ON Sunday, August 2, 2015, Adegbite, the son of highly revered monarch, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, the Olubuse II, wedded his heartthrob, Dolapo Oni in the traditional way amid speculations of the monarch’s death.
The event which held at Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, was well attended. And expectedly, it’s a celebrity wedding, with the high and mighty in attendance. But contrary to assurance from the Ife Traditional Council that Oba Sijuwade would return to Nigeria from the United Kingdom to grace his son’s wedding, the widely respected Oba was conspicuously absent at the colourful ceremony.
His absence, however, had laid credence to speculations that the wealthy traditional ruler had joined his ancestors despite the denial by the Council of Chiefs.
HOW HE WAS REPRESENTED
Expectedly, a lot of people had been waiting to see if the Olubuse II would be physically present at his son’s wedding following reports from the palace that he was still alive, hale and hearty, contrary to media reports within and outside the country. However, the hope of the waiting guests and spectators at the colourful nuptials was dashed as the powerful Yoruba Oba and Arole Oodua, as Oba Sijuwade is fondly addressed, was not sighted at the venue. Instead, he was represented by his staff of office which was seen with the groom all over the place as the wedding progressed.
Also representing the Sijuwades were Adegbite’s paternal and maternal relatives. Prince Adetokunbo Sijuwade, elder brother of the celebrant who clocked 50 recently, was also at the event, standing in for his father.
THE UNENDING CONTROVERSY ABOUT HIS RUMOURED DEATH
As at Monday, August 3, 2015, Oba Okunade Sijuwade (Olubuse II), the Ooni of Ife has not been officially pronounced dead. This has, however, continued to raise doubt as to whether he is truly dead or alive.
Meanwhile, since the news of his death broke on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 (in the evening), social media has been agog with conflicting reports over the rumoured death of the influential Oba as no one had actually confirmed the passing away of the wealthy traditional ruler.
But on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, huge crowd of anxious town’s men and women had besieged the Enuwa Square wondrous palace of the monarch called Ile Oodua, at the heart of the ancient town, waiting patiently to hear the truth about the state of things concerning the rumoured passing on of Ooni.
However, they all left disappointed as nothing like official statement was issued from the palace to confirm whether Ooni was dead or alive.
Meanwhile, Ooni was reported to have died at St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, West London but that also revolved around rumour as the hospital reportedly denied any knowledge of his death.
Until Saturday, August 1, 2015, people kept arriving in droves to capture the atmosphere at one of Africa’s most expansive palaces on account of the rumour that the corpse of the Yoruba number one Oba would be brought back to Ile Ife, the Source, where the traditional rites would be performed.
But one of the Ife chief priests, Chief Olajide Farotimi Faloba reportedly denied the arrival of the body of the monarch, saying it’s all unfounded. “If Ooni’s corpse had arrived, I am the first to know. So, it’s all lies,” he was quoted to have said.
He, however, insisted that Ooni is alive. “If truly Ooni is dead, the palace gate must have been shut and no one could have any access into the palace.”
What further fuelled the speculations of Ooni’s death was the traditional Oro festival that suddenly began in Ile-Ife, few days after his rumoured death. This, however, symbolized the passing away of the top monarch.
One of the palace sources who spoke to ENCOMIUM Weekly on Saturday, August 1, 2015, under the condition of anonymity confirmed that Oba Sijuwade had joined his ancestors, adding that the denial by palace chiefs and Ife Traditional Council was in order.
“Let me tell you the truth, Kabiyesi is dead. It has happened, it has happened, there is nothing anybody can do to bring him back. All these denials by Traditional Council and palace chiefs is normal. According to tradition, no one breaks the news of the death of a powerful Oba like that. But the fact that we’re in the internet world had scuttled our culture. If not for the social media, no one could have known that Ooni had joined his ancestors. Nothing is hidden again. May his soul rest in peace. I am even happy for him, he gave his life to Christ before he died.
“As I speak to you, arrangement is in top gear to bring his corpse back home any moment from now. Then later, official announcement concerning his burial will be made.”
However, amid all the controversies, the Sijuwade royal family and the Olowu family of Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, on Sunday, August 2, 2015, hosted an array of dignitaries at the wedding of their son and daughter, Prince Adegbite and Dolapo.
Prince Adegbite is the son of Olori Monisola, wife of the Ooni of Ife while Dolapo is the daughter of Mrs. Olowu, a former official with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
The guests at the superlative nuptials cut across the royalty, business, politics, entertainment and more.