The Chief Priest of Ile-Ife, Chief Olajide Farotimi Faloba has insisted that the Ooni of Ife Oba Okunade Sijuwade is alive.
He described several reports relating to his deaths and transportation of his corpse as totally false.
In an interview with Vanguard at the Ile Oduduwa, an ancient grove believed to have housed the first Ooni of Ile-Ife, Chief Faloba debunked the reported arrival of the monarch’s corpse, saying Ooni was hale and hearty and was still in the United Kingdom.
“I just came from the Ooni’s palace and there was nothing that showed that he (Ooni) is dead. If truly such happened, there would be restriction to the palace, the palace gate will be shut, market will be closed and all trees in the town would be cut down; these are part of signs that Ooni has joined his ancestors,” he told Vanguard in Yoruba Language.
“In fact, Ooni’s son, Adegbite is having his weeding in Lagos as we speak. Thus it did not show any sign of mourning. If the rumour is true, we (himself and other chiefs at the grove) should be the ones to announce it. We are the owner of our culture, we are the owner of Oba Sijuwade.
“Obaship in Ife kingdom is sacred and should be handled as such,” he added.
Reports have said that the monarch joined his ancestors last Tuesday in a London Hospital in the United Kingdom after a brief illness. However, Ife Traditional council and other elders in the ancient town have persistently debunked the report.