Succession race for the stool of the Alaafin of Oyo will commence after the eighth-day fidau scheduled to hold at Durbar Stadium, Oyo, on Saturday. According to tradition, the Agunloye Ruling House will produce the successor to the late Oba Lamidi Adeyemi.
According to the Alaafin Ruling House Chieftaincy Declaration, the two ruling houses, representing the two prominent sons of Alaafin Atiba Atobatele, are the Alowolodu and the Agunloye ruling houses.
The late Oba Adeyemi came from Alowolodu Ruling House and with his demise, the Agunloye ruling house is to produce the successor.
By tradition, the head of Oyo Mesi, the kingmakers, who is the Basorun of Oyo, High Chief Yusuf Akinade Ayoola, will coordinate activities leading to the emergence of another Alaafin.
The state governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, during a condolence visit to the palace on Sunday, had urged the Oyo Mesi to ensure the vacuum in the Alaafin stool is not allowed to linger.
Going by the advice of the governor, the Olori Omooba of Oyoland, Chief Mukaila Afonja, in an interview with the Nigerian Tribune, said the door will be opened to all the interested princes from the Agunloye ruling house immediately after the fidau.
He disclosed that interested princes are expected to file their application letters which will be scrutinised by the Omooba-in-council after which shortlisted candidates would be forwarded to the Oyo Mesi, who will consult the Ifa oracle for the final selection.
Chief Afonja, who is also the Ilaji of Oyoland, however, faulted the announcement of the demise of Oba Adeyemi on social media, stating that tradition abhors such.
According to him, the Aremo Kabiyesi supposed to inform Ilaji before any other person while Ilaji in turn will follow Aremo to where Kabiyesi is laid to perform the traditional rites of dustto-dust before breaking the news to the Oyo Mesi and the general public.
“The news had already gone viral online before I was called to perform the traditional rites. There is nothing anybody can do again,” he said.
Unfulfilled dream of Oba Adeyemi
Chief Afonja said the late Oba Adeyemi longed for the creation of new Oyo State, a dream he did not see coming to reality.
He also disclosed that the late monarch was desirous to get all towns and villages in Oyo connected to the national electricity grid, a project he had embarked upon for a long time.
“The project is nearing completion but it is sad, Kabiyesi is gone,” he lamented.
The longest-serving palace aide, Baba Kekere
Not sure of his age, Lasisi Morenikeji, a.k.a. Baba Kekere, had served three Alaafin of Oyo, namely, Oba Adeniran Adeyemi, the father of the immediate past Alaafin; Oba Gbadegesin Ladigbolu and the late Alaafin, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi.
His small stature depicts his appellation. Although he is not lettered, he is a repository of tradition and history, as he recollects everything that happened in the palace.
Baba kekere, a father of three, was brought into the palace when he was eight years and had been enjoying all the privileges of living in the palace.
Baba Kekere, whose house is adjacent to the Alaafin’s residence, said of the three past monarchs, Oba Adeyemi was educated and highly influential.
He described the late Alaafin as an exceptional human being, adding that it is rare to have people like him again.
“Alaafin is not discriminatory. He was responsible for my welfare and the education of my children. We were treated equally in the palace,” he said.
One of the palace aides, Saheed Kudefu, in an interview with Nigerian Tribune, disclosed that there are over 200 aides ín the palace.
“We are being fed and clothed by Alaafin. I was brought into the palace when I was eight years. I am now 35, meaning that I have stayed in the palace for 27 years. I have visited virtually all the states in Nigeria.
“Whenever we travel out of town, I am the one responsible for buying food for Kabiyesi. If Kabiyesi buys two wraps of Amala, one is for me. He sponsored my marriage and business. I used to fan him at public functions. We were so close,” he said.
His relationship with Arisekola
The late Oba Adeyemi was a cordial friend of the late Ibadan business mogul, Alhaji AbulAzeez Arisekola-Alao. Kudefu said the only place where the late Alaafin ate outside his home was at Arisekola’s house.
“Oba Adeyemi always break the tradition of not eating outside home whenever he visited Arisekola. That confirmed how cordial their relationship was when they were both alive,” he said, adding that for three months after Arisekola’s death, the late Oba Adeyemi stayed indoors to mourn him.
The myth of Abobaku
Chief Afonja debunked the rumour that Abobaku of the late Alaafin had fled the country.
He said, “The age-long tradition has changed. Nobody is dying with the Kabiyesi again. Abobaku came to the palace yesterday. There is no iota of truth in the report. It is just a figment of the writer’s imagination.”
No controversy over burial plan
Chief Afonja said there is no controversy over the burial plan of Alaafin. According to him, Oba Adeyemi was buried in accordance with Islamic rites, adding that as a practising Muslim, having been to Mecca on several occasions and observing his daily prayers regularly, he was buried the Islamic way.
He also said the late monarch, as a father of all, went to church for thanksgiving.
He clarified that traditional worshippers performed the normal rites before his remains were laid to rest at Alaafin vault at Bara.