There was anxiety in Ile Ife yesterday over the restriction of movements being mooted as part of the rites of passage for the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade.
As part of rites of passage for the monarch, informed palace sources said a particular drum that is only beaten on the night preceding the formal announcement of Ooni’s death, was sighted in the palace court, suggesting that the final rites were nearing completion.
The leader of Oro cult in Ile-Ife, Oba Layi Adereti on Monday said formal declaration of Oba Sijuade’s passage would be done today when Oro rites are expected to take centre stage.
He also added that there would be restriction of movement between 9am and 4pm when Oro procession would move round the town to formally announce Ooni’s passage.
But the Royal Traditional Council of Ile Ife, dismissed the restriction order and appealed to people not to panic, and go about their normal lawful businesses.
Lowa of Ife, Oba Joseph Ijaodola, in a message monitored on an Ile Ife-based radio station, said there will be no restriction of movement in the town, adding also that no procession of Oro would move through the town.
He warned newsmen to disregard further information about Oba Sijuade that does not emanate from the Royal Traditional Council, saying the town will deal with anyone that flout its directive on the matter.
However, despite the appeal, residents were seen buying basic needs in preparation for the restrictions that may last for hours.
At many Automated Teller Machines, ATM, points visited in the town, long queues were seen and in markets across Ile Ife, residents were shopping till very late in the evening.
Also, some residents, especially the non-indigenes, sources said have left for neighboring towns in fear.
Meanwhile, Dean Students’ Affairs of OAU, late yesterday told students of the institution to stay indoors during the duration of the burial rites.
A statement by the Acting Dean, Dr. I. M. Durosinmi , said: “This is to inform the generality of students that there shall be a curfew in Ile-Ife, on Wednesday, 12th of August, 2015 from 9am to 4pm and from 11pm till dawn.
“Students are therefore strongly advised to stay on campus and those off-campus to remain indoors. The Division of the Students’ Affairs counts on the maturity and sense of responsibility of Great Ife students and appeals to all students to comply with the information and continue to keep the peace.”
Meantime, the Ife Traditional Chiefs may today pay another visit to Governor Rauf Aregbesola at his Oke-Fia government house, Osogbo where the demise of Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade may be formally announced.