The official public announcement of the death of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, would be made on Wednesday, a confirmation of earlier reports that the great monarch had actually departed.
The Ooni passed away at Saint Mary Hospital in London about two weeks ago.
Speaking on the monarch’s burial preparations, the Awara of Iwara-Ife, Oba Layi Adereti, said that Oro festival is the final rite of passage for the Ooni.
He added that the hours of 9am to 4pm on Wednesday had already been fixed for the final pronouncement of the demise of the traditional ruler.
Oba Adereti, who is also the head of Oro cult in the entire Ile-Ife, said all residents of the ancient town, whether male or female, would remain indoors during the Oro rites.
Oba Adereti noted that after the Oro rites and official proclamation of Ooni’s death, other necessary rites would be performed, just as he urged all residents to heed the restriction order from the palace.
According to him: “Though only females are normally barred when Oro festival is being carried out, this time around, it has no respect for any gender.
“This is an official statement from the palace of Awara of Iwara-Ife, who is the head of Oro diety, that on Wednesday, there would be official proclamation of the demise of Ooni of Ife. The proclamation will be made public during the Oro festival, being the final rites on the demise of the Ooni of Ife.
“The residents of the ancient town are, therefore, urged to keep away from the streets between the hours of 9.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m., during which the Oro deity will be out. With the announcement, people are advised to stay in-door for the period the Oro will be out.”
Since July 28, 2015 when the news of the demise of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Sijuwade, was reported in the media, there had been raging controversy as traditional chiefs in Ile-Ife insisted that the monarch was still alive.
The Ife Royal Traditional Council (RTC), at a recent closed-door meeting with Governor Rauf Aregbesola, at Oke-Fia Government House in Osogbo, debunked the story, contending that the monarch was hale and hearty.