The traditional Prime Minister of Oyo is known as Bashorun. He is the head of Oyo Mesi (Kingmakers). The incumbent is High Chief Yusuf Olayinka Ayoola who succeeded his late father. In an interview with THE TABLOID.NET, Bashorun declares that the Alaafin of Oyo is a blessing to Oyo and its people. Excerpts
When were you installed the Bashorun of Oyo?
I became Bashorun of Oyo after my father had joined his forefathers. That was in 2008.
Were you picked among your father’s male children and installed?
(Laughing) I wished it was that simple and easy as you just painted it. Have you seen any high position being filled easily in Yorubaland or even elsewhere?
Naturally, such position attracts many interests; everyone who is qualified would want to try his luck to be installed. But in the end, only one person will get the seat.
Was that your experience?
That was my experience, which you can confirm from people who witnessed it.
How then did you lead other contestants to emerge?
I did not do anything special other than I was in the race with others.
How many of you showed interest?
We were about 35. Can you imagine the kind of contest I am talking about? We were 35 but 10 were later shortlisted. We were all asked to come to the palace. After interview, four of our were shortlisted. They later told us to go to a spot, speak with one another and pick one among us. When we assembled, the other three asked me to go and tell the Alaafin to pick anyone and we were going to support whomever. But I told them I could not perform that assignment. Then we all went and told the Alaafin. That was how I emerged. I am using this opportunity to thank him for selecting me as Bashorun. It is a great honour which I will cherish for the rest of life.
Did you ever think that you would succeed your father?
It never crossed my mind. I was in Lagos then. I did not see any reason to come to Oyo to take up such a big responsibility. But here I am today by the approval of the Alaafin. I am most grateful to him.
What does your role entails?
My role is the head of the Oyo Mesi. I am the next person to the Alaafin. And this proximity has afforded me opportunity to know and appreciate him as a unique being.
How do you mean?
I expected you to know that he is unique in everything. Some people may not be comfortable with us, saying that we are proud. We are not proud but upholding the standard of the tradition. Our relationship is like father and son.
Who is the father in this context?
Of course, he is the father while I am the son. He relates with me very well and educates me on those things I have no knowledge of. Oyo is happy to have him because he has raised the standard of the town to high level. His 50 years on the throne is what he deserves. God knows how useful he is to the town and people. That is why God deliberately spares his life to be the longest reigning Alaafin. He is a phenomenon.