Nigerians mourn monarch Oba Sijuwade, the Ooni of Ife

A revered monarch in south-west Nigeria, the Ooni of Ife, has been buried after thousands attended his funeral, a mourner has told the BBC.
Traditional rites to honour Oba Okunade Sijuwade – a king of the Yoruba, Nigeria’s second biggest ethnic group – are being held in the city of Ife.
Dignitaries, including Nigeria’s Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, paid their respects before the private burial.
The 85-year-old sovereign was crowned in 1980 and was widely respected.
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He died in London in July but his death was only announced on Wednesday.
Analysts say this was not surprising as the royal court first needed to have extensive consultations and begin the search for a successor before the announcement could be made.
He was considered the most influential monarch by most Yorubas, who number about 35 million, in south-west Nigeria, Togo and Benin.
The Ooni was said to be the direct descendant of Oduduwa, who is a Yoruba god.
Nigeria’s many monarchs vary in hierarchy and importance and some like the Ooni of Ife rule and the northern emirs rule over large areas, while others are traditional rulers of a village or town.
‘Invaluable contributions’
Oba Sijuwade was a successful businessman at the time he was crowned – making much of his money from importing vehicles.
The Ooni of Ife’s kingdom is in present-day Osun state in south-west Nigeria
The monarch should be a direct descendant of Oduduwa, who is a Yoruba god
Nigeria’s many monarchs
Banks and businesses in the ancient of Ife have shut.
“We have been told to close to our businesses for seven days,” a resident of Ife told the BBC Hausa service.
Those who did not attend the funeral were been told to stay indoors to show their respects for the monarch and the cultural rites.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said the traditional ruler would be remembered for his “worthy service and invaluable contributions” to the sustenance of the cultural heritage of his people.
“Oba Sijuwade had lived a very fulfilled life, and has left worthy legacies for his successors to build upon,” he said in a statement.
Only those directly connected to the royal family attended the burial at the palace.
The Ooni of Ife, a southern Christian, was a close friend of one of Nigeria’s most revered Muslims leaders from the north, the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero.
Lagos-based journalist Sola Odunfa says his relations with the late Emir helped bring about peace and stability between the country’s two main religious communities.