The Ife Traditional Council has confirmed the death of Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, about two weeks after denying that the monarch had passed on, but said that the official proclamation was still reserved till Wednesday.
The Obawara of Iwara-Ife, Oba Layi Adereti, who made the disclosure in Ile-Ife on Monday while speaking with journalists on the preparations for the late Ooni’s final burial, said the official proclamation would be done between 9 a.m. and 4p.m.
Adereti, who is also the head of Ife Oro cult, also disclosed that the ongoing Oro festival was the final rite of passage for the Ooni, and advised all residents of the ancient town, irrespective of gender, to remain indoors during the rites.
Adereti said: “The proclamation of the demise of Ooni will be made public during the Oro festival, being the final rites on the demise of Ooni of Ife.
“The residents of the ancient town are therefore urged to keep away from the streets between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4p.m. during which the Oro deity will be out. With the announcement, people are advised to stay indoors for the period when the Oro will be out.”
The traditional ruler added that other subsequent rites would follow the Oro rites and proclamation, and appealed to residents to strictly heed the traditional council’s restriction order.
The revered traditional ruler was reported to have died at 85 at St Mary’s Hospital, London a fortnight ago, but the denial of his demise by the Ife traditional council could not stop the rumour mill of Ooni’s death running since then.