An avalanche of condolences and accolades were recorded on Saturday in the wake of the passing away of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III.
News of the top Yoruba traditional ruler’s demise broke on Saturday morning hours after he died at the Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital in Ado Ekiti.
He was 83 years old.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement, said the Alaafin’s reign had “covered major historic transitions in the country, and witnessed transformations in his domain.”
READ ALSO: Alaafin Of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi Laid To Rest
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the late Alaafin was a symbol of Nigeria’s epic struggle for self-discovery and self-actualisation.
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, described the royal father as “our last man standing in the rank of most eminent royal fathers with long years of leadership” and “a golden king”.
Emphasis on education
In a statement signed by his spokesperson Femi Adesina, President Buhari said the Alaafin’s reign was significant in many ways.
“Most significant was the emphasis he placed on human development, thereby encouraging learning as a culture and formal education as a necessity while promoting values of peace and stability,” the statement said.
“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 President shares the grief with the Oyo State Traditional Council, Oba Lamidi’s family, friends, and associates, particularly in sports where he left another footprint.
“President Buhari prays that the Almighty God will receive his soul.”
‘A great loss’
Governor Makinde spoke via a statement signed by his spokesperson, Taiwo Adisa.
“I have been informed about the death of our father, His Imperial Majesty, Iku Baba Yeye, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III,” the Governor said.
“I express heartfelt condolences to the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs, which Oba Adeyemi chaired for decades, the Oyomesi and the entire people of Oyo Kingdom.
“I equally commiserate with the Oloris, children and entire Adeyemi family on the demise of their patriarch and worthy father.
“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.
“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, 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.
“Personally, Kabiyesi’s death is a great loss to me, because he proved to be a worthy father and had been ever so supportive of our government.
“His words of advice and guidance were always golden and helpful.
“It is my prayer that God accepts Kabiyesi’s soul into Aljanah Firdaus and uphold everyone and everything he left behind.
“Good night, Iku Baba Yeye!”
‘Like a dream’
In a condolence letter to Governor Makinde, former President Obasanjo described the highly revered monarch as patriotic and one who had immeasurable love for his people and great faith in a united Nigeria.
“He 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,” Obasanjo said.
“It is well acknowledged that it was during his reign that Oyo Town got transformed to the modern city that it has become today and not surprisingly, 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 some Nigerian and outside educational institutions.
“Like most great leaders, Alaafin was all things to all people. To his family, he was a tower of strength and a committed provider; to his community of Oyo land, he was an early model in national leadership; to his Yoruba kinsmen, he was a worthy Ambassador; and to the rest of Nigeria, he was a symbol of a nation’s epic struggle in self-discovery and self-actualisation.
“Although Oba Adeyemi’s passage is like a dream, especially as he left us at a crucial state in our nation’s history when his wise counsel and rich experience are greatly needed, I would urge you and all the members of his immediate and extended family to take solace in the worthy legacy and his mark on the history of this country he left behind. In fact, we ought to give gratitude to God for his worthy life.
“May God grant his family, the good people of Oyo land and the entire Oyo State the grace to bear the heavy loss of his death. May the soul of the dear departed rest in perfect peace.”
‘Man of peace’
The Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila said the Alaafin’s touched him personally.
In a statement signed by his spokesperson, Lanre Lasisi, the Speaker said the news “came to him as a rude shock, describing the late Alaafin, who had been like a father to him, as a very intelligent father with a sound grasp of traditional, social, political and international history.
“According to him, Oba Adeyemi was a man of peace whose five decades of quality leadership to his people endeared him to the masses.
“Speaker Gbajabiamila, who was recently appointed the Aare Baasofin of Yoruba Land by the late Alaafin, said the death of the traditional ruler has created a void too difficult to fill.
“He said the Alaafin would be sorely missed by him and all Nigerians, especially the Yoruba people, as he served as a father figure to all, giving wise counsel when needed. He has supported the political career of many Nigerian leaders especially in the quest of Gbajabiamila’s journey to the Speakership of the country.
“While praying for Allah (SWT) to find a peaceful resting place for the Alaafin, Gbajabiamila sent his condolences to the people and Government of Oyo State, especially the Royal Family and the entire Yoruba race.”
‘A trying moment’
A coalition of North-Central Governors have also paid tributes to the late Alaafin.
Leader of the coalition, Governor Abubabar Bello of Niger State, described the death as sorrowful considering his immense contributions to not only the Yoruba land, but the nation in general.
He observed that the late monarch, who ruled for 52 years, left a vacuum which will take God to fill up.
The NCGF Chairman however said death is an end to all mortals and a transition to the life hereafter, urging the government of Oyo and the entire people of Yoruba land to see the death of the monarch as an act of God and be comforted by the fact that he lived an accomplished and exemplary life.
“I see this as sorrowful and a trying moment for the people of Oyo State in particular and Yoruba race at large,” the Governor said. They lost two traditional rulers not really up to five months and now a top monarch.
“However, we cannot question God but to rather accept it as a necessary end to all the living. The only thing we can do now is to continue to pray for the repose of the soul of the deceased and for God to comfort and preserve all that he left behind.
“I sincerely sympathize with my colleague, Seyi Makinde and the entire people of the state and my prayers are with them.”
Respected royal father
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, described the late Oyo monarch as a brave and courageous king who did everything possible to preserve the culture and tradition of his people.
In a statement signed by his spokesperson, Nathaniel Ikyur, he noted that Oba Adeyemi’s reign witnessed peace and unity of the kingdom, which created the enabling environment for growth and development, not just in Oyo State but also in Nigeria.
Ortom lamented that the late monarch departed at a time when his wisdom and wealth of experience was needed to navigate through the the murky waters of politics and the national insecurity threatening the corporate exitence of our dear country, Nigeria.
“Oba Adeyemi was a respected royal father who was conscious about the peace and unity of his kingdom and the nation. We shall miss his tutelage and wise counsel”, the governor said.
He however admonished the people of Oyo state to take solace in the fact that the late monarch lived an eventful and accomplished life worthy of emulation.
The Governor asked the governor of the state to immortalize the Oba in recognition of his sacrifices and contributions to the development of the society.
Dedicated to service
On his part, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike said it was with a deep sense of shock and sadness that he learnt of the passing of His Royal Majesty, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III.
“I wish to convey, on behalf of the Government and the people of Rivers State, my heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to the Royal family, Government and people of Oyo State on this sad loss,” Wike said in a statement signed by his spokesperson Kelvin Ebiri.
He said late Oba Lamidi Adeyemi will always be remembered for the invaluable role he played in helping build bridges and encouraging peace in the country.
“May his family, Government and good people of Oyo State find comfort and renewed strength to bear this great loss. 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,” he said.
‘A big iroko’
APC Chieftain Bola Ahmed Tinubu said he was deeply saddened by the news.
“After ascending to the royal throne at the age of 31, Alaafin became one of the most influential, greatly respected traditional rulers in Yorubaland, Nigeria and indeed Africa and beyond,” Tinubu said in a statement.
“Alaafin fostered harmony and brought prosperity and development to the ancient Oyo Kingdom. He was loved by his people.
“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.
“An elder-statesman and patriot, Alaafin Adeyemi was bold and courageous. He spoke truth to power. His interventions in national affairs helped the nation navigate difficult moments and helped usher a more just society.
“He played vital roles in the struggle for democracy, working assiduously towards the establishment of our democracy.
“In recognition of his important contributions to peace, religious harmony and stability in Nigeria, the nation gifted him the high honour of Commander of the Federal Republic.
“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.
“I had an abiding personal relationship with Alaafin whom I deeply respected. Mentor, leader and father figure, I visited Kabiyesi in February his palace in Oyo to seek his prayers and blessings which he graciously gave, little did I know it was the last time we would see each other face to face.
“I commiserate with his wonderful and loving family, particularly his wives and children. I commiserate with the Oyomesi, the chiefs and the people of Oyo kingdom. My condolences also to Governor Seyi Makinde and the people of Oyo State, and indeed the entire nation over the demise of this eminent traditional ruler. The black race has lost a titan who will be sorely missed.
“I pray that his family, Oyo Kingdom, the Yoruba race and indeed all Nigerians find consolation and strength in that we must now dedicate ourselves to live up to the ideals for which Alaafin stood.
“May the soul of Alaafin Adeyemi rest in perfect peace.”
Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun described the monarch’s death as a tragic and occurred when least expected.
“I commiserate with the Oyomesi, the wives and children of the late monarch and the entire Adeyemi family over this irreplaceable loss. I pray for their comfort and peace at the trying times,” the Governor said in a statement by his spokesperson, Kunle Somorin.
“It is unfortunate that Kabiyesi had to take his leave of us, at this period, when we need his wisdom the most, as we approach the 2023 general elections, a critical period in our political landmarks.”
Governor Abiodun noted that Alaafin’s death will create a huge vacuum in the entire Yorubaland, while his sagacious and royal counsel will be sorely missed
He further described the late monarch as a quintessential traditional ruler, custodian and exemplar of Yoruba culture and tradition, said that posterity and history will remember Oba Adeyemi’s service and dedication to the Yorubaland, and immense contributions to ensure peace and unity in the country.