No fewer than 35 contestants have indicated their interests to succeed the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, who died on July 28, in a London hospital.
Our correspondent gathered that the contestants are those from the Giesi Ruling House alone which is one of the four ruling houses in Ile-Ife.
To ensure that the family field credible candidates only, it was gathered that the leadership of the ruling house set up a committee screen for the contestants to ensure that unqualified persons were not included among its candidates.
The screening committee was headed by Prince Ropo Ogunwusi while Prince Kehinde Ogunwusi was the secretary. The committee, it was gathered, had submitted its report to Prince Modupe Fadehan, who is the head of the family.
The ruling house, it was gathered, asked the committee to come up with six contestants whose names would be forwarded to the kingmakers before the end of this week.
Some of the contestants included Princes Adetunji Ogunwusi, Aderemi Adelowo, Sikiru Ayedun, Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Taye Ogunleye, Adegboyega Ologbenla and Gbadegesin Ologbenla.
Others were Princes Bankola Adediwura, Adegboyega Adedira, Olajide Adejoba, Sikiru Ayedun, Ademoyowa Omomadelo and Adegoke Adeyemo.
Efforts to speak to the chairman of the committee were unsuccessful as telephone calls to him were not picked while he did not respond to the text sent to him.
However, a member of the family, Prof. Moses Awogbade, when contacted on the telephone by our correspondent, said he was aware that some contestants had collected intention form designed by the family for aspirants.
He said, “I have seen the list of the contestants but I did not check how many. I saw the names of those contesting from our family and I was okay with that.”
One of the sources within Giesi said Adetunji Ogunwusi was confident of emerging the next Ooni despite the large number of contestants struggling to ascend the throne.
The source, who pleaded not to be mentioned, said, “He is confident of emerging the next Ooni. He is already looking for ways to further develop Ife, unlike other contestants.
“Concerning the insinuations that the rotational order of succession to the throne has been cancelled, majority of the people of Ile-Ife believe that this is a sign of desperation by some of those jostling to succeed the late Oba Okunade Sijuwade by all means.”