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Ife stands still for Ooni-elect

THE ancient town of Ile Ife, in Osun State, practically stood still to receive Ooni-elect, Prince Adeyeye Eni­tan Ogunwusi on Wednes­day as he made a triumphal entry into the town regard­ed as the cradle of Yoruba civilisation, DAILY SUN reports.

Prince Ogunwusi is ex­pected to undergo tradi­tional rites before he can be crowned the 51st Ooni of Ile Ife.

The 40-year old prince, from the Giesi Ruling House, rode into the ances­tral home of the Yoruba, at about 1.58p.m, in a convoy of hundreds of vehicles and personalities including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, amid drumming, dancing and praises.

However, the celebration was not without a casualty as a middle-aged Okada rider, who rode against traf­fic, shortly before Ooni got into town, died, while an­other person, who sustained injuries, was later taken to the hospital for treatment.

As early as 8a.m. yester­day, members of Ife Tradi­tional Council, the Isoros, notable chiefs, kingmakers, indigenes and non-indi­genes alike, thronged major streets of Ife to receive the monarch.

Jubilant residents and relatives of the Ooni-elect made their way to Ibadan- Ife Expressway to cheer and welcome Ogunwusi in different attires bearing his portrait.

The Ooni-elect, dressed in white agbada, with a purple cap, was received by tumultuous jubilant crowd, who danced and sang praises and prayed for a long reign for him.

Amid cheers and a long entourage, Ogunwusi, who was accompanied by Prof. Adekanye Aderibigbe, chairman of the Screen­ing Committee of the Giesi Ruling House was received by his father, Prince Oluro­po Ogunwusi, kingmakers and traditional chiefs at the Ibadan-Expressway bound­ary of Ife at about 1.58p.m.

Leaders of Igbo, Hausa communities and other tribes were also on ground to receive the new Ooni.

Upon his arrival in Ife, he visited some important places, including his family house at Agbedegbe house, the Obalufe’s compound for the first traditional rite of feet washing where he was later installed Sooko.

It is mandatory that any Ooni must be initiated into the Sooko group, which automatically conferred on him leadership of his ruling house.

Clad in white attire, with a white cloth tied around his head, the Ooni, who arrived Waluberin, where he was initiated as Sooko, acknowledged cheers from crowd who, again, prayed for a long reign for the new king.

Amid chanting of Ife songs, Prince Ogun­wusi, who at about 6.04p.m.emerged from an inner room after being in­stalled Sooko, danced to the delight of people amid new tight security.

As part of the rites, the new Ooni was expected to have prostrated seven times before the traditional chiefs and kingmakers after which it will become, taboo for him to prostrate, for anyone again in life.

The Ooni-elect would, to­day, proceed to Ilofi where he would carry out other traditional rites for the next 21 days before he would be crowned as the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogun­wusi, Ojaja II.

Meanwhile, Secretary of the Giesi Ruling House, Adekunle Adelowo Ogunl­eye, has described his emer­gence of the new Ooni as a new dawn.

He urged Ogunwusi to make industrialisation of the town and youth employ­ment top priority among his programme for the town.

Also speaking, Head of Sookos of the Lafogido rul­ing house, one of the ma­jor opponents to the stool, Walomo Adeleke Adewoy­in disclosed that a court suit on the matter was over since Prince Ogunwusi had been unanimously chosen.

“We won’t go to court to stop the choice of Ooni. We can only appeal to Osun government to look into the 1980 Ife Chieftaincy Dec­laration to avoid future liti­gation. After this Ooni, it is Lafogido’s turn,” he said.

The Ife Development Board has also congratulated the new Ooni. In a state­ment signed by its Presi­dent, Prof. Muibi Opeloye said: “ its our fervent prayer to God to grant you Solo­monic wisdom to handle the task ahead.