NAN – Adetokunbo Sijuwade, eldest son of the late Ooni of Ife, Okunade Sijuwade, on Wednesday officially announced the death of the monarch, saying he would be buried on Friday.
Addressing reporters at the government office in Osogbo, capital of Osun state, the younger Sijuwade said the body of the late monarch would be flown in from London on Thursday and buried on Friday at 10am.
Solomon Omisakin, Obalufe of Iromo and vice-chairman of the Ife traditional council as well as Joseph Ijaodola, Lowa of Ile-Ife, both corroborated what Sijuwade said.
They expressed gratitude to the people of Osun and prayed that God would provide another king who would excel as the late Ooni did.
Aderounmu Fadeyi, one of the daughters of the late king, also attended the briefing.
Rauf Aregbesola, governor of the state, said the late Ooni represented the Yoruba nation and has done a lot in uplifting the traditional institution in the state.
He said the reign of the king brought prosperity to the kingdom, assuring the family that the government would stand with them in their mourning period.
“The Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, joins other sons daughters of Osun to celebrate the translation of this highly reverred monarch whose era brought prestige, honour and dignity to traditional institution in our clime, his reign brought tremendous development and increased global attention to his domain,” read a statement issued on Aregbesola’s behalf by Semiu Okanlawon, his spokesman.
“Ooni Sijuade was a study and model in royalty. He embodied the best in traditional pomp and pageantry. He exalted the place of the royalty among our people. His contributions towards maintaining a place of pride for the Yoruba race on the world is huge.
“A loss though, we are, as a people, consoled by the fact that our imperial majesty lived a fulfilled life; one happily hallmarked by the great impact on his subjects, the entire state, region and nation.”
Aregbesola, who read the last text message he received from the monarch at the briefing, said the deceased informed him of his frail health, saying he was travelling to London for treatment.
Ooni died in a London hospital on July 28 but the palace debunked media reports on the development, saying the enemies of the kingdom were behind the news.
But on Monday, Layi Adereti, the Awara of Iwara-Ife, confirmed Ooni’s death, saying preparation for the burial was in progress and that official proclamation of the passage would be made on Wednesday. He warned residents to stay indoors during the period when the traditional rites for the king would be observed.