At the stroke of the midnight hour of October 15, 2020, when the world sleeps, Nigerians, especially the Yorubas in all walks of life, will awake to the realization of 82nd Birthday Anniversary Celebration of Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Atanda Adeyemi III JP, CFR, LLD, one of the very few legends and iconic monarchs the African continent and indeed, the global world has ever produced. What a glorious, incredible, purposeful and highly resourceful life this unique and amazing creature of God has had thus far!
For the remaining part of his life, I’m of the strong view that His Imperial Majesty absolutely has nothing to prove again. Alaafin Adeyemi already has his place properly secured in the annals of Nigerian and global histories.
At 82, Iku Baba Yeye might have fulfilled everything nature has programmed for him. In his major assignment on the surface of the earth as the monarch of one of the most respected kingdoms in Nigeria and within the African continent, Alaafin has proved his mettle beyond any reasonable doubts.
He totally embodies Yoruba cultures, traditions, norms, values, and everything associated with the Yoruba race. Even though Iku Baba Yeye, indeed, has an Islamic background, His Imperial Majesty is very vast in Biblical scriptures. And one needs to conduct visitation to Oyo Palace during the Sango Festival to witness the honour, respect and loyalty the monarch accords Sango deity and even to Obatala.
His Imperial Majesty is of the strong view that, all religions are important and that, he’s the father of all faiths. Iku Baba Yeye is also a non-compromiser when it comes to fighting for his race. The world would vividly recall that, he remained resolute and relentless, in collaboration with his bosom friend, Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, in fighting the battles of Lt. Gen Oladipo Diya and Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief MKO Abiola during their incarcerations and respective battles to escape the jaws of death to which the Federal Military Government confined them.
Regardless of whose ox is gored, Alaafin has always been a defender of truth, justice, and equity. Nigerians would also recollect how Alaafin walked out of Confab organized by the Abacha government, on account of perceived mischief in sitting arrangement that confined him and the likes of Awujale of Ijebuland to the third row, while the Emirs of Kano & Gwandu were officially seated on the first row, alleging that the organizers were deliberately desecrating, disrespecting & demeaning Yoruba traditional institutions and of course, the entire race. Lt Gen Abacha sensed danger and swiftly intervened by effecting necessary changes in the sitting arrangement.
That’s the stuff Iku Baba Yeye is made of! He speaks the truth when & where it’s most dangerous to do so. He offers to lead even when the throne is in danger. He threads where others fidget. He spearheads battles without minding losing the privileges and perquisites of the royal office. His type comes once in a century and even at 82, he hasn’t changed a bit.
And in one of his most daring moves with the Federal Government in his bid to ensuring maximum respect, dignity, and justice for the race and Alaafin stool, His Imperial Majesty in 1978 during the briefing by the government with the traditional rulers across the country on the matter of Land Use Decree, he openly challenged the FG on while they kept the then Sultan of Sokoto, Sir Abubakar on the podium, while other Obas were placed on the floor, citing 1921 Clifford Legislative Assembly pronouncements to substantiate his claims.
On the basis of His Imperial Majesty submissions, he was promptly moved to the podium to co-chairman with Sultan and even, with an apology from the FG. Then the most dangerous of his desire to ensure equity and fairness for the race came when in 1975, after the coup that ousted General Gowon, traditional rulers were invited to Lagos for a briefing on the what necessitated the coup, and Generals Murtala& Obasanjo led Sultan to another room for briefing while other monarchs were left outside sitting down for hours.
It was the spontaneous protest of Alaafin as what His Imperial Majesty referred to as ‘briefing before briefing’ that forced the two generals to explain to other monarchs that, the meeting with the Sultan was imperative, as he couldn’t speak or communicate in English, and they needed to brief him in the Hausa Language before the general briefing. Alaafin also spearheaded the fight against prominent southern traditional rulers, waiting in the sun at the gates of their palaces for visiting Heads of States, while their counterparts in the north received them in the comfort of their palaces
And never would it be forgotten in the annals of the history of Ibadan & Ogbomoso lands the heroic role of Iku Baba Yeye in ensuring that the two Obas started wearing a beaded crown. Alaafin on Tuesday 7th December 1976 on the floor of the chambers of Oyo state Council of Obas& Chiefs personally moved the motion that changed the equation forever for the two Obas. Other traditional rulers, who at different times enjoyed similar privileges from His Imperial Majesty were Timi of Ede, Akirun of Ikirun, Aree of Iree, Aseyin of Iseyin, Onjo of Okeho, Olunisa of Inisaamd many others.
His, is a life of total commitment to fighting for truth, equity and justice, regardless of class, race, religion, ethnic, or even, sex. Alaafin Adeyemi life has been most inspiring and distinguishing.
Between June-July, 1999, Iku Baba Yeye was in Dallas Chamber of Commerce in U.S. to deliver a lecture and thereafter, addressed the African/American museum under Curator Romania Huston and other scholars.
Completely overwhelmed and held spellbound by the highly researched & intellectual contents associated with the presentation, as well as unusual oratory powers from an African monarch, a continent America and other Western countries have the utmost contempt for, they were all moved, so much that they collaborated to organize an unprecedented lavish dinner party for His Imperial Majesty and during the dinner event, they enquired what Iku Baba Yeye wanted as a gift.
Instead of the monarch making demands for personal needs or even that of palace typical of an African leader, Alaafin specifically requested for the assistance in the area of health for the generality of Nigerians, a request they gladly granted with an offer to His Majesty of medical equipment worth $5million, a humongous of money then.
Iku Baba Yeye played his part sufficiently well and also moved tirelessly to ensure that the equipment was brought into the country, but government bureaucratic bottlenecks & officialdom of only $10,000needed to ship the equipment home, stood like the rock of Gibraltar against the shipment. Also, Nigerians would recollect the exploits of His Majesty in faraway London in 2008 where he made a guest appearance at the 9th Gathering of African Best GAB, at the International Hotel Canary Wharf London, on Sunday night 21st October 2008 where His Majesty completely dominated the platform, as well as attracted the applause & ovation of business and academic leaders present, with his captivating and highly informative presentation that left the audience completely wondering, if the monarch is indeed an Oba or a visiting Professor of African history.
I have painstakingly highlighted the above exploits of His Majesty in the foreign lands to present a picture of a legendary monarch with diverse representational faces for Yoruba race and even Nigeria; a country super Ambassador, Educational & Cultural Envoy, as well as a monarch. This Alaafin is indeed sufficiently vast in all fields-politics, philosophy, literature, economy, science, entertainment & sports. He’s at home to anything you throw at him. He does not shirk away from responsibility. He’s always battle-ready. His walking steps are always royal & majestic. His carriage is always impressively elegant & commanding. He roars like lion.
It’s instructive & historic to note that, Alaafin Adeyemi has survived four (4) military Administrators and eight (8)civilian governors and I would name in chronological for the purpose of emphasis: Major General Adeyinka Adebayo, Brigadier David Jemibewon, Colonel OladayoPopoola and Colonel AbdulkareemAdisa. The civilian governors are Chief Bola Ige, Dr Victor Olunloyo, Chief KolapoIshola, Alhaji Lam Adesina, Senator Rasheed Ladoja, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and the incumbent governor, Mr Seyi Makinde. Nigerians must credit this Iconic monarch for his tactfulness, discipline, high-level maturity, wisdom, strategy, courage and more importantly, his unique moral standing deployed at different times to survive all the Chief Executive Officers, who obviously were from different ethnic backgrounds, different religious persuasions and different cultures & beliefs.
At 82, Alaafin Adeyemi has come, saw & conquered. As I opined earlier, he might have completely achieved everything destiny has in stock for him. But, the impact of some of the beneficiaries of chieftaincy titles in Oyo kingdom has not been particularly felt. Not a single one of them have I seen with a dominant presence in the manufacturing & educational sector in Oyo kingdom, unlike what’s obtained in Ijebu land, Egba land and even, Ijesa where titleholders have an intimidating presence in all fields in those cities.
I’ve observed that Oyos also have not with the fast pace of His Majesty in all areas of human endeavours. Well, it’s food for thoughts for all of us! Moving forward, it’s incumbent on all of us to collaborate with the respected and highly mobile monarch to develop the kingdom, particularly in the area of business and manufacturing initiatives.
To Iku Baba Yeye, my father, congratulations on the momentous occasion of your majesty’s 82nd Birthday Anniversary Celebration. May you continue to reign in peace, grace and splendour for more years. May Your Majesty continue to shine like a matador.
Many happy returns Your Imperial Majesty.
Lagos Based Financial Consultant.