Obasanjo spoke on Friday during his condolence visit to Ife to sympathise with the family, chiefs and the people of Ife over the death of the late Ooni, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, who passed on in London on July 28.
The former President said strict adherence to laid down procedures for the appointment of the new Ooni would be a great service to the people.
While describing the stool of Ooni of Ife as significant to the existence and development of the Yoruba race, he asked the kingmakers to allow wisdom to prevail in choosing a rightful and God-fearing person to occupy the stool.
The former President recalled that he visited the late Oba Sijuwade in his palace 10 days before he passed on, adding that the late monarch told him about the marginalisation of the Yoruba race.
He said, “I was here in this palace 10 days before the demise of kabiyesi (Oba Sijuade) and he told me how the Yoruba race is being margnalised in the scheme of things. He also told me to ensure that the Yoruba race got its own share of things in the country.”
Apart from describing the late Oba Sijuwade as a lover of peace, Obasanjo said the monarch had taken the stool of Ooni beyond Africa.
Receiving Obasanjo on behalf of other chiefs and kingmakers, the Obalufe of Ife, Solomon Omisakin, assured the former President that the choice of the new Ooni would not lead to crisis.
Omisakin promised that the kingmakers would ensure that due process for the selection of new Ooni was followed.
The former President left the palace and went to the private residence of the late monarch where he sympathised with Oba Sijuwade’s wives and children.
Obasanjo, who arrived at the Ooni’s private residence along Osogbo Road, Ile-Ife, at about 9:30am amid tight security, met two of Oba Sijuade’s wives, Morisola and Ladun, and prayed to God to grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.
Meanwhile, Omisakin has dismissed a rumour that the Abobaku to the Ooni fled the palace immediately the news of the death of the monarch filtered into Nigeria from London.
He told our correspondent on Thursday that the rumour was baseless and was peddled by those who did not know anything about the tradition of the ancient city.
Abobaku in ancient Yoruba land was the chief assigned to be buried with monarchs. History had it that such person used to have unbridled enjoyment because the day the monarch he served was buried, he too would be buried alive with him.
He said, “There is no Abobaku in Ife. The rumour was fabricated by those who know nothing about our tradition. Nobody was assigned to be buried with the Ooni and nobody was buried with the body of the late monarch.”