the demise of any monarch except the traditional chiefs in the palace, the media on the other‎ hand cannot be blamed for doing their job. As things are now, ‎the Yoruba should manage the situation in such a way that the tradition will be respected and not thrown over board in the name of modernity through the internet”.

He maintained that both tradition and modernity must co-habit without one hindering the other as in the current case, stressing that regardless of whatever situation, the tradition must be respected.



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