Anxiety in Ife as Oro festival begins

 
The anxiety surrounding the demise of the Ooni of
Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, has continued to
heighten as worshippers of Oro began the annual
festival in the ancient town on Friday night.
Oro is a deity worshipped across Yoruba land,
which forbids the womenfolk from going outdoors in
the night during the period of its festival.
Although, sources in Ife told our correspondent that
the festival, scheduled to commence on Friday night
had nothing to do with the demise of the Ooni, the
public believe otherwise.
The sources, however, insisted that the festival,
which would last for seven nights, should not be
mistaken for the commencement of the rites of
passage of the Ooni.
They also insisted that the Ooni was still alive,
contrary to the media reports that the monarch died
in the United Kingdom.
Although some youths interviewed by our
correspondent said they were not aware of the
festival, they said the festival would force
everybody to remain indoors at night throughout the
seven- day period.
A former Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in
Osun State, Mr. Sikiru Ayedun, confirmed to our
correspondent that the festival would start on Friday
night.
Ayedun, who is from Ife, said, “Yes, Oro will start
tonight (Friday). But it has nothing to do with the
rumour of the death of Baba (Ooni).
“It is an annual festival and it holds around this
time. So, it has nothing to do with the rumour in
town.”
The news of the death of the Ooni was reported by
the media on Wednesday, but the 16 chiefs, known
as the Royal Traditional Council of the palace, led by
the Lowa of Ife, Oba Joseph Ijaodola, debunked the
news.
The Lowa also led the chiefs to announce to
Governor Rauf Aregbesola on Thursday that the
monarch was alive and not dead.

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