In anticipation of the formal announcement of the death of Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II, the race for the successor to the sacred throne has now began.
This is coming after the transition rites on the remains of late Oba at the Oduduwa Shrine and other forests around Ile-Ife vicinity, were concluded last week.
Nigerian Pilot reports that after the initial rites on the late Ooni at the Oduduwa Forest, the body was moved to the Obatala House, also known as “Ile Ase”, after which the traditional announcement of him joining his great ancestors will be made.
However, the Royal Traditional Council, (RTC) of Ile Ife, which includes all traditional chiefs and title holders, is yet to make categorical statements on the demise of the late monarch.
It was gathered that the new occupant of the throne may come from the Lafogido ruling family, popularly referred to as Ademiluyi ruling family.
Other names being thrown up for consideration in the Lafogido-Ademiluyi family include; Prince Ademola Ademiluyi, a lawyer, Prince Yinka Ademiluyi, a socialite, Gboyega Ademiluyi, a highly successful oil magnate, Prince Adebambo Ademiluyi, an ex-Kings College graduate, and Prince Kanmi Ademiluyi, former Editor of The Punch Newspapers.
Kanmi, may be in serious contention in the selection of the new Ooni because of his maternal connection with the Lagos Peregrino family, and close affinity with the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC) in Osun State. He is said to be really close to both Governor Rauf Aregbesola and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The four ruling houses Osinkola, Giesi, Ogboru and Lafogido are recognised to contest for the throne, going by the 1957 Western Region Chieftaincy Declaration and adopted by the reviewed old Oyo State Chieftaincy Declaration of 1976.
Though, Ife has maintained the four ruling houses, it moved the Ogboru fromnumber three to two because, according to history, for 150 years till the time the Olubuse I, the grandfather of Oba Sijuade, became the Ooni he ruled for 16 years (1894 to 1910), the Lafogido had 3 slots, the Osinkola, had 2 slots but the Ogboru had only 1 slot.
Thus in 1980, Oba Sijuwade, from Ogboru ruling house and with many qualities required for the revered stool was favoured.
According to reports, the same rule used for selecting Oba Sijuwade was used for his predecessor, Oba Adesoji Aderemi, who reigned from 1930 to 1980. Aderemi contested the Ooni stool with Prince Adewoyin Ajagun Ademiluyi from Lafogido and Prince Adedire from Giesi but was said to have been chosen because he was rich and educated.
It was also gathered that other princes who might throw their hats into the ring in the race for the stool, the Yoruba esteemed cradle of human civilisation, include Abdulraheem Adedoyin, Sikiru Adetona Ayedun and Tokunbo Sijuwade, son of the late monarch.
In a related development, the Abobaku has reportedly run away after the death of the prestigious Oba. According to Yoruba tradition, a king does not die alone. His burial rites include being buried with other people. This is when an Abobaku comes into the picture.