The race for the Ooni of Ife has begun in earnest with the expression of interest from 17 contestants from the Giesi Ruling House to fill the vacant stool.
The contenders for the vacant stool have embarked on consultations and lobbying to ease their way to the throne. A royal source stated that the Giesi family had set up a screening committee to interview the 17 contenders from the ruling house.
The source added that those vying for the throne are influential people in the society. The 16 Ife kingmakers had on Monday affirmed the right of Giesi Ruling House to present candidates for the referred stool in accordance with the tradition and customs of Ile Ife.
Already, the two local government councils in the ancient town have sent a letter to the ruling house, informing it officially on the position of the state government and the kingmakers.
Speaking with newsmen in Osogbo on the development, one of the contestants and the immediate past Commissioner for Home Affairs, Culture and Tourism, Prince Sikiru Adetona Ayedun, said: “There are nine branches in the ruling house but I believe that the new committee will do justice and live to its responsibilities in ensuring that a more acceptable candidate become the next Ooni.”
Ayedun stated that if he eventually become the Ooni, he would add value to the town, its people and Yoruba kingdom. On his relationship with the late Oba Sijuwade, the former commissioner said: “I have interacted and moved closely with the late Oba Okunade Sijuwade to understudy and learn from him and other traditional rulers in the state and Yoruba land while serving as Commissioner for Home Affairs, Culture and Tourism.” The kingmakers had stated that the choice of Giesi ruling house was arrived at in line with Ife traditional rules and customs.