The remains of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade may have arrived at his palace in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
A source close to the palace told our correspondent on Saturday that the body of the late monarch arrived at the palace in the early hours of Saturday.
The source said, “One of the sons of the Ooni travelled to the United Kingdom on Tuesday when the incident happened and I was told that he was part of the entourage that accompanied the body back to Nigeria. The body was said to have been brought back to the palace in the early hours of Saturday.
“I did not see it myself but I was told that the body had arrived. Although the cutting of the tree and the closure of market which are some of the signs of mourning have not been done, there are some other indications that the body might have arrived.
“Security has been beefed up and nobody is allowed to access the inner part of the palace. The body will not be kept where just anybody can see it and only the male children of the Ooni and some high chiefs can see the body.”
Meanwhile the Ooni’s son, Adegbite Sijuwade, is going ahead with his wedding to an actress and television presenter, Dolapo Oni.
The wedding ceremony holds in Lagos today.
Amid speculations that the wedding ceremony might be postponed over the event, the younger Sijuwade, on Saturday, shared a photograph of himself and his bride-to-be, Dolapo, on his Instagram page and wrote, “Sunday August 2nd.”
The post had attracted congratulatory messages from his followers.
Meanwhile, a palace source confirmed that the wedding would hold today. “It has not been postponed. If the Ooni is dead as being rumoured, the Olori (king’s wife) will definitely not be in a good mood. But she is cheerful and eagerly waiting for the ceremony,” he said.
The Yoruba paramount traditional ruler reportedly died in a London hospital last Tuesday but the palace officials have debunked the reports describing them as malicious and untrue.
Despite the denials of the king’s demise by palace chiefs, Oro festival has begun in the ancient town on Friday night.
Oro is a deity worshipped across Yorubaland, which forbids women from going outdoors at night during the festival.
Although palace sources in Ife told our correspondent that the festival, which would last for seven nights, had nothing to do with the demise of the Ooni, the public believe otherwise.
The commencement of Oro festival following the death of the Ooni of Ife, has forced travellers to shun passing through the ancient city.
A student of the Adeyemi College, Ondo, Michael Adeleke, whose parents live in Osogbo, told our correspondent that he would not pass through Ile-Ife while returning to school on Sunday.
Adeleke said, “I don’t want to take chances, therefore, I will travel through Ilesa- Akure-Ondo. Although Oro does kill men, I will prefer to steer clear of Ile-Ife until the whole episode subsides.”
A commercial driver, Muritala Kareem, who returned from Ife to Osogbo around 5:20pm on Saturday, said he was not going on another trip due to fear.
He said there were just three female passengers aboard his bus while returning to Osogbo from Ife but he said the female passengers wanted him to get out of the town quickly because of the festival.
A banker with one of the new generation banks in Ife, known as Ade, said that he had stopped staying outside beyond 6:30pm since the death of the monarch was reported in the media.
He said, “I don’t want to fall into wrong hands. I don’t know the rituals they would perform and the requirements but I don’t want to be a sacrificial lamb.”