Markets in Ile-Ife, Osun State were shut yesterday as preparations for today’s burial of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse 11 gathered momentum.
The closure of the markets was directed by the Ife High Chiefs who sent town criers to various parts of the town to announce the decision of the traditional institution.
The affected places will remain closed for the next seven days in honour of the late monarch.
Already, the remains of Ooni has arrived the palace from London for interment today. It will be followed by interdenominational service in Ile-Ife, his eldest son, Prince Adetokunbo Sijuwade, has said.
The funeral and thanksgiving service will hold at the Palace Square in Ile-Ife city.
In the early hours of yesterday, town criers were in various markets and other places in the town to deliver the Traditional Rulers Council’s message to traders.
The town criers, who announced the directive in local language, warned defaulters to be ready to face the consequences of their actions.
Though commercial activities went unhindered in places far away from the palace before the announcement was made, all the commercial banks in the town did not open to customers.
To ensure sympathisers had smooth entering into the town, the state government ordered the clearing of bush paths from Ife-Ibadan Expressway to the Obafemi Awolowo University campus.
The students of the institution were seen moving in and out of the campus as against yesterday when they remained within the school.
Meanwhile, eminent Nigerians have continued to pay tributes to the late Ooni.
A former governor of the state, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who described Oba Sijuwade as a father, confidant, mentor, nationalist and a rare patriot, prayed for the repose of his soul.
Also, former governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has commiserated with the Sijuwade family, the Ile-Ife people and the government of Osun State over the passage of the Oba.
Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, described the late Sijuwade as a respected traditional ruler who demonstrated immeasurable love for his subjects as well as citizens within and outside his domain.
The Senator representing Osun East (Ife/Ijesa) Senatorial District, and Chairman, Senate Rules Business Committee, Babajide Omoworare, described Sijuwade’s death as a colossal loss, saying that the incident was shocking.
In a statement signed by his media aide, Mr. Tunde Dairo, Omoworare expressed his condolence to the Ile-Ife traditional council, the entire Ife land, family and friends of the late Ooni.
The Senator who hails from Ile-Ife said that the traditional ruler’s lifestyle added glamour, uniqueness, dignity and pride to the Ooni’s stool, adding that Oba Sijuwade duly and responsively represented the town and the Yoruba race in the Diaspora very well.
The Olukoyi of Ikoyi land in Isokan local government area of the state, Oba Yisau Bantale Otunla, Kodaolu 1, described Oba Sijuwade as caring Oba who carried all and sundry along during his life time.
He told newsmen in his Palace yesterday that not only the traditional class and people of Ife would miss the late Oba but the entire world.
Similarly, the Onido of Ido-Osun, Oba Aderemi Adedapo, said the monarch joined his ancestor at a time when his experience was needed for development of the country.
Oba Adedapo noted that Sijuwaade would always be remembered for his contribution to the preservation of Yoruba culture and traditions.
On his part, the Orangun of Oke-Ila, Oba Adedokun Abolarin, said the Yoruba race had lost an enigma and custodian of its culture, saying his memory would remain evergreen in the minds of people of Yorubaland.
Oba Sijuwade passed away on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 in a United Kingdom Hospital after a brief illness at the age of 85.

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