The Royal Traditional Council of Ife on Wednesday dismissed the widely reported story of the demise of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, Olubuse II saying the royal father is alive and in good health.
But the council leaders never allowed the corps of anxious journalists seeking refutation or confirmation either to see the revered monarch nor be allowed to talk to the reporters in person.
Addressing newsmen in the House of Chiefs located within the premises of Ile-Oodua palace of the frontline monarch, the Lowa of Ife, Oba Joseph Ijaodola said the report in the media that the monarch died in a London Hospital was untrue.
The Royal Traditional Council, which comprises all traditional chiefs and title holders in Ile-Ife, the custodian of Ife traditional council insisted that Oba Sijuade is in sound state of health.
Oba Ijaodola further disclosed that the royal father is currently preparing for his son’s wedding fixed for next week Sunday.
Also speaking, Secretary, Royal Traditional Council of Ife, the Ladin of Ife, High Chief Adetoye Odewole, said Ooni is hale and hearty and even spoke to the chiefs on phone few hours earlier.
He added that those behind the death story are enemies of Ife and stressed, “As I speak with you, the chiefs have not heard anything like that. This is not the first time such rumour will be carried about our father.
“They did it in 1984, also in 2004 and now, these people are coming up with another rumour. Oba Sijuade remains in sound state of health”.
Commenting in similar vein, the Chairman, Ife Development Board, Prof. Muib Opeloye, said Ife as a town with rich tradition has its way of managing its affairs.
Opeloye maintained the royal father is preparing for his son’s wedding, urging people not to panic.
Meanwhile, the entrance of Ooni’s palace was shut to visitors, as only newsmen, chiefs and relations of Oba Sijuade were allowed into the premises.
All efforts to speak with the Head of Media, Royal Palace, Chief Funmilola Olorunnisola proved abortive as he could not be reached on phone.
Many indigenes and residents of Ife had converged at the entrance of the palace, but were prevented from entering by guards while the entire ancient town remained calm with people going about their normal businesses.