Aregbesola, Ife Traditional Royal Council announce Ooni Okunade Sijuade’s demise

“Erin wooo, Ekun lo, Ajanaku sun bi oke” meaning the Elephant has gone down, the tiger has left, the giant sleeps like a mountain, with these words, the Osun state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, in a state wide television broadcast, formally announced the demise of the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Okunade Sijuade Olubuse ll to the people of Osun state, the Yoruba nation and Nigerians in general.
The governor had earlier received a delegation of the Ife Royal Traditional Council, led by the Lowa of Ife, Oba Joseph Ijaodola and the Obalufe of Iremo, Oba Solomon Omisakin who came to break the news of the demise of the foremost traditional ruler to the governor at the government house, Osogbo. The delegation which included the first son of the late monarch, Prince Adetokunbo Sijuade and one of his sibblings, Princess Aderounmu Fadeyi made the official announcement to the governor.Official Declaration on Death of Ooni 1
Prince Adetokunbo Sijuwade, has said the remains of the Ooni will be buried on Friday.
The prince said this during a meeting with Governor Rauf Aregbesola at the Government House, Osogbo on Wednesday.
Tokunbo said, “We are here to tell you that Baba (Oba Sijuwade) is gone. His body will arrive tomorrow (Thursday) and will be buried on Friday by 10am.” Thus laying to rest speculations about the demise of the flamboyant monarch since July 28.
Singing dirges, the Obalufe announced that the monarch had “joined his ancestors” as he broke the news.
In an emotional laden voice, Oba Omisakin, said it was sad that the monarch had left the world to be with his forefathers.
Trying to defend the rebuttal of the chiefs since the demise of the monarch on July 28 in a London hospital, Omisakin said there were procedures to be followed in announcing the death of a monarch of the calibre of the departed Ooni.
He said, “Baba has gone to be with his ancestors. We have our ways of saying different things in the palace. For example, you cannot say the oba is drinking water when he is doing that in the actual sense. There is a way to say that.
“If the Oba is sleeping, you cannot say it that way, we also have a way of saying it. We have different ways of saying things.
The Obalufe, Oba Solomon Omisakin, held that the delay in the announcement of Ooni’s death was due to strict adherence to Yoruba tradition of announcing the death of a monarch.
Omisakin stressed that it was imperative for the council to lay to rest the rumours making the rounds on the death of the Ooni, saying the announcement of the monarch’s death was not supposed to be made in the market place or social gatherings.
“On behalf of the entire Sijuade family, the Ife Traditional Council and the entire Ife indigenes, we hereby announce the passing on to glory of His Imperial Majesy, Oba Okunade Sijuade, Olubuse the II.”
He asked for the support and cooperation of the governor and the state government for peace and progress of Ife Kingdom and Yoruba Land in general.
His words: “We, the Ife Traditional Council have come here to brief you, the governor and the government of Osun about the passing-on of our royal majesty, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, the Ooni of Ife.
“The breaking of the news of the demise of the king must follow traditional ways and rites, that is why it is coming at this time.
“The news of the transition to glory of any Yoruba monarch is not a pedestrian news that one can just announce at a market place or a social gathering.
“The announcement of the death of a great man like our royal monarch is a great news that must be announced in a grand style.
“He was a great philanthropist and we will all miss him sorely.”
Oba Ijaodola thanked the governor and the people of the state, adding that they were happy that the Ooni lived a good live and would be missed by virtually all those who came across him while alive.
Aregbesola, who commiserated with the family and chiefs of Ife, said the Ooni did not die but had gone to join his ancestors.
The governor said that death was not the end of human existence according to the Yoruba belief but a transition to another realm.
Aregbesola eulogised the late monarch, saying he was a promoter of peace and that he did well to promote Yoruba culture and tradition.
The governor, who had during the special sitting of the House of Assembly, said that the late monarch sent him a text message before he travelled out, opened up on the content of the text message.
Reading out the message, which he said the Ooni sent to him on Thursday, July 23, the governor said, “Your Excellency, I ‘m still not feeling too good, so, I am travelling abroad for further medical attention this week. I place you and your government under God’s continuous guidance.”
He said Ooni’s death was a great loss to the state and the Yoruba race but stressed that the “Ooni was not dead” because it was a taboo to say the monarch was dead in Yoruba land.
It was gathered that the departed monarch would be buried beside his predecessor, Oba Adesoji Aderemi, in a mausoleum inside the palace.
A reliable palace source disclosed to our correspondents that the tomb had been prepared in readiness for the burial, which would be done in secret.
It was also gathered that some of the family members of the departed monarch had moved to his residence along Ife-Ede road, near the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Some others have moved to various residences of the monarch in Ife town.
An interdenominational service would be held for the monarch on Friday inside the palace.

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