The five wives (oloris) of the departed Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, would mourn for one year as a mark of respect for the monarch who passed away on July 28, 2015, a family member has said.
Speaking in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Thursday, the family member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said all the wives of the departed monarch were barred by Ife tradition not to speak to journalists for one year after the death of the king.
“The wives cannot talk to the press within one year of the monarch’s death. They cannot even attend flamboyant parties or events. There’s nothing the wives can do about that.
“After six months of mourning, the wives can attend low-key parties organised by close relatives. The family member has to be very close for the wives to attend,” the source said.
Sijuwade reportedly passed away on Tuesday, July 28, 2015, at the age of 85 years. He was born on January 1, 1930.
His wives were Morisola, Ladun, Odunayo, Adedolapo and Linda and their ages are between 40 and 60.
Sijuwade’s first wife, olori Yetunde, the mother of the first son, Adetokunbo, died some years ago.
He became the 50th Ooni of Ife at the age of 50 in 1980, when he mounted the throne of his forebears in a colourful event witnessed by prominent Nigerians.
It will be recalled that shortly after the transition of the monarch, a palace chief, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, had said the wives cannot remarry.
The chief said Ife tradition forbids the wives of a departed Ooni from remarrying because the Ooni never dies.
“The Ooni lives on; he doesn’t die. He only transits to a higher realm. This is why his wives cannot remarry,” the chief said.