Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday said the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, shortly before his death, lamented that the Yoruba people were marginalised in the scheme of things in the country.
He said this when he paid a condolence visit over the passage of the Ooni to the Ile-Ife traditional chiefs
Mr. Obasanjo said he had the opportunity of visiting Oba Sijuwade in his place just 10 days before his death where the latter complained about the marginalization of the Yoruba race.
“I was here in this palace 10 days before the demise of kabiyesi (Oba Sijuwade) and he told me how the Yoruba race is margnalised in the scheme of things,” Mr. Obasanjo said.
“He also told me to ensure that the Yoruba race got its own share of things in the country.”
Mr. Obasajo charged the Ife traditional council, particularly the the kingmakers, to ensure that the process of selecting a new Ooni of Ife, produces only the right person to ascend the throne.
He urged them to strictly follow the laid down procedure for selecting the Ooni, given the importance of the stool.
The former president noted that the stool of Ooni of Ife is crucial to the existence and development of the entire Yoruba race, making it necessary for the kingmakers to allow God’s wisdom to prevail in choosing a rightful candidate for the position.
He described the late Ooni as a lover of peace and unity, saying that the influential monarch had taken the seat of Ooni beyond Africa.
Mr. Obasanjo stressed the need to ensure that a competent person is chosen to fill the vacuum created by the flamboyant monarch’s death asking the traditional chiefs and kingmakers to be careful in the selection processes.
“The position of Ife in Nigeria today can not be wished away. Ife symbolised the head of Yoruba race both in Nigeria and the diaspora,” he said.
Receiving Mr. Obasanjo on behalf of other chiefs and kingmakers, the Obalufe of Ife, Gabriel Omisakin assured the former president that the choice of the new Ooni would not lead to crisis.
He promised that the kingmakers would ensure that due process is followed in the selection of a new Ooni.
He appealed to Mr. Obasanjo not to be too far from the community in view of his position not only in Yoruba race but all over the world.
The former President also paid a visit to the private residence of the late monarch where he commiserated with the latter’s wives and children.
He signed the condolence register at the entrance of the late Ooni’s sitting room before he went into the inner chamber where he took photographs with the late Oba Sijuwade’s family.
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