Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde today declared that the late Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi enjoyed God’s kindness to have successfully reigned for more than half a century from November 18, 1970 to April 22, 2022.
In his address at the final burial ceremony for Oba Adeyemi in Oyo, Makinde said it was not bread and butter for any traditional ruler to be on throne for that number of years. In the light of that, the governor said the Alaafin deserved celebration rather than mourning.
He revealed that processes that would lead to Oba Adeyemi’s successor would be strictly based on the signed Alaafin of Oyo Chieftaincy Declaration.
A statement by Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted Makinde as saying that the state had lost an irreplaceable king and an encyclopaedia of Yoruba history and culture.
“Today is a day of celebration for us as we are celebrating a life that was well-lived and impactful,” he said.
The governor used the occasion to make clarification on an alleged cat-and-mouse relationship between him and the Alaafin.
He said, “Some people may feel we were not in good terms before his departure, but that was not true. In 2015 when I was campaigning to be the governor of Oyo State, he was one of the few people that told me the truth.
“There was a particular night I came to meet him and he told me it won’t be possible for me to win that election because I didn’t have structure and trustworthy persons in each zone in the state.
“Truly, when election came, I lost but it is on record that Kabiyesi was one of those who told me truth. And when I became the governor, I came to meet Baba for some pieces of advice and he explained some certain things to me. I marvelled at how he got to know all those stories.
“So, Baba was an Encyclopaedia of our history and culture. I can only say that we have lost a king that is irreplaceable but we have to accept the fact that we cannot question God.
In her welcome address, Secretary to State Government, Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun, stated that the Alaafin was known for consistently blessing governments with quality advice on all issues.
According to her, the event was rightly dubbed a celebration of life in view of the eventful life led by the departed monarch.
She said: “It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to this unique event, which was put together to celebrate the illustrious life of our departed monarch, a quintessential personality, the Alayeluwa, Oba (Dr.) Lamidi Olayiwola Atanda Adeyemi III, the Iku Baba Yeye, who joined his ancestors on April 23, 2022.
“The state government has tagged this event a celebration of life and that is quite apt because we cannot all gather here in good conscience to mourn a royal father, who lived his life to the fullest and attained immortality by planting his memories firmly in our minds.
“Looking at the trajectory of this unique Oba, one would easily conclude that Oba Adeyemi was born to be a king. He had the vision to be the Alaafin from a young age and prepared himself for that great assignment.
“As we can all see, nature did the rest for him, and he was chosen as the Alaafin on November 18, 1970. While he had the weight of the Alaafin stool thrusted on his shoulders at a young age, he carried on with incredible poise and gait, stealing the shows in many of the public events he attended. It did not come as a surprise that he, in no time emerged the repository of Yoruba traditional history.”
She said that Alaafin Adeyemi III was an avid reader who was always in ultimate search of knowledge, adding that the late Alaafin was also a king who never lost sight of the sense of history that birthed the stool he sat upon.
Adeosun further said: “His actions always depicted him as one who was ruling not just Oyo town, but Oyo Empire as exemplified by his ancestors, whose realm of authority as administrators of the famous Oyo Empire extended beyond what is currently known as the Nigerian nation.
“He carried himself as one monarch who was responsible for the welfare and wellbeing of the Yoruba people anywhere, they may be found, and the Yoruba nation.
“In that wise, Alaafin Adeyemi III never shied away from making public comments on issues he believed could discomfort his people at any point in time.
“He was a monarch who consistently blessed the governments with quality advice on all issues. This flows from his richly endowed wealth of experience. In one breath, one can say that Oba Adeyemi spoke truth to power without reservations and he was passionate about growth and development of Yoruba people.
“He was always turning up with invaluable contributions on every aspect of our administration’s Four Point Service agenda, which encapsulates Health, Security, Education, and improved economy using the agribusiness value chain and Infrastructure development, through which the administration is lifting Oyo State from poverty to prosperity.
“We will continue to celebrate your unforgettable contributions to the development of our people as we pray that the Almighty God receives your soul to eternal rest.”
The heir apparent of the Alaafin, Aremo Babatunde Adeyemi struggled with emotions during his speech in which he reflected on the life and times of his father.
The Alaafin’s confidant, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu (retd) also praised the late Oba Adeyemi for his transformational reign.
Two Professors of History, Akin Alao and Siyan Oyeweso also made generous remarks on the Alaafin with whom both scholars had a productive relationship.
The event also had in attendance the Deputy-Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Rauf Aderemi Olaniyan, Osun State Deputy-Governor, Mr. Benedict Alabi, Osun State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, former Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the Olugbon of Orile Igbon, Oba Francis Olusola Alao, the Timi of Ede, Oba Muniru Adesola Lawal, the Eburu of Iba, Oba Adekunle Adeogun Okunoye, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba AbdulRasheed Akanbi and other prominent royal fathers from Oyo State. The Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba, Iba Gani Adams was also present.
Other attendees included Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Debo Ogundoyin, former Oyo State Speaker, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu.