Battle For Ooni ’s Crown Thickens As New Contenders Emerge

Since the death of Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II, his likely successor has been of concern to many.

Due to the fact that much is expected of a modern day Ooni, there is apprehension as to who is fit to wear the keenly-contested crown among the likely contenders. While the battle for the crown gets fierce, interestingly, the conditions attached become more stringent as well.

Leadership reports that the contest for the next Ooni of Ife may force the fee payable by aspirants to increase from N100,000 to N250,000.

A source close to the kingmakers explained that the emergence of more contenders necessitated the hike. This is seen as a measure to prune the number of contenders, while obtaining an intention form becomes mandatory for each of the aspirants.

In the ancient town, there are four ruling houses: Lafogido, Giesi, Ogbooru and Osinkola. This is enshrined in section 4 (2) of the Chief Law 1957 of Customary Law regulating the selection of the Ooni of Ife.

By tradition, all male children of these royal families are entitled to aspire or ascend the throne.

The Osinkola house produced the late Oba Aderemi, while Oba Sijuwade, whose emergence was generally believed to have been ordained by the gods, came from the Ogbooru ruling house. Hence, the ruling family may not be considering fielding candidates for the throne for now.

The race, is expected to be between the Giesi and Lafogido ruling families.

Though tradition also forbids would-be successors from voicing their interest during the period of mourning, Leadership learned that contenders have been consulting appropriate individuals and kingmakers behind the scenes since the death of the monarch was officially announced on Wednesday, August 12.

Findings show that at least 12 princes from three of the four ruling houses have been consulting elders, influential politicians, statesmen and the inner caucus of the Royal Traditional Council.

The contenders, as compiled by Leadership are:

1. Prince Adedamola Aderemi: a London-based lawyer and a son of the late Oba Adesoji Aderemi, whom Sijuwade succeeded on the throne. Apart from his wide social influence, his closeness with some big political figures including the former president Olusegun Obasanjo and Osun state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola may be an advantage. He is from the Oshinkola Royal Family.

2. Prince Adelekan Aderemi, an international lawyer from the Oshinkola ruling house. The UK-returnee is the first grandson of the late Oba Adesoji Aderemi. Adelekan’s paternal grandmother (one of Oba Aderemi’s wives) was a daughter of Oba Adelekan Olubuse I (from Ogbooru ruling house). Prince Adelekan Aderemi is, therefore, not only a grandson of Oba Adesoji Aderemi, but also a great-grandson of Oba Adelekan Olubuse, who reigned from 1894 to 1910.

3.Prince Sikiru Ayedun, a former commissioner of information and tourism during Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s first term. He is of the Giesi ruling house. Ayedun is said to be conversant with tradition and culture.

4.Prince Abdulraheem Adedoyin: Proprietor of Oodua University. The successful businessman hails from the Giesi ruling house.

5.Prince Ademola Ademiluyi, an octogenarian, a lawyer and very good business associate of Chief Rasaq Okoya. He was once the legal secretary of the defunct NEPA .

Other contenders include Prince Adeyinka Ademiluyi, Prince Adegboyega Ademiluyi, Prince Kanmi Ademiluyi (a former editor of The Punch), Prince Adebambo Ademiluyi, Prince Rasheed Adetayo Oladele (a Columbus-based businessman), Adewale Adeyemo aka Ololo (son of Prince Adegoke Adeyemo) and Adewale Adeyemo (son of Prince Adegunju Adeyemo).

Apart from the traditions and ifa disposition, past experience has shown that the political influence and affluence of each contender plays an important role in the process of selection.

As stated in the customary law: ” The family whose turn it is to provide a candidate shall be invited in writing to present their candidate or candidates from among whom the kingmakers shall select the most suitable person.’’