Ooni of Ife – Oba Okunade Sijuwade

Memo To Ooni of Ife

The exercise is always painful when the task is to remind the head of a revered institution about the need for circumspection in carrying out his duties. In this case the task is even more painful because it concerns the comportment of the foremost traditional ruler in Yorubaland, the Ooni of Ife.

The custodian of the Ooniship is a pivotal figure, indeed an avatar of the Yoruba socio-cultural and political set up. He should be a highly revered father to all. He must be in comportment – words and deeds, the avatar of the Yoruba speaking nationality. He should be so seen in many facets. For a start, as the custodian of the tradition and the jealous guardian of the essence and well being of the Yorubas, he must also be seen as the impartial arbiter in disputes concerning the Yorubas. He must be a beacon of light and hope.

All of the above require circumspection, comportment in mien and gait and measured words. The standards expected are very high. This should not be surprising for, the Ooni is a special institution. Others may stumble, but a near deity is expected to be above some human frailties. For this reason, the Ooni should be transparently non-partisan. This is crucial since in essence he is the conscience of the Yoruba speaking nation. He owes posterity a duty to be seen unimpeachably in that role…