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Ooni: Giesi House Invited To Present Candidate

Posted: Sep 13, 2015 at 12:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Gbenga Faturoti, OSOGBO.

The Osun State Government may have begun the process of selecting a new occupant, with its decision to formerly call on the Giesi Ruling House to present candidates from whom the Kingmakers would select a successor to Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II, who died on July 28, in London. This is in spite of denials by the Giesi Ruling House of reports last week that it had short-listed six candidates.

Oba Okunade Sijuwade

Oba Okunade Sijuwade

Daily Independent learnt on Saturday that following a crucial meeting on Friday night at the Oke-Fia Osun State Government House, Osogbo, attended by Ile-Ife kingmakers, the Ruling House would be formally told to present a candidate in accordance with the 1979 and 1980 Ife Chieftaincy Declaration which allows for rotational ascendancy of the throne among four ruling houses.

A reliable source at the meeting hinted that the state government said it would not consider candidates from other ruling houses for the vacant stool.

Consequently, as at the time of filling this report, the process of forwarding the letter was in top gear.  The ruling house has two weeks to formerly present a suitable candidate for other processes to begin in earnest.

The declaration is being made under Section 4(2) of the Chief Law 1957 of Customary Law Regulating the selection the Ooni of Ife of September 14, 1979; approved on January 20, 1980 and registered six days later.

The declaration reads in part: “There are four ruling houses, which have the right to provide candidate for the Ooni chieftaincy, and the identity of each of such ruling houses and order of rotation is as follows: Osinkola House – which produced late Oba Aderemi; Ogboru House which produced Oba Sijuwade, Okunade II; Giesi House and Lafogido House.

“The family whose turn is it 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.”

From 31 To Six

Meanwhile, investigation by Daily Independent revealed that Giesi Ruling House has started its internal sorting of interested candidates.

It was gathered that the 31 Princes who submitted letters of intent from the Ruling House were pruned down to six.

Secretary of the House, Prince Adelowo Adekunle listed the the qualified princes as: Princes Aderemi Adeniran Adelowo, Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Adegboyega Adewoyin Coker, Taiwo Ade Ogunleye, Adetunji Ogunwusi and Okinawa Ologbenla.

Prince Adekunle said a list of the qualified princes would be handed over to the kingmakers headed by the Obalufe of Ife, Oba Folorunso Omisakin, who is presently the acting Ooni of Ife to select one. The local government and then the state government would thereafter ratify the chosen Prince, who would then be crowned.

Selection Criteria

On the criteria used in the selection, Adekunle said: “To get to where we are now, we need to set some criteria. One, the preferred candidate must be at least 50 years in age, not an under-age person. The pedigree of the person is also very crucial.

“The person must have a good name among the people. The person must understand the Ife people; understand Ife as a major and spiritual head of the Yoruba and the candidate must have full identity of the culture, the religion and the tradition of our people” he added.

One of the Princes who spoke on the criteria, Prince Aderemi Adelowo expressed confidence in the ability of the kingmakers to pick the best of the six short-listed princes.


However, other ruling houses have warned against rotation of the Ooni Stool for one reason or the other. While the Akui branch of Osinkola Ruling House of Ile-Ife warned against rotation of the Ooni stool among the existing ruling houses because it is against the custom and tradition of Ile-Ife, the Lafogido Ruling House wants immediate review of both the 1957 and 1976 Chieftaincy Declarations of Ile-Ife, describing them as frauds and completely alien to Ife Customs and Tradition.

Head of Sooko, in the Lafogido Ruling House and Deputy Governor in the Bisi Akande administration (1999-2003), Adeleke Adewoyin said the call for a review of the declarations is imperative, lamenting that the marginalisation of the ruling house in all the chieftaincy reviews so far undertaken in Ile-Ife.

He stressed the readiness of Lafogido ruling house to present a suitable candidate for the vacant stool, lamenting the lopsidedness in the selection of past Oonis at the expense of Lafogido, one of the original two.

Adewoyin who insisted that it is the turn of Lafogido to fill the vacant stool of Ooni, declared that Giesi belongs to Ogboru ruling house and is not a separate royal house, as “it is on record that before the eventual enthronement of Oba Sijuwade, the Giesi (the maternal grandchild of Ogboru) contested the throne alongside Sijuwade but could not succeed, due to the fact that Giesi and Ogboru belong to the same ruling house.

“The import that can be inferred from the above scenario is the fact that Giesi had never featured, (because it does not) belong to a separate royal house to have been involved in rotational sequence.”

The spokesperson insisted that the ruling house has not been treated fairly in the Ile-Ife kingship rotational system, just as its position in the various chieftaincy reviews, especially that of 1976, gazetted in 1977.

“From the above expatiations, it is evident that the preponderance of reigning Ooni had comes largely from Lajodogun Ruling House at the disadvantage of Lafogido Ruling House. Consequently, this anomaly should be seriously looked into and corrected by the appropriate authorities and there in our opinion, Lafogido ruling house should produce the next Ooni of Ife.


For the Osinkola Ruling House, Prince Adetowo Aderemi warned against rotational ascendancy, as the Ooni used to be selected from the pool of eligible Princes who are descendants of Lajodogun, whichhas three branches from where all the four ruling houses emerged.

Aderemi faulted the 1957 and 1980 Ife Traditional Council Declarations describing them as fraud and against the customary law of succession of the Ife people.

He also faulted the inclusion of Giesi Ruling House among the royal families to fill the stool, as it was accidental and indeed an aberration to the stool, going by the history of past Oonis. 

Giesi, he noted, was only invited to complete the term of Ogboru, since it was not from the male linage with right to the stool and being the grandson of Ogboru (son of a Princess).

He explained that since there has only been one ruling house in Ile-Ife, all of which are descendants of Lajamisan and Lajodogun, there has never been recourse to rotation, because each Ooni is selected from the pool of eligible Princes who are descendants of Lajodogun. There are three branches of this eligible pool, which he said, does not constitute them into ruling houses.

He explained that the 1957 Declaration and 1980 Amended Declaration cannot stand the test of time, because they are invalid, not follow due process and illegal.

Prince Aderemi maintained that the stool of Ooni is subject to rotation, stressing that “even the chieftaincy legislation implicitly recognizes this when dealing with one ruling house—No rotation is required in respect of such ruling house. This is historically important because of the paramountcy of Ile-Ife to the Yoruba people.

“The best candidate from all the eligible Princes has always been chosen. To unlawfully deprive candidates from three ruling houses/branches on the basis of an illegal rotation policy would be to desecrate the position of Ooni.

“Rotation does not exist in Benin or in Ibadan. It does not exist in Sokoto, neither does it exist in Kano. Why should our own paramount ruler be different?

Stolen Mandate

Even then, the Lami royal family of Ogboru m’olodo of Ilode, Ile-Ife has vowed to reclaim what it termed its stolen mandate in 1980.

Spokesperson of the family, Prince Adewale Adewuyi recalled that his late father, Prince Timothy Adebola Adewuyi, a Treasurer in the Local Government Service of the old Oyo State was actually picked by the Ife kingmakers after consulting the Ifa Oracle. He said his father’s name was forwarded to the then governor of old Oyo State, Chief Bola Ige, but was allegedly upturned in connivance with Chief Obafemi Awolowo, after which the then Prince Okunade Sijuwade was crowned.

Adewuyi, who reiterated that Lami Royal Family produced the 8th and 34th Ooni of Ife, stressed that Ogboru M’Olodo is quite different from Ogboru which produced Oba Sijuwade, adding that the royal family is fully prepared for the contest to fill the vacant stool, faulting the claims by Lafogido and Giesi ruling houses.

“The Lami Royal Compound of Ogboru m’olodo is ready to reclaim its stolen mandate of 1980,” he insisted, adding that the 1977 declaration which ordered rotation to fill the stool is misleading, incorrect and tends to pave way for rotational manipulations that, at the end, may negate the tradition.

“The 1980 Declaration as registered on 28th January has abrogated the earlier ones which give rooms of contest open to the four ruling houses,” Adewuyi added, urging the kingmakers to allow justice, equity, fairness and trust prevail in the process of selecting the successor to Olubuse II.