A source at the palace of the late Ooni of Ife, Okunade Sijuwade, has said that, a few days before his death in a London hospital, the traditional ruler desperately sought miraculous healing from a self-styled prophet of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC). But after the prophet had taken the Ooni to a river near Ile-Ife late at night, there was no improvement in the ruler’s failing health.
According to the source, Oba Sijuwade’s health worsened a few days after his arrival from treatment in London. In desperation, the Ooni asked his aide to text the spiritualist for urgent spiritual help. On getting to the palace, the prophet recommended “a spiritual bath” at a river. “Ooni’s only wish was for the spiritualist to heal him so that he could attend his son’s wedding [in Nigeria] before returning to London for treatment.”
But the source disclosed that the prophet’s intervention produced no result as the Ooni “left the river unable to stand up. Palace guards helped him physically to reach the palace.”
After the ritual bath, the prophet reportedly declared that the signs were not good. The late Sijuwade was also realistic, regretting that he would be in no position to attend his son’s wedding when he could not even walk by himself.
The day after the failed ritual, the Ooni was flown out of Nigerian in an air ambulance. On arrival at London’s Heathrow Airport, he was conveyed in an ambulance equipped with life support gadgets to a clinic at 20 Devonshire Place W1G 6BW, arriving at the hospital around 10.30 p.m. on Friday July 24, 2015.
The late Ooni was admitted into the Critical Care Unit on the 3rd floor of the London Clinic, with a medical team that included five specialist consultants monitoring him until his death at 7.10 p.m. on Tuesday July 28.
Oba Sijuwade owned a mansion in London that is a few minutes from Victoria train station and just yards away from the Buckingham Palace Gardens. Our sources said members of his family, including his many wives (called Oloris), were in the UK and by his bedside as he died.
The late monarch, who was buried last week in Ile-Ife, was both a man of tradition and a savvy businessman whose passion for wealth and influence led him to fraternize with all manner of political figures. He avidly pursued government contracts and consorted with shady politicians and military dictators, including the late brutal dictator, General Sani Abacha. The deceased traditional ruler would also be remembered for notoriously declaring that a former military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida, was “talking sense” after the general annulled the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by Moshood Kashimawo Abiola and adjudged free and fair by local and foreign observers. Relations between the Ooni and Mr. Abiola had soured because the Ooni felt slighted by Mr. Abiola’s acceptance of the title of the “Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland” from the Alaafin of Oyo, a rival of the late Ooni.
Oba Sijuwade’s death came a few months after Muhammadu Buhari won Nigeria’s presidential election, roundly defeating former President Goodluck Jonathan, who was openly endorsed by the Ooni. Mr. Buhari’s victory in the March 28 presidential election significantly diminished the Ooni’s political influence.
As a military ruler in 1984, Mr. Buhari had checkmated both the Ooni and the late Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, by preventing both traditional rulers from going on a business trip to the Middle East.