The family of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, has begun moving out of the palace ahead of the formal announcement of his transition.
Palace sources in Ile-Ife said the the family, began moving personal effects from the palace to the late monarch’s private estate three days ago.
By Yoruba tradition, once traditional authorities break the news of the monarch’s death, all private assets remaining in the palace become the property of the town.
Sources said among the personal effects taken out of the palace were furniture while some of the monarch’s vehicles were seen being driven out of the palace at 2:55pm yesterday.
One out of the vehicles driven out of the palace was a limousine. But it was learnt that in preparations for the monarch’s funeral, his remains had been taken to Ilegbo’ for traditional embalmment.
It was said the body was embalmed at one of the deities’ shrine in Ile-Ife.
The body of the monarch was brought into the palace about three days ago after traditionalists and kingmakers had performed traditional rites on the remains of the Ooni.
It was learnt that the body is presently being preserved at “Ilegbo,” one of the traditional houses where the monarch was crowned when he was to become the king of the town.
Sources said since the corpse had arrived in the palace, leaders of the 201 deities in the land had been carrying out propitiations to the gods.
The body would be in “Ilegbo” till the traditionalists conclude their rites. The sources said it might take as long as three months to conclude the rites.
“The body arrived in the palace and was received by members of Isoro Cult early this week. “His journey to the throne started from that place called Ilegbo. That is where he was installed as Ooni. That is the place anyone that will succeed him will also be installed.
“The body is being preserved through traditional means. Details may not be too good for publication. All the rites would be done while the body is kept there. But don’t expect formal announcement of his death in the next two weeks.
“It may take months, depending on how fast the Isoro members are able to conclude the necessary rites. The body is there as I speak to you, but nonmembers of Isoro cannot see it. “Even his family members can no longer see him again,” one of the sources added.
Also, it was learnt that the traditionalists had visited different shrines to appease the gods and pray for smooth transition of the monarch. Investigations further revealed that all the sons of the Ooni had been informed, as tradition demands, before the local embalmment of the king at the “Ilegbo” shrine.