As four royal families lined up their princes for the Ooni stool, they have called on the kingmakers to adhere to due process in the selection of the new monarch.
Their warning came amid claims by the Proprietor of Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Dr. Rahmon Adegoke Adedoyin, that the late Ooni, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, anointed him as his successor.
Dr. Adedoyin, a prince from Ile-Ife (Agbedegbede/Oshinkola) Akui Ruling House even hinted that some Ife elders are encouraging me to go for the coveted throne.
In an interview with Nigerian Pilot, Adedoyin said: “You know I was close to the late Oba Okunade Sijuwade. I got a lot of tutelage from him. I never expected that Oba Okunade’s death would happen so soon. I feel that I should retire as an Ooni of Ife in the future.
“In Ile-Ife, historically, Ajagun, the late Ademiluyi, pointed to the late Adesoji Aderemi as his successor while he was still alive. Similarly, Oba Adesoji Aderemi, while alive, pointed to Prince Okunade Sijuwade then as his successor. While Oba Okunade Sijuwade was alive, he pointed to me, Rahmon Adedoyin, as his successor. No Oba in Ile-Ife will not point to his successor before leaving. The chiefs, the “Emeses” and others were present there when Kabiyesi (King) said, ‘Ti oju ba yeju, ki ohun ma ye ohun’ meaning: ‘when I’m no more, don’t change my decision,” he said.
Adedoyin continued: “Historically, if the wish of the predecessor is changed, the Oba only stays there for a short time. Even history had it that an Oba who was forced thereafter died before he left ‘Ilofi’. I am not desperate to become the Ooni. I am sure you know I have enough commitments being a proprietor of two universities and two polytechnics. I need not tell you I have commitments, I want to drop all and serve Ife.”
But the other aspirants have urged the elders and chiefs to look beyond wealth and political connection in selecting the next Ooni.
Nigerian Pilot learnt the issues of chieftaincy, land ownership and migration have remained recurring aspects in Yorubaland in the selection of monarchs.
Sources close to the Palace at Ile-Ife confirmed that four ruling houses are qualified to produce the Ooni in the order of rotation.
The families are: Lafogido, Giesi, Ogboru and Osinkola.
It was learnt that five members of Ademiluyi family are top contenders for the office.
Palace officials said that if due process were followed by the kingmakers, the Giesi Royal Family should produce the next Ooni of Ile-Ife.
Findings revealed that Ademiluyi is from Osinkola dynasty, the late Oba Adesoji Aderemi was from Giesi Ruling House while Oba Okunade Sijuwade hailed from Ogboru Royal Family.
The contenders from Ademiluyi’s family iare Princes Ademola Ademiluyi, Yinka Ademiluyi, Adebambo Ademiluyi and Kanmi Ademiluyi.
But, ahead of the selection of the new Ooni, members of Olumobi Family of the Lafogido Ruling House have warned against the distortion of facts about the history, customs and traditions of Ile-Ife.
According to them, non-possession of material wealth or political influence by the aspirants should not be placed above the traditional rights of those described as the true princes of Ile-Ife.
They added that the values of integrity, rich cultural knowledge and strong relationship and affinity with the people of the town and the Yoruba race in general should be given priority.
In a statement credited recently to a member of the family, Prince Adedimeji Dauda Adefioye, he said that the family deserves the right to present the new Ooni because it was now two centuries since a ruler from the lineage occupied the throne.
He said the late Olumobi, who is the progenitor of the Olumobi Compound of Lafogido Ruling House, reigned as the 22nd Ooni of Ife, after the tenure of Luwoo, regarded as the only female Ooni and the town’s 21st monarch of the town.
Also, a member of the family and director on the boards of Lafarge Africa Plc, Wema Bank Plc, among other multinational companies, Prince Adebode Obafemi Adefioye, has signalled his intention to ascend the throne, saying building on the legacies of the late Sijuwade, the 50th Ooni and Arole Oduduwa, required a dynamic, strong-willed and progressive-minded prince like him.
The financial expert, who is the chief executive officer of IBK Services Ltd and a member of Ikeja Golf Club, Lagos, is the grandson of the late Ile-Ife-born philanthropist, Prince Badru Adefioye.
On behalf of the family, Alhaji Adefioye and younger brother to the Ooni hopeful, said as an illustrious son of “The Source”, his brother used to be referred to as the “Golden son of Oodua and Ololufe of Ile Ife” during the reign of the late Sijuwade.
He added that Adefioye’s father, who died about a year ago, was the Sooko Kareem Adegbaye Adefioye and Olori Omoba Lafogido Ruling House, who doubled as the Sooko Walomo of Ile-Ife and the immediate past Balogun of the Ile-Ife Muslim community.
Adefioye, who said the task of an Oba, and particularly a throne like that of the Ooni, is about service across borders, urged the contenders to do away with acrimony and campaign of calumny.
He added that anyone willing to serve would not take the contest as a “do or die” affair.
He said: “Omoba Adebode Obafemi Adefioye is an energetic, passionate and successful Ile-Ife son and will be a worthy Ooni for the betterment of Ile-Ife Kingdom. But we must warn those running in the race against him to do away with campaign of calumny and distortion of facts about the history of Africa’s noblest race because these traditions and histories are too sacrosanct to be altered.
“We have identified some groups of people and individuals that are indigenous of Ile-Ife who have clandestinely embarked on a mission to distort the history, custom and the tradition of our fatherland but the custodians of our history should not be discouraged.”
He said such people had even been parading themselves as the anointed candidates for the throne even before the official announcement of the late Ooni’s passage
“Such people must be watched because their actions do not conform to our customs and traditions and they seem to be too ambitious to serve the Yoruba race,” Alhaji Adefioye said.
He, therefore, prayed stakeholders and particularly the chiefs and the government to be fair in the selection process and consider the future of the black race over and above the immediate gains.

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