Alaafin of Oyo Turns 70

Thu, Oct 30, 2008

Culture, Elders, News, Traditional Afrikan

Alaafin of Oyo Turns 70

On October 15, 2008 the revered monarch of Old Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III marked his 70th birth day. It was an occasion for celebrating a man who ascended his ancestral throne in 1971. Since then he has reigned peacefully among his people, guiding the ancient town in its rich lores and rituals.

Born on October 15, 1938, Adeyemi has presided over the affairs of the traditional kings in Yoruba land, particularly those in Oyo State since 1971. His domain is the pre-eminent town among the Yoruba, dating back to the ancient and respected war-like Oyo Empire. Today, there may not be physical wars to fight but his kingdom has a respectable place among cities of importance in Nigeria, especially because of its historical place as an ancient civilization. The battles the Alaafin has to fight are those of bringing modernity and how to bring his towns’ people into prosperity and ensure the continuing peace reigning in the kingdom.

For the past 37 years, Adeyemi III has reigned in Oyo Town in peace. He started out his early education at St. Andrews Practising School, Oyo 1944-46. From there, he went on to Ansar-Ud-Deen Primary School, Iseyin, from 1946-47, and then to Ake Primary School, Alake’s Palace, Abeokuta, in 1948. He then attended Boy’s Methodist School, Obalende/Tinubu Methodist School, Lagos from 1949-54. Finally, he was at St. Gregory’s College, Lagos before he started his career life.

The Alaafin started work with Ramson and Brothers company in Lagos in 1960 before joining the Royal Exchange Assurance Company as a Clerical Officer. It was from here he was appointed to the royal throne of his ancestors as the Alaafin of Oyo.

Oba Adeyemi has made some significant strides since ascending the throne in the nation’s socio-political landscape. These strides have also earned him honours at several levels of engagements, where he has made his mark.

He was the first Chancellor of the University of Sokoto (now Usman Dan Fodio University in 1978. He was made Justice of the Peace in 1979. In the same year, he was given a national honour of the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic. The Alaafin also has an honorary degree in Law from Usman Dan Fodio University in 1982. The first class traditional ruler has shown himself not lacking in academic genius. To this end, he has earned a dignified place in the library by adding to the corpus of learning with his treatise titled Oyo Chieftaincy Institution and Modernism.

Although, seen in some quarters as a conservative monarch, his book will no doubt set him out as a man who sees the need to marry the traditional institution with the rapid changes taking place in a modern world.

The monarch might have been pained by the action by a certain section of Oyo State’s monarchs who argued recently that there was a need to rotate the headship of the Oyo traditional chieftaincy council. They had frown at the seeming permanence of the headship, which resided with the Alaafin. This certainly the sort of modernity he hinted at in his book though he has not as yet deigned those who made that call a response. But it smacks of new things to come in a changing world, and the oba might as well be prepared.

As part of his 70th birthday celebrations, the Alaafin had travelled to London to join his other subjects in the Diaspora. Was this also part of the modernism he hinted at in his book? A lot of people would have favoured his subjects from all over the world coming home to pay him homage. As the saying goes in ancient Benin City, ‘Oba does not go on transfer’. This emphasises the pre-eminence of the obaship that would seldom leave his domain for whatever reason.

In an era where the traditional institution has become largely partisan, thus pitting the subjects against each other, Oba Adeyemi has remained insulated from it all. Oyo State, which derives its name from the oba’s home town, has been in the news for the wrong reasons of late. Many of his fellow obas have been enmeshed in politics. But Oba Adeyemi has been known to remain neutral, refusing to drag down the royal stool of his ancestors in shameful worship at the feet of politicians and filthy lucre. This has singularly set him aside as a traditional ruler of class as he has remained above the bickering that often trailed obas in that part of the country.

Nevertheless, 70 years is a landmark, especially in the life of his majesty, the Alaafin of Oyo in South West Nigeria. For a man who loves such sports as boxing and football as his hobbies, Nigerians can only wish him more glorious years on the throne of his ancestors.

Today, within the four Local Governments of Atiba, Oyo East, Oyo West and Afijio, all created during the reign of the present Alaafin, there are about seven institutions of higher learning. These include the Federal College of Education (Special), Oyo State College of Education, Oyo, Federal School of Surveying and Bishop Ajayi Crowther University among others. From an ordinary rural town which Oyo was prior to 1971, it is now a full cosmopolitan one with many modern infrastructural facilities.

The outpouring of emotions and felicitations from a grateful nation during the celebration all go to show how much he is loved as a royal father. It is also a measure of the seeds of love he has also sown among his subjects and how he has carried his royalty with dignity and grace. Young Nigerians will do well to emulate this gem whose exemplary, and almost austere style, should inspire them to envisioning a nation with lofty ideals, devoid of the noxious things that paint us in bad light before the rest of the world. Kabiyesi, may you live long!

BY Anote Ajeluorou

Source: The Nation

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7 Comments For This Post

  1. Samuel Ademosu Says:

    Congratulations, Baba. Igba odun, odun kan ni o l’agbara Olorun. Your reign has brought tremendous physical and environmental development to your domain.


    The is firstly,to thank God the creator of ALL and the ONE, on His Royal Highness’s behalf.kade o pe Lori ki bata pe lese.
    I was fortunate to meet Kabiesi in England where Iam based.He said a prayer that ” Odidere kin gbe soko iwaje”.Thanks to your Highness.This is signficant.
    The spirit of the Monarch and the legacy of Oyo kingdom has to me repesents a bridging gap between hegemonics, particularly the south of Nigeria and the North of Nigeria.The domain is a GODLY institution to berate tribal effort and cement a common identity like the SUN that shines everywhere. This is a role the Alaiyelua has perfected. Long live the KING. The OYO Kingdom shares immence cultural affinity with the NORTH.GOD BLESS NIGERIA THE RADIANCE OF THE EXPIDENCY AMEN.

  3. Adriana Alves Says:

    History and I would like to know more about the Alaafinato Oyo and Arokin. I have done research, but here in Brazil we have few bibliographies. Would you like more information about this rule.
    Thank you.

  4. bello elias aderemi Says:

    Kade pe lori ki bata pe lese, ki esin oba o jeko pepepepe ki irukere o dokinni.I imploy the kabiyesi to influence company establishment in oyo and it’s environ to reduce the unemployment palava.More blessing sir.

  5. ADELEKE Says:

    i need the role of the executive and legislative crisis of 1981.

  6. ADELEKE Says:

    I need the roles of the Alaafin of Oyo in the old empire.

  7. Admin Says:

    I may be able to find that you. I’m sure I’ve read some detailed accounts. Let me dig around a bit.

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