Drama at Ooni’s palace: Wives, children barred from Ooni’s burial

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Drama at Ooni’s palace: Wives, children barred from Ooni’s burial

Post by Admin on Sat Aug 15, 2015 6:29 am

The final burial
rites of the
late Ooni of Ife,
Oba Okunade
Olubuse II,
was performed
on Friday, but
his wives,
children and family members were unable to pay their last respects as they
were barred from the programme.
Some other people who had expected to see the body of the monarch lie in
state were also disappointed as his remains were neither brought out for
people to see nor was any casket displayed during the burial service.
The event was attended by the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Rear
Admiral Akin Aduwo (retd.), Gen. Alani Akinriande (retd.), Senator Babajide
Omoworare, Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko and many other dignitaries
and government representatives.
Traditional prayers were offered for the late monarch by Tadimole Awo Ilare,
Chief Faloba. The event was conducted in less than three hours.
A source at the palace told one of our correspondents that no member of the
royal family was allowed to see the remains of the monarch since he was
brought back to the palace.
He said, “As we are holding this interdenominational service here, those
concerned are performing their own rites inside the palace where the body is
“You can see that the gates of the palace are locked and nobody is allowed to
go inside. Nobody can see him again except those who will bury him.
“The wives and children were not even supposed to see his corpse at all but
tradition was broken this time around because he (Sijuwade) died in London.
But no family member can see him again. Those performing the rites are there
now and they will complete it today (Friday). He will be buried in the middle of
the night, but nobody will be there apart from those who will lower him into the
The source said those who saw the bodies of the previous Oonis were attacked
by smallpox and did not survive the ailment.
A monarch in Osun State, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, disclosed
to one of our correspondents that traditional rulers of the town went to various
shrines, including the Obalufon shrine in Ife to perform some rites for Sijuwade
on Friday.
He said the traditional rulers later went into Ooni’s palace shortly before an
interdenominational burial service for the king commenced on the palace
The monarch said, “Nobody can see the Ooni, not even the US President,
Barrack Obama. We are with him. It’s only the initiates who can see him. His
wives and children cannot see him.”
During the service, the Preacher, Bishop of Ife Diocese of Anglican Communion,
Rt. Rev. Oluranti Odubogun, said despite his riches, Oba Sijuwade died when it
was God’s time to take him away.
The bishop, who was represented by the Very Rev. Olusola Akanbi, said the
Ooni brought fame and popularity to his domain.
His said the monarch’s demise demonstrated that every mortal man would die
no matter their status.
He said, “Baba has gone. He will stand before the King of Kings who will judge
what he did while here on earth.
“Some persons have started jostling to succeed him now but we must all
remember the judgement day when we will give account of all that we did on
“I urge you to make today a memorable one and give your life to Christ. Jesus
is the only way, accept him today.”
But as the interdenominational service was about to take off, there was a mild
drama as worshippers of Oro cult in Ife, also called Isoro, stormed the venue
and attempted to stop the service. The worshippers claimed that it was a
sacrilege to hold an interdenominational service for the departed king. And as
the service went on outside the palace, the traditional worshippers sang and
danced inside the palace.
Women barred
Also, our correspondents learnt that as part of the palace tradition and custom,
women are forbidden from entering the palace while traditional rites are being
performed for a passing monarch.
As the interdenominational service was going on, sounds of gunshots suddenly
rent the air, making some of those present at the service to scamper for safety.
A reliable source told Saturday PUNCH that more gunshots would be fired later
in the day, as from 5.00 pm, adding that curfew to last for seven days would
start by 4.00 pm on Friday.
One of the palace chiefs, Sooko Adelugba, told one of our correspondents that
many parts of the town had already been deserted by residents who were eager
to comply with the curfew as announced by the palace.
One of the initiates told one of our correspondents who had tried to interview
him that it was an abomination to speak publicly of traditional rites offered for
a departed Ooni.
His final resting place
Meanwhile, fresh facts have emerged as to why the monarch would be buried
beside the immediate past Ooni, Oba Adesoji Aderemi.
It was gathered that the cemetery inside the palace, where other Oonis were
buried, was full, which informed the decision to build a mausoleum inside the
palace for Oba Aderemi.
The mausoleum is said to be located at the rear end of the palace.
A palace source said the final resting place of Sijuwade had been constructed in
the mausoleum, adding that the cemetery inside the palace is called Ile Nla
(mighty house).
Traditionalists clash with residents
The worshippers of Oro cult in Ife, also called ‘Isoro’, clashed with residents
who were erecting tents for the interdenominational burial service at the
frontage of Enuwa Palace.
A prominent chief in Ife, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the
‘Isoro’ descended on the people who erected the tents because they (initiates)
wanted to observe a seven-day burial rites for the departed king.
The chief said, “The ‘Isoro’ saw the erection of tents for an interdenominational
burial service as a sacrilege against custom and tradition.
“They descended on the people erecting the tents and flogged them heavily.
They destroyed the tents and swore never to allow anybody do any
interdenominational service at the palace.”
The chief revealed that the state government had to wade into the crisis before
the service was allowed.
He said, “It took the intervention of officials of the state government, who
appealed to the ‘Isoro’ to allow the people to hold the interdenominational
service before the issue was resolved. If not for the intervention of the state
government, the interdenominational service would not have been allowed.”
Meanwhile, Saturday PUNCH learnt that Sijuwade’s family members flew to see
his body immediately after he transited in a highbrow hospital in England.
Investigation by Saturday PUNCH revealed that Sijuwade’s eldest son, Tokunbo,
and some other family members flew to England immediately the monarch
breathed his last to join the king’s three wives, Morisola, Ladun and Odunola –
who were already there.
Morisola is the eldest wife, Ladun is the second wife and Odunola, who is the
daughter of the immediate past Orangun of Ila, is the youngest wife.
It was learnt that the family members flew down to England to pay their last
respect to the departed monarch.
The Araba of Osogbo land, Chief Yemi Elebuibon, who spoke with one of our
correspondents on Friday, disclosed that the corpse of the Ooni belonged to Ile-
Ife and not his family.
He said, “The traditional burial rites of the kings of Ile-Ife and Oyo are strictly
complied with and they are comprehensive.
“When the Ooni dies, the body becomes that of the town. The ‘Isoro’ cult group
will take over. The ‘Isoro’ initiates are the ones who worship the ‘Oro’ deity.
“It is the ‘Isoro’ people that would inform the various deities, who were
worshipped and appeased when the Ooni was crowned, that he (the monarch)
is no more.
“It’s a rite. Nothing must stop it.”
The Araba dispelled the belief that the heart of the late king would be fed to the
next Ooni.
He said, “The eating of the heart of a departed King by an incoming one
belonged to the past. It no longer exists. People still make this insinuation
because many are barred from witnessing the burial of a king.
“What the incoming king will eat is the heart of an animal and not that of a
human. Nobody would be buried with the Ooni. Nobody would be killed for any
form of sacrifice.”
Elebuibon explained that animals are now used for the burial rites of Yoruba
Obas because of modernisation, noting that Christianity and Islam also stopped
the use of humans for sacrifice when God stopped Abraham from sacrificing his
son, Isaac.
Let Sijuwade rest
As the guests who attended the interdenominational service departed, a man in
white robe and a white cap appeared at the palace entrance and told some of
the people around the gate to leave the vicinity of the palace and allow the
monarch to rest.
He said, “The service is over, it is time for you all to start going. Leave the
palace and let Sijuwade rest. You are warned to leave.”
Meanwhile, a cleric, Evangelist Toluwase Akeredolu, had disputed insinuations
that Sijuwade, as a prominent monarch, was in the cult. Akeredolu had said
that Oba Sijuwade died as a born-again Christian.
Akeredolu said this on July 29 after the transition of the monarch was
announced by the media.
The cleric, an evangelist with the Christ Apostolic Church, said the monarch had
few weeks before his transition, confessed all his sins to God after he preached
the gospel of Jesus Christ to him.
Akeredolu said he was privileged to have ministered to the monarch few weeks
before his death.
He said, “Oba Sijuwade told the congregation at the last crusade we organised
in Ile-Ife that he had forsaken sins and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and
personal saviour. He confessed publicly that he would live the rest of his life to
serve the Almighty God.
“During the revival, Oba Sijuwade said he had committed the rest of his lifetime
to Christ, the saviour of all and had sung the popular song ‘All to Jesus, I
It will be recalled that the late monarch dropped the title of ‘Oluaye’ (owner of
the universe) in 2010 in deference to the Almighty God.”

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