By Toba Adedeji, Osogbo; Yinka Adeniran; Segun Showunmi, Ibadan and Samuel Oamen
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi, joined his ancestors on Friday night only about two weeks after dreaming that his own late father told him that he was due for the final home call.
A female palace aide told reporters yesterday in Oyo that Oba Adeyemi personally told some of his aides about the dream.
The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, separately told of his last encounter with Oba Adeyemi only last week while the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, recalled how the deceased sought to reconcile some feuding Yoruba politicians in Ibadan recently.
But he regretted that the Alaafin could not fulfill his promise to “make his first visit to me” before death came calling.
A on of the late traditional ruler, Prince Akeem Adeyemi, said his father was able to reconcile with almost everybody he had differences with before his death.
The palace aide, who did not disclose her name, said: “Baba (Alaafin) told some of us about two weeks ago about a dream he had of his father telling him that his time was up and should come over to the other side.”
She added: “My father has gone to be with his forefathers. Atanda (Alaafin) has gone to dwell with his forefathers. He is not dead.”
An Oyo son, Adekunle Wakili, said in a separate interview at the palace yesterday that the late Alaafin, while responding to compliments by a prominent Islamic preacher, had said that every man must taste death.
The Islamic preacher had hailed the late Adeyemi in Yoruba as “omo Iku ti Iku o gbodo pa; omo arun ti arun ogbodo se”, meaning the son of Death who Death must not kill; the son of Sickness that Sickness must not touch.”
I visited him a week ago — Oluwo
The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, said he visited the late Alaafin in Oyo only a week ago after feeling drawn to him.
He said: “Alaafin was a worthy father. The rich and truthful pictures of Oba Adeyemi always endeared liberal minds to him.
“During the last moment, we had a long talk about traditions. We had jolly talks as usual at our last meeting.
“I told him that I had things in common with him and he was the pillar God used in keeping the traditional institution.
“I enjoyed many things about the Alaafin, and I told him that he represented true traditional institution, always telling the truth and standing by it.
“I said that he was mentally rich and that caused our relationship to be strong. I prayed for him.
“Oba Adeyemi’s vacuum is most likely irreplaceable. His death is no doubt the end of an era. He was a force and a true, responsible father to the Yoruba nation.
“Even at death, I will continue to adore him by promoting his achievements.”
Alaafin’s unfulfilled promise to me — Ooni
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, said the Alaafin, toward the end of his earthly sojourn, met behind closed doors with some feuding top Yoruba politicians in Ibadan with a view to settling their differences.
he said that unfortunately, death prevented the Alaafin from fulfilling his promise to pay a visit to the Ooni Palace.
Oba Ogunwusi, in a statement through his Director of Media & Public Affairs, Otunba Moses Olafare, described the deceased as “a great icon, a great monarch who saw Oyo through civilization and modern development without jettisoning the cultural sacredness of the throne first occupied by Alaafin Oranmiyan The Great.
“Ile Oodua Palace and the Ooni had a great working relationship with the late Alaafin who gave his best in resolving major conflicts in Yoruba land and uniting all sons and daughters of Oduduwa globally among other landmark achievements.
“The late Alaafin is one of the privileged elders who contributed to the growth of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and also saw the country through military and democratic eras with unquantifiable positive inputs.”
He appealed to the Yoruba to pray for the deceased’s family and Oyo indigenes at this trying time, adding: “May the Almighty Olodumare (God) also be with the Oyomesi at this critical time that may challenge the culture and traditions of their ancestors in the process of burial rites and the process of selecting the next Alaafin.
The position of Alaafin is too culturally important to be handled in a way that undermines our collective traditions and culture. Olodumare shall solidly stand with the OYOMESI and the entire Oyo kingdom.”
He reconciled with those he had differences with –Son on his last ddedemi
House of Representatives member and son of the late Alaafin, Prince Akeem Adeyemi, said his father reconciled with almost everybody he had differences with before his dedemis
He said: “It is a pity we lost a man who has given Oyo its true name; a man who has truly represented Yoruba culture; a symbol of Yoruba tradition.
“A man of epitome of knowledge and wisdom is gone. What can we do? We can’t query the Almighty God.
“We love him and we are celebrating a life well spent. The legacy he left behind is for us to always defend Yoruba and always say the truth, no matter whose ox is gored.”
Oba Adeyemi passed on at the Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti on Friday night aged 83.
Had he lived, he would have celebrated his 52nd year on the throne on November 18.
He was said to have fallen ill and had even slightly recovered before he was taken to the Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital for a short rest.
Arrangement had also been concluded for him to be flown abroad for further medical attention but all that was aborted by his death.
He was due to be given traditional burial at Baara, the Oyo royal cemetery, last night.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted a source as describing Baara as not just the final resting place of all the Alaafins, but ”also a place where the Alaafin goes whenever there is need to commune with his ancestors to seek guidance or direction.”
Earlier yesterday, the Chief Imam of Oyoland, Sheikh Moshood Ajokidero, had led other Muslims during the Janazat prayer for him.
As soon as the Janazah prayer was completed, Sango worshippers took over the corpse for the traditional aspect of the burial.
Mourners were ordered out of the hall where the body of the late monarch was laid and the Sango devotees formed a circle round it, chanting dirges and eulogies of the deity.
Sango was an Alaafin himself.
A curfew was imposed on the town from 7pm yesterday to enable the traditionalists perform their functions
The departure of Oba Adeyemi brings to three the numbers of First Class monarchs who have joined their ancestors in the last five month in Oyo State.
The Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi, died on December 12, 2021 while Olubadan Saliu Adetunji died on January 2, 2022.
Socio-economic activities across Oyo town were paralysed yesterday as news of the Oba’s demise spread.
Thousands of residents trooped to the palace to pay him their last respects.
Shops and businesses around Alaafin’s palace were shut down while people gathered in their hundreds to mourn the late monarch.
Some areas close to the palace like Aremo, Ile Asumo, Atigisi, Asipa, Obalolu, and Lagondoko, to mention a few, were deserted.
Oba Lamidi Adeyemi was born on October 15, 1938. He came from the Alowolodu Royal House and was a member of the House of Oranmiyan.
His father, Raji Adeniran Adeyemi, became the Alaafin in 1945 but was deposed and exiled in 1954, 10 years after, for sympathising with the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC).
Lamidi Adeyemi was chosen by the kingmakers on November 18, 1970, and then moved into the palace after completing the necessary rites under the tutelage of the Oyomesi.
Oba Adeyemi succeeded Alaafin Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II in 1970.