The 16 Ife kingmakers yesterday named Giesi as the only ruling house qualified to present candidate (s) for the vacant Ooni stool.
They said the new Ooni would emerge in the next 40 days.
Addressing reporters at the Ooni’s palace, the Obalufe, Oba Folorunso Omisakin, said the 1980 Ife chieftaincy declaration will be used in selecting the next Ooni.
He said: “We, the kingmakers, hereby unanimously declare, affirm and confirm that the 1980 Ife chieftaincy declaration is the one in existence now and we affirm as follows:
“Section 19 (3) states that it is the turn of the Giesi ruling house to present a candidate/candidates for the vacant stool of the Ooni of Ife. The three other ruling houses- Osinkola, Ogboru and Lafogido- should wait for their turn.
“No ruling house should be restricted to a particular quarters or area of the town because members of the ruling houses live in different parts of the town.
“Finally, we hereby enjoin members of the four ruling houses, residents, religious bodies, men and women to please maintain the peace.
“By doing this, the kingmakers will be able to select the best candidate.”
According to the Obalufe, whoever emerges must be upright, not poor, of good character, enjoy popular support of the kingmakers and must be able to lead the ancient town.
He assured that Ife tradition and custom would be applied.
The Secretary of Ife East Local Government, Tajudeen Lawal, said the provision of the 1980 Ife chieftaincy declaration was clear and straightforward on which house would produce the next Ooni.
He said the local government would write the Giesi ruling house to present candidates to the kingmakers, assuring that the process would be rancour-free because “the government would allow transparency”.
His counterpart from Ife Central, Dr. Taiwo Olaiya, faulted the claim that the1980 declaration had never been used, saying it was used to pick the late Oba Okunade Sijuwade.
He said the 1957 Ife chieftaincy declaration had been cancelled and the 1980 declaration used to pick the new Ooni.
The kingmakers at the briefing include Obajio of Moore Quarters in Ife, Oba Yaya Elugbaju, Obaloran of Ilode Quarters in Ife, Oba Sakariya Olawusi, the Lowa Adimula of Ife, Oba Joseph Ijaodola, the Jaran of Ife, Oba Adekola Adeyeye and Arode of Ife, Oba J.A. Awe.
But the Lafogido ruling house has said it would challenge the kingmakers’ decision in court.
According to the ruling house, Giesi lost its chance to produce the Ooni in 1980 when it conceded to the late Oba Sijuwade, who hailed from Ogboru ruling house.
Consequently, Lafogido argued that Giesi must wait until the rotation comes to it again.
A source said: “Giesi cannot enjoy the chance to produce the Ooni twice. In the principle of rotation, each participant enjoys the opportunity to produce the leader once. Giesi had its chance in 1980. This is Lafogido’s turn.”