oniVice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday in Ile-Ife, Osun State, described the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II, who was laid to rest in a colourful ceremony full of traditional vim and opulence, as the epitome of care, humble and honest leader.
The cream de la cream witnessed the burial rites from all walks of life including captains of industry, present and former leaders and prominent traditional rulers in the country.
The interment of the departed Monarch was done amidst controversy as commercial activities were forcefully halted with markets, shops and other businesses shut down amidst fears of likely unsightly rituals.
The was also the rumoured disappearance of Abobaku, a title that means “The one who dies with the king”. The Abobaku is a person that is appointed upon a king’s coronation, to be buried with the king when he eventually dies. His job is to serve the king and attend to him in the afterlife. His disappearance though has been refuted by the Palace.
Osinbajo, said at the interreligious farewell service in honour of the late Ooni, at the royal palace in Ile Ife that the Ooni’s exemplary leadership upheld the high traditions and culture of the Yoruba people with great commitment and dedication stressing, “ all over the world, places where the Yoruba culture is celebrated, the Ooni was very well recognised.”
According to Osinbajo, the achievements of the Ooni were worth celebrating noting that the monarch’s legacy would not only be enshrined in Yoruba history, but in the consciousness of the Yorubas.
The interdenominational service, which preludes the other traditional burial ceremonies, was heralded by sermons and prayers from Rev. Olusola Akanbi (a Christian cleric), Mufutaudeen Yusuf (an Islamic cleric), and Ifaloba Ifagbenro (a traditional priest).
Meanwhile, Gov. Rauf Aregbesola also praised the late Ooni for a life well spent on earth and for being a good role model to other Obas.
He said the Ooni was a pacesetter who lead the Osun Council of Obas with sincerity and honesty and who would always be celebrated adding that the late Ooni the chief custodian of the Yoruba culture would be greatly missed.
Kwara State Governor, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed; his Ondo State counterpart, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko; Ayo Fayose; former governors of Osun and Ekiti States, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and Dr. Kayode Fayemi and other prominent Nigerians have commiserated with the Sijuwade family and the people of Osun State over the death of the Ooni, Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II.
They described the late traditional ruler as an icon of international status.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Abdulwahab Oba, Ahmed said the passing on of the Ooni marked the glorious end of a glowing chapter in the tradition and culture of the Yoruba nation.
The governor described Oba Sijuwade’s death as a monumental loss to the country’s traditional institution and the nation at large.
Dr. Mimiko also described the departed Ooni as an exemplary traditional ruler, who carried himself in a manner expected of an ambassador of the Oduduwa deity.
In his condolence message issued by the state Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade, Mimiko affirmed that the late monarch successfully protected and brought more dignity and colour to the throne of his forefathers.
Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, said the late Oba Sijuwade’s place in the history of the Yoruba race is guaranteed for posterity on the account of his enormous contributions to the upliftment of the Yoruba people in the global stage.
Fayose, said in his tribute to Ooni that his life was a great lesson for all, as he strove to achieve greatness despite the fact that he was born into royalty.
Prince Oyinlola also described the late traditional ruler as a father, mentor, nationalist and rare patriot. Also, Dr. Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, described the late Oba Sijuwade as a highly respected traditional ruler, who had and demonstrated immeasurable love for his subjects as well as citizens within and outside his domain.
Fayemi said the late monarch would be remembered for his patriotism, generosity and the rare manner he combined royalty with service and glamour.
A revered traditional ruler in the state, Oba Adebolu Fatunmise, the Adagba of Iyanfoworogi, described the deceased as a king that brought tremendous change to the ancient town of Ile-Ife.
“For his 35years of reign in Ife, he was able to give the palace a facelift, changing the entire structure to a state-of-the-art ultramodern prototype of the Buckingham Palace as he promised before he was enthroned,” Oba Fatunmise said.
Other prominent leaders who paid tribute included former governor of Ekiti State, Chief Segun Oni and frontline lawyer and Ife son, Chief Nathaniel Oke (SAN).
They described the late monarch as a royal colossus, who projected the image of Yoruba beyond the shores of the country and the African continent with his charisma and debonair personality.
In a statement issued by his media office, and signed by Ayo Akinyemi, Oni, who is also the deputy national chairman, South, of All Progressives Congress, APC, said the departed royal father was “an Oba with unique character and characteristics that stood him out among his peers, all over the world. Kabiyesi was God’s gift to humanity, an exceptional gift to the black race and an unparalleled gift to Yoruba land.
“His comportment and his carriage, in every sense, without doubt, put him in the special class of a unique creation.”
…7-day curfew begins today
A seven-day curfew begins today after the remains of the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II, was committed to mother earth yesterday, Ile-Ife, the palace chiefs have announced.
The spokesperson for the chiefs, Chief Dejo Adejobi, told our correspondent that the restriction of movement for the rites started from 4:00 p.m. Thursday and would last for the next seven days.
When asked what the chiefs would do to ensure that the curfew would not affect visitors who attended the burial, Adejobi said, “I understand you. Yes, we cannot invite people for the burial service and still restrict their movement. But you should understand that the service will start by 10:00 a.m. and the restriction of movement will start from 4:00 p.m.”
Meanwhile, the burial rites, which heralded the interment of the late monarch, continued even yesterday as town criers from the palace moved round the town to enforce the chiefs’ order.
A resident, who witnessed the scene, Wunmi Adeoye, told our correspondent that the town criers beat their gongs as they moved round, warning residents not to come out yesterday because movement would be restricted to enable the chiefs to carry out the remaining rites.
The town criers, according to him, warned violators of the order to be ready to face the consequences of their action.
“Around 9.30am some persons from the palace came to Oja Titun and started driving traders away. They said the people knew the burial rites still continued but came out to dare them. They have shut down the market and they said the rites would continue for seven days.”
Speaking with our correspondent, a resident, who said she had visited Itakogun Market to buy some things, said some palace messengers went round ordering traders to close their shops immediately and to vacate the markets in compliance with the order.
At Sabo Market, which is mostly populated by non-indigenes, traders hurriedly closed their shops as the news of the closure of markets reached the area.
Some residents frown at the way the palace messengers flogged traders and those who crossed their path, saying the palace chiefs ought to have gone to the radio stations to inform everybody that markets would be closed for seven days.
The announcement of restriction on movement created confusion among those who were invited for the interdenominational service, which was held for the monarch before his remains was interred at the palace.
The interment, which took place inside the palace, was only witnessed by some traditional chiefs.
Though the gates of the Ooni’s place were ajar when our correspondent visited the place on Thursday, a rite that the chiefs said was one of the signs that the Ooni had left the world.

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