The council of traditionalists has declared the commencement of the Oro festival in Ile-Ife, Osun State; and incidentally, immediately following the controversial demise of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade – the Olubuse II, according to a report by The Guardian.
It is true that the head of local hunters in the ancient town died shortly ago, and the Oro festival coincides with his funeral; yet many are tempted to think the declaration of Oro is remotely connected to the controversial vacancy in the palace of the first-class monarch.
Sporadic gunshots from local dane-guns filled the air close to the Ile Oodua Palace, Enuwa, two days ago and some elders said the significant firing of the guns had nothing to do with certain developments in the ancient town.
The Oro festival is a mystic ritual carried out by traditionalists and ancestor worshippers in Yoruba, and while it is a serious taboo for women and kids to venture out in the night when the Oro ritualists are in procession round about town, elders say it is a observed to ward off evil from the land and to appease the gods to usher in life and prosperity.
Whatever happens to an uninitiated person caught wandering about the night by the ritualists remains a matter for great debate.
But then, the nightly ritual lasts for seven days during which markets and businesses close early and everyone rushes home and remains indoors. This is not the time to dare the gods – not when the declared ritual coincides with unclarified developments in town.
“There is a door that remains permanently closed during the lifetime of a sitting monarch in Ife and since the door remains closed, it means that the monarch is presumed to be alive,” an elder said in reference to the controversy surrounding the death of the Ooni of Ife.
“The closure of markets for business and ringing of a special bell to announce the death of an Ooni are two major significant signs to indicate that the monarch has joined his ancestors and these are yet to be done,” he added.