Eminent Nigerians, including the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.); former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan; state governors and monarchs from different parts of the country, on Saturday, paid tribute to the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, who died on Friday at the Afe Babalola University, Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, after a brief illness.
Oba Adeyemi, 83, reigned for 52 years, making him the long-serving Alaafin.The monarch’s remains were brought back to the palace in Oyo on Saturday, where the corpse was kept while traditionalists started performing rites of passage.
Thousands of Oyo indigenes, who were shocked to hear the news of the demise of the revered monarch, thronged the palace to confirm it.
Armed policemen were deployed in the palace and Amotekun corps operatives were allowed inside the second inner part, where only a few people were given access to.
The building, where the body of the monarch was kept, was locked, while some palace guards were seen manning the entrance.
Scores of okada riders, who were not allowed to go inside the palace, stayed back at the front, while some were seen at the other side of the road.
Dozens of residents who were hanging around rushed inside when the gates leading to the inner courtyard were opened for one of the palace vehicles to drive in.
Sango adherents, dressed in red attire, were present in front of the building where the body of the late monarch was kept.
They left when Islamic clerics came to pray on the body, which was in a casket.
The Chief Imam of Oyo, Alhaji Moshood Ajokideru, led other Islamic clerics to pray on the remains of Oba Adeyemi.
The prayer session lasted only three minutes after which the casket was taken back inside the palace, awaiting the final burial, which the Basorun of Oyo, who is the Head of the Oyo Mesi, High Chief, Yusuf Ayoola, announced would take place around 9pm.
The monarch was buried in a vault, Bara, reserved for Alaafins, around 10pm.
Oba Adeyemi’s last moments
Basorun, while addressing journalists, said the monarch was admitted for malaria at the Afe Babalola University, Teaching Hospital.
He said, “He (Oba Adeyemi) loved Chief Afe Babalola so much and he always received treatment in his hospital in Ekiti. He was receiving treatment at the Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital Ado Ekiti, but on Thursday, we were told that he was very h fine and would be discharged soon.
“On Friday morning, he took watermelon and said he wanted to go back home. He directed his wives to prepare because they would be leaving the hospital soon.
“The wives went to meet the doctors secretly, asking that he should not be discharged yet, but should be allowed to rest till today (Saturday) and then leave the hospital. But unfortunately, the sickness relapsed and he gave up the ghost.”
Balogun stated that “the firstborn of Oba Lamidi has informed Governor Seyi Makinde but we need to back it up with documentation, which will be signed by the family and I.”
“We should pray to God to help us to appoint a new Alaafin for Oyo people. God will be with us,” he added.
Akesan Market shut
Shops at the popular Akesan Market in Oyo were shut on Saturday in honour of the late monarch.
Some traders and shop owners at the market, which is close to the Alaafin’s palace, were seen standing in clusters, discussing the passage of the octogenarian monarch.
We’ve lost encyclopaedia of culture – Oyo Council of Obas
The Vice-Chairman of the Oyo State Council of Obas, Oba Francis Alao, who is the Olugbon of Orile Igbon, described Oba Adeyemi’s death as a rude shock, saying it came at time the first-class monarch’s wealth of experience was needed the most.
Oba Alao, in his condolence message, said Oba Adeyemi would always be remembered for his contributions to the development of Oyo town, the state and Nigeria.
“Nigeria lost the most (authoritative) encyclopaedia of culture and tradition. Our amiable chairman of Oyo State Obas Council and Chiefs left us when he is most needed. A real gem is gone.”
Buhari, Makinde, Tinubu, others mourn
President Buhari condoled with the government and people of Oyo State over Oba Adeyemi’s passage, noting that his reign covered major historic transitions in the country.
Buhari’s condolence message was contained in a statement on Saturday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, titled, ‘President Buhari mourns Alafin of Oyo, Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III.’
“As a highly revered traditional ruler, President Buhari notes the late monarch’s numerous participations in national meetings and conferences to shape the future of the country, and the living words of wisdom he shared at every opportunity on unity and people-focused governance,” the statement said.
It’s a huge loss, says Makinde
The Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, described Oba Adeyemi’s death as a huge loss to the state and the Yoruba race.
The governor, in a condolence message circulated by his media aide, Taiwo Adisa, said, “Kabiyesi’s departure is a huge loss not only to Oyo State, to which he committed 52 years of his life as the Alaafin of Oyo Kingdom, but also to Nigeria and the entire Yoruba race.
“Oba Adeyemi was our last man standing in the rank of most eminent royal fathers with long years of leadership.
“Oba Adeyemi not only elevated the Alaafin throne with his knowledge and wisdom, he became a worthy exemplar for royal leadership in Africa and brought glory to Oyo State and Nigeria.
“Kabiyesi never spared anything in his strive to make Oyo State greater and to bring about the Nigeria of everyone’s collective dream.”
The great Iroko has fallen, says Tinubu
A former governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, likened Oba Adeyemi’s death to the fall of a “big Iroko” tree.
Tinubu stated, “Wisely ruling on the throne for 52 years, he became the longest-reigning Alaafin that ever ruled Oyo kingdom. With his transition, a big Iroko has fallen. His passing was an auspicious era in the ancient Oyo Kingdom, but also for the Yoruba and the entirety of the black race.
“Alaafin was also a strong pillar of the arts, culture and tradition. Kabiyesi took upon himself the task of promoting Nigerian arts and culture for which he received many ambassadorial awards in Nigeria and beyond.”
Jonathan, Atiku mourn
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, in a condolence letter to the Oyo State Governor, described Oba Adeyemi as “a great leader who recorded considerable achievements during his long and glorious reign and a skilled custodian of the tradition and culture of his people who had an eventful and epoch-making reign.”
Similarly, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, described Oba Adeyemi’s death as a great loss to Nigeria and Africa at large, saying he was deeply touched by the news.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Paul Ibe, on Saturday in Abuja, Atiku added that the late Alaafin “was a worthy ambassador of Yoruba culture and royal elegance.”
Governors eulogise late monarch
In the same vein, the Governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola, said, “He (Oba Adeyemi) will be long remembered for his impacts, achievements, outstanding legacies and remarkable service as a custodian of the rich Yoruba cultural heritage and traditions.”
Likewise, the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said, “We have lost a quintessential traditional ruler and custodian of the Yoruba culture. His contributions to the development and advancement of the country and Yoruba land in particular are unquantifiable.”
Also, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, said, “The Oba was a man who dedicated his life to the service of his people and country. The late Alaafin’s family and people of Oyo State are in our thoughts and prayers.”
The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, also said, “Brave and cheerful, Oba Adeyemi embodied the ideals of the Yoruba nation, promoting the rich culture and heritage of the Yoruba and providing wise counsel to those who sought guidance from the throne.”
A former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, described Oba Adeyemi as “a true son of Oduduwa who lived his entire life to extend the frontiers of Yoruba culture and interest within the Nigerian federation.”
Ooni, Oluwo, Deji of Akure, Olubadan, others grieve
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, described the passage of Oba Adeyemi a loss to the entire Oduduwa race worldwide.
Oba Ogunwusi, in statement by the Director of Media and Public Affairs, Ooni’s Palace, Otunba Moses Olafare, said, “We have lost a great icon, a great monarch who saw Oyo through civilisation and modern development without jettisoning the cultural sacredness of the throne first occupied by Alaafin Oranmiyan, The Great.”
Also, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrooshed Akanbi, described Alaafin’s death as the end of an era, adding that the vacuum created by the monarch’s passage would be hard, if not impossible, to fill.
On his part, the Deji of Akureland, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, said Oba Adeyemi’s death marked the end of a golden era.
“His wealth of experience and love for education coupled with unequalled quest for knowledge had made him so unique and stood out throughout his reign as the Alaafin,” Oba Aladelusi noted.
Similarly, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun, described Oba Adeyemi as “a highly scholarly, pragmatic and dynamic monarch with undiluted love for his race and people.”
“The Alaafin would be sorely missed by humanity for his contributions which would continue to speak for him eternally,’’ he said.
On his part, the Emir of Ilorin, Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, said, “The late Oba Adeyemi III used his long reign and old age to foster unity among the Yoruba race.”
Also, the monarch of Igbara-Oke in the Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Francis Agbede, said, “Alaafin of Oyo remains one of the most influential traditional leaders of all time, an epitome of an anointed leader, whom I cherished.”
Oba Adeyemi was a colossus – Afenifere
Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Jare Ajayi, said Oba Adeyemi was a personification of “royalty and nobility in every sense of the word.”
It said, “He was a colossus because he was at home in discussing virtually any subject – particularly those bordering on any aspect of Yoruba history, contemporary and ancient.
“Going by his candour, erudition, acumen, charisma and bravery, Oba Adeyemi III raised the bar of Obaship in Yorubaland, in Nigeria, nay in Africa, to a very high pedestal. His type is not easy to come by.”
Culled from PUNCH.