It was Chief Samuel Akindele, a leader of the All Progressives Congress in Oyo State, who recently described the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi, as “a real royal democrat”. He was responding to Iku Baba Yeye’s gesture of donating 20 motorcycles already fixed with public address system to the APC in his Oyo domain. Giving the party the motorcycles at a colourful ceremony in his palace, attended by hundreds of APC members and residents, Oba Adeyemi said any politician interested in evolving an orderly and free polity must embrace the right of dissent. He said there are two pillars on which a modern nation-state is built-authority and freedom-. The motorcycles, he said, would allow the party to reach out to the rural areas for mobilisation. But many would think the Alaafin is more of a smart royal politician than a real royal democrat. His son Akeem, is contesting for a seat in the House of Representatives on APC platform, his daughter is contesting for a seat in the state House of Assembly on PDP platform. Will Chief Akindele describe the traditional ruler that way if Alaafin were to donate the motorcycles to the Peoples Democratic Party?
Truth is Oba Adeyemi has over the years played his political game smartly. If in doubt recall his open support for the emergence of the Peoples Democratic Party government of Senator Rashidi Ladoja in the state in 2003, his open and advertised role in Ladoja’s impeachment in 2005 when they fell out and his support for Governor Abiola Ajimobi in 2011 after the former PDP governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala engaged in an ill-fated disagreement with the monarch. Don’t forget Alaafin’s support for President Jonathan in the 2011 election and in this month’s poll. Truth is the traditional ruler smartly plays his politics. Any politician in the state desirous of a top office can only ignore the monarch at his own peril. The beauty of it all is the way and manner he smartly plays his game without rankling his people.