The Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has said that the Ooni of Ife, Okunade Sijuade, sent him “a touching text message” just before he travelled out of the country to London for medical aid. It was the governor’s first public comment on the Ooni since the news of the Ooni’s demise set a stream of activities within the Ife traditional court.
Mr. Aregbesola dropped the hint on Friday in Osogbo at a special session of the Osun State House of Assembly marking the 50th birthday of the Speaker, Najeem Salaam. Mr. Aregbesola promised he would share the content of the message with the people of the state at the appropriate time.
He said he had discussed the content of the message with the Ife Royal Traditional Council during his meeting with them in Osogbo when they visited him on the happenings within the monarchy.
“A traditional ruler does not die in Yoruba land,” the governor said, praying for all the traditional rulers in the state.
He also felicitated with the Speaker, saying Mr. Salaam deserved the prayers of all as he turned 50 years. “The effective leadership we have provided in this state with the massive delivery of people oriented programmes could not have been without the appropriate cooperation of the House under the Speaker,” he said.
“It is therefore pertinent to note that the Speaker has been a major factor in the delivery of good governance and this we are optimistic will continue.
Meanwhile, as traditional rites continued on the lifeless body of the Ooni of Ife, Akunade Sijuade, there were indications on Saturday that the body had been moved from the Ilegbo where it had been since he was flown in from London, to Obatala House, another sacred place called Ile Ase.
Palace sources said before the move to Ile Ase, which in Yoruba lore means the “house of authority” the monarch had undergone local embalmment. Ile Ase is said to be the place where the Ooni received his authority with which he reigned over the kingdom during his lifetime.
It was reliably gathered that the traditional rites at Ile Ase may last for three or four days, and those involved are expected to be thorough.
“The house is unique and symbolic in the sense that, all acquired authorities from these gods must be re-claimed from the dead body before being finally laid to rest,” the source said.