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Burial Set For Friday, Ooni’s Body Arrives Thursday

Two weeks after his demise, the eldest son of the late Ooni of Ife, Prince Adetokunbo Sijuwade and the Osun State Government, in keeping with tradition, wednesday finally confirmed the obvious when they formally announced the passing of Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II.

Addressing journalists at the Government House in Osogbo the state capital, the younger Sijuwade said the body of the late monarch would be flown in from London today and buried tomorrow at 10 am.

Also, the state governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, made the announcement shortly after he was briefed by the high chiefs of Ile-Ife, led by the Obalufe of Iremo, High Chief Folorunso Omisakin, who was next in command to the late Ooni.
Aregbesola, who read the last text message sent to him by the late monarch, described his death as unfortunate and a loss to the whole country coming at a time Nigeria needed him most.

He said it would be difficult to fill the vacuum left behind by the late Ooni considering his position among traditional rulers in the country.
While commiserating with the wives, children, family members and chiefs of the town on the Ooni’s death, the governor enjoined indigenes of the ancient town and Yoruba sons and daughter across the world to take solace in the fact that he lived a purposeful live during his reign.

Earlier, Omisakin, who started with a song, explained that the delay in the formal announcement of the monarch’s passage was done in compliance with tradition and also necessary for the performance of necessary rites expected of them.

He described Oba Sijuwade as a lover of all and urged the state government to keep supporting the ancient town.
Following the confirmation of the demise of the Ooni, President Muhammadu Buhari condoled with the family, friends, subjects, government and people of Osun State on the death of the traditional ruler.
In a statement by his media aide Femi Adesina, Buhari said he received with sadness the news of the transition of one of “Nigeria’s foremost traditional rulers, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II”.

According to the statement, the president joined them in mourning the revered traditional ruler whom he said would be long remembered and celebrated for his worthy service of more than three decades, as the chief custodian of the traditions of the Yoruba and “his invaluable contributions to the sustenance of the cultural heritage of his people within and outside Nigeria”.

The statement read: “Buhari believes that Sijuwade’s place in posterity has already been assured by his long and worthy service to his people and country as well as his notable contributions to the development of his community, state and country as a leading businessman, administrator and inspirational traditional ruler.”
As they mourn his passing, Buhari urged the Ooni’s family, friends, associates and subjects to be consoled by the knowledge that he lived a very fulfilled life, and had left worthy legacies for his successors to build upon.
The president prayed that God almighty would comfort all who mourn Sijuwade and bring forth a worthy successor to take his place on the ancient throne of Ile-Ife.
In his reaction, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, described the demise of the Ooni as a monumental loss to the country.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan, the speaker said he joined other Nigerians to mourn the monarch, whom he described as a father to all.

“Nigeria has lost one of its most respected and revered traditional rulers. The late monarch has lived a fulfilled life worthy of emulation. I pray God to give his family and the Ife Kingdom, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,” Dogara said.
He also commiserated with the government and people of Osun State over the death of the traditional ruler.

Also, Senator Felix Ogunwale said the demise of Oba Sijuwade had created a vacuum in Yorubaland.
Describing the monarch as the symbol of Yoruba culture, Ogunwale said the Ooni was known all over the world as a loving and straightforward personality who used his throne to promote the Yoruba culture.
The late Ooni’s repertoire of knowledge, Ogunwale said, would be greatly missed by all and sundry in Nigeria and even abroad.
Also, the Speaker of the Osun House of Assembly, Hon. Najeem Salaam, commiserated with Buhari, Aregbesola and the Yoruba nation over the death of the Ooni

In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Goke Butikakuro, the speaker conveyed the condolences of the Osun parliament on the departure of the “great king”, saying his absence at this “critical phase of national life would be deeply felt”.
He said: “Ooni Sijuwade was a repository of Yoruba tradition and history; he deployed his wisdom and royalty for the interest of the Yoruba race.”

The speaker attested that Oba Sijuwade was a great traditional ruler whose imperial royalty was not in contest, saying it is on record that the late monarch exuded the unique heritage of his Yoruba ancestors.
He prayed that Olodumare (God) would grant the late Oba’s family the fortitude to bear the loss of his passage.
In line with tradition, various rites to announce the Ooni’s passing were held in Ile-Ife yesterday, including the cutting of trees in the palace and the Isoro procession comprising people in white garments who conveyed a local pot from the palace gate to Enuwa square, among other important places in the town.

This was followed by the visit of the high chiefs to Aregbesola to break the news to him.
Born into the Ogboru ruling house on January 1 1930, the late Ooni became the 50th ruler of the ancient kingdom Ile-Ife on December 6, 1980.

Until his death, he was the co-chairman of Nigeria Traditional Council.
Oba Sijuwade passed away on Tuesday, July 28 at a private hospital in London after a brief illness at the age of 85.
An immensely wealthy man, he left behind wives and several children.
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