|A New Royal Era Begins.|
Three days after his appointment as Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi will today appear in public for the first time. He is expected in Ife to the warm embrace of his subjects. Ahead of his historic home coming, the two local governments in the ancient town – Ife East and Ife Central – yesterday ordered the closure of all major markets in his honour. The councils also ordered that vehicles should not be parked on the roads leading to the Ooni's Palace. Those abandoned should be removed before the Ooni's arrival.
On arrival, the Ooni will go to the Giesi Ruling House to be installed as the Sooko because tradition demands that he must first be the Sooko of his family before he mounts the stool. After his installation as Sooko, the Ooni will head to the Obalufe Palace to perform some rites at the Orunto River inside the palace. From there, he will move to a forest on Ilesa road for another round of rituals.
A source said: "The Ooni will also go into seclusion in Ilofi for a minimum of 21 days for series of rites and initiations. Though the rites could last 30 days in some circumstances but 21 days may be sufficient. And finally, he would meet an old woman in spirit to receive the power left by Oduduwa. The old woman will give him all the power over the Yoruba race. Then after all these, he will be installed as the Ooni."
Oba Olajide Ifaloba, the Obadio of Ife and Head of Isoro cult, to which the Ooni must belong, has confirmed that he will arrive in Ife today. Speaking with reporters in Ife last night, he said the arrangements had been concluded to receive Ogunwusi. According to him, the Ooni will be received at Ife end of Ife/ Ibadan expressway and will subsequently begin installation rites as demanded by tradition. Ifaloba said tradition demands that Ooni must enter Ile Ife in the day time after his name had been announced. It was also learnt yesterday that some rites to herald Ooni's entry into Ife have been concluded.
It was also gathered that the Lowa Eredumi of Ile Ife, Oba Eluyele Olawenu, according to tradition, will officiate at the installation rites. Ife was calm yesterday and the residents in high spirits as they await the Ooni's arrival. Strategic areas of the ancient town are being heavily policed. In a broadcast on an Ife-based private radio station, Crown FM, the palace urged all residents to dress gorgeously to receive Oba Ogunwusi. The announcement directed markets and shops to remain closed during the period as a mark of honour for the monarch.
President Muhammadu Buhari, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, among others yesterday congratulated Ogunwusi on his appointment as Ooni. The All Progressives Congress in Osun State congratulated the people of Ile Ife, Osun State and the Yoruba nation on Ogunwusi's appointment. In its congratulatory message, APC Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Kunle Oyatomi, said a new era has begun with Ogunwusi as Ooni.
According to the party: "The spectacular antecedent of the new Ooni in the corporate community of Nigeria's business institution, the Yoruba nation and indeed Nigeria as a whole expect the new Ooni to take off from where the late Oba Sijuwade ended his glorious reign.
"We expect the Ooni to drive the traditional institution with similar if not stronger zest and panache that Oba Sijuwade deployed to promote culture, especially that of the Yoruba nation throughout the world.
"We have no doubt in our mind that the choice of Ogunwusi as the new Ooni must have been based on his pedigree and antecedent and exalted achievements he has attained that would be of significant value to his reign as the paramount ruler in Yorubaland.
"It is, therefore, with great expectation that we all look forward to the eventful reign of the new Ooni, His Royal Majesty, Oba Babatunde Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ojaja II."