The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, has been buried in the ancient town of Oyo in south-west Nigeria.
His remains were laid to rest on Saturday within the premises of the palace, barely a day after he was certified dead in a hospital in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
Alaafin, popularly known as ‘Iku Baba Yeye, was 83 years as of the time his death was announced.
Following the announcement of his demise, Islamic rites were conducted on the body of late Alaafin, signalling the beginning of his final journey home.
Islamic clerics led by the Chief Imam of Oyo town were joined by members of the family of the late traditional ruler and some of his chiefs to offer prayers for the repose of his soul.
After the prayers, his body was taken back to the palace where the final burial was held.
An Oyo prince and a close relative of the Alaafin, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu, confirmed the burial of the monarch to Channels Television.
The news of the death of the top Yoruba traditional ruler broke on Saturday morning hours after he died at the Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital in Ado Ekiti.
Alaafin Adeyemi, who served as the permanent chairperson of the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs, was reportedly sick and was scheduled to be flown abroad for treatment before he joined his ancestors on Friday.
He was the third to ascend the throne from the Alowolodu Ruling House and ruled for 52 years – making him the longest-reigning traditional ruler in Oyo town.
Alaafin was born Lamidi Olayiwola Atanda Adeyemi on October 15, 1938, and succeeded Oba Gbadegesin Ladigbolu I, as the new Alaafin on November 18, 1970.
Following his demise, the Bashorun of Oyo and Head of the ‘Oyo Mesi’, Yusuf Akinade, is expected to lead Oyo town before a new Alaafin would be installed.
The monarch died months after the death of two other top traditional rulers in the state – the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, and the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi.
While Oba Olalekan Balogun has been crowned as the 42nd Olubadan of Ibadan land, the people of Ogbomoso have yet to get a new traditional ruler.
A Golden King
Reacting to the death of the traditional ruler, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State declared that the incident was a huge loss to the state, Nigeria, and the Yoruba race.
He described Oba Adeyemi’s death as a personal loss to him, adding that he was an ever-supportive royal father and a worthy leader who spared nothing in trying to make Oyo State and Nigeria greater.
The governor, who said Alaafin’s words of advice and guidance were always golden and helpful, condoled with the Oyo State Traditional Council, the Oyomesi, Oba Adeyemi’s immediate family, the people of Oyo Kingdom, and the entire Yoruba race and prayed to God to grant repose to the soul of the departed monarch.
He stated that apart from Oyo State losing its last man standing in the rank of experienced monarchs with long years of royal leadership, it has also lost a royal institution and an authority, which Alaafin had become by virtue of his high-octane understanding of Yoruba history, politics, and national development.
“Oba Adeyemi was our last man standing in the rank of most eminent royal fathers with long years of leadership,” the governor said. “He became a golden king, an institution and an authority rolled into one by virtue of his immense experience, wisdom and understanding of Yoruba history, royalty, and politics.
“Oba Adeyemi not only elevated the Alaafin throne with his knowledge and wisdom, but he also 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.”
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is also among prominent leaders who have paid tribute to the late Alaafin whom he said was a symbol of Nigeria’s epic struggle for self-discovery and self-actualisation.
Obasanjo, in a letter, condoled with Governor Makinde, the family of Oba Adeyemi, and the entire people of Oyo on the transition.
He stated that the late highly revered monarch was a patriotic and respected traditional ruler who had immeasurable love for his people and great faith in a united Nigeria.
“He (Alaafin) stood out as a voice of forthrightness in national affairs, and he was as well a fervent promoter of mutual tolerance and understanding, not only among the diverse people who live in his domain but also across the country,” the elder statesman was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi.
According to him, it was during Oba Adeyemi’s reign that Oyo town got transformed into the modern city that it has become and his contribution to nation-building was also acknowledged in the conferment of the esteemed national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR, on him and other honorary degrees that he received from Nigerian and outside educational institutions.