Ile-Ife—Despite the widespread report, the Royal Traditional Council, RTC, of Ife has refuted the news making the rounds that Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Ooni of Ife, was dead.
Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade
Joseph Ijaodola, an Oba and the Lowa of Ife, who briefed newsmen at the Ooni palace at Enuwa, in Ile-Ife early yesterday, said the monarch was hale and hearty.
RTC, which is a combination of traditional chiefs and title holders’ said the report that the monarch died in a hospital in the United Kingdom was untrue.
Ijaodola said: “I hereby dispel the rumour that our Baba, the Olubuse is dead. As I speak with you, the chiefs have not heard anything like that. This is not the first time such rumour will be carried about our father.
‘’ They did it in 1982, also in 2004 and now, these people are coming up with another rumour. Ooni remains in sound state of health.”
Vanguard saw residents of the ancient town trooping to the palace yesterday to ascertain if the news about the death of the monarch was true.
The media had reported that Sijuwade died in a hospital in London, Britain, and the news of his death was confirmed by various sources close to the palace but the denial of the news came as a surprise to many.
Also speaking, secretary Royal Traditional Council of Ife, the Ladin of Ife, High Chief Adetoye Odewole, said Ooni is hale and hearty and even spoke to the chiefs on phone few hours earlier.
He added that “Those behind the death story are enemies of Ife and as I speak with you, chiefs have not heard anything like that. This is not the first time such rumour will be carried about our father.
“They did it in 1984, also in 2004 and now, these people are coming up with another rumour. Oba Sijuade remains in sound state of health”.
Also commenting, chairman, Ife Development Board, Prof. Muib Opeloye, said Ife as a town with rich tradition has its way of managing its affairs.
Opeloye maintained the monarch was preparing for his son’s wedding, urging people not to panic and go about their normal daily activities.
Meantime, the entrance of Ooni palace was shut to visitors, as only newsmen, chiefs and relations of Oba Sijuade were allowed into the premises.
Many indigenes and residents of Ife had converged at entrance of the palace but were prevented from going inside by guards.
Osun State government is yet to make official statement concerning the demise of the monarch.