“Traditional rulers should be seen as the perfect embodiment of the culture of the place, as well as the synthesis of the aspirations and goals of the nation. This is not only in social values of veracity, egalitarianism, justice and democracy; but in dress, utterances and comportment; even the mere necessary trivialities that mark Nigeria and the locality as a distinctive entity” – Alaafin Lamidi Adeyemi (Sept. 1984)
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Adeyemi Atanda Lamidi, better known as Iku Baba Yeye, has joined his ancestors at the age of 83.
He breathed his last at the Afe Babalola Hospital, where his friend of nearly 50 years, Chief Afe Babalola, SAN was attending to him through his well qualified doctors.
According to sources, Alaafin had been ill for a while before he became very weak about a forth night ago.
He was then moved to the multi-system Hospital located within Afe Babalola University in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State.
His condition reportedly worsened on Friday night and he passed on.
As a first class Yoruba oba, and one of the frontline custodians of the Yoruba tradition, and culture his burial rites began immediately with his first son, Prince ‘Tunde, and other children receiving the monarch’s remains at Idi-Igba, Oyo town early Saturday morning, and proceeded to the palace where other rites, most of which were done behind closed doors, commenced.
Palace sources confirmed that the traditional rites were concluded before the revered monarch’s remains were taken through Islamic rites of passge.
Alaafin, who was a reputed boxer during his youthful days, was then committed to mother earth at a spot allocated to him, where Alaafins, who had gone to be with their ancestors, were laid to rest.
Iku Baba Yeye held sway for 52 fruitful years, and made history as the longest-reigning Alaafin.
The late Alaafin of Oyo was from the Adeyemi branch of the Alowolodu family. He was born on October 15, 1938.
During his late childhood stage, he lived briefly at Iseyin.
Adeyemi III was the son of Oba Adeyemi II, the former Alaafin of Oyo who was deposed and sent into exile in 1954 for having sympathy for the National Council of Nigerian Citizens ( NCNC), a pre-colonial era party formed by Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and other activists.
He succeeded Alaafin Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II in 1970 and was crowned on January 14, 1971.
By tradition, the head of the Oyomesi, Basorun of Oyo, High Chief Yusuf Ayoola, would take over pending the selection of a new Alaafin.
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF OBA LAMIDI ADEYEMI
Alaafin Adeyemi III was born Lamidi Olayiwola Atanda Adeyemi on October 15, 1938 into the Alowolodu Royal House, and as a member of the House of Oranmiyan to Raji Adeniran Adeyemi (born 1871), who later became Alaafin in 1945, and Ibironke of Epo-Gingin, who died when he was young. His father is said to have had over 200 wives. His paternal grandfather was Alaafin Adeyemi I Alowolodu, who ruled during the Kiriji War, and was the last independent ruler of the Oyo Empire before British colonialism.
Alaafin Adeyemi’s father, and Adeyemi III’s great-grandfather was Oba Atiba Atobatele, who founded New Oyo. Atiba’s father, his great-great grandfather, was Alaafin Abiodun, and is a direct descendant of Oranmiyan, the founder of the Oyo Empire.
Lamidi’s father, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Adeyemi II Adeniran, was deposed and exiled in 1954 for sympathizing with the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC). He had come into conflict with Bode Thomas, deputy leader of the Action Group.
According to oral tradition, Bode Thomas shouted at him for not standing to greet him as the chairman of NCNC during a political gathering at a party. Oba Adeyemi II Adeniran who felt insulted, stood and asked Chief Bode Thomas Thomas why he was barking and then swore that Thomas would soon get home and bark like a dog.
The tale bearers say that Bode Thomaa on getting home began to bark like a dog, he started coughing blood and died while walking back home leaving his entourage. Shortly, Herbert Macaulay heard of the catastrophe, and along with Chief Obafemi Awolowo accused Oba Adeyemi II of poisoning Thomas, and then exiled him from his kingdom.
He lived out the rest of his days in Lagos where his subjects still visited him until his death in the early 1960s.
Lamidi Adeyemi succeeded Alaafin Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II in 1970, during the governorship of Colonel Robert Adeyinka Adebayo, after the end of the Nigerian Civil War.
In 1975, the head of state, General Murtala Ramat Muhammed included Oba Adeyemi in his entourage to the hajj. He was chancellor of Uthman dan Fodiyo University in Sokoto from 1980 to 1992. In 1990, President Ibrahim Babangida appointed him Amir-ul-Hajj in recognition of his commitment to the consolidation of Islam in Nigeria.
He was married to Ayaba Abibat Adeyemi, his senior wife with whom he attended most events, or with one of the twelve junior wives that he is also married to.
His other wives were Ayaba Rahmat Adedayo Adeyemi, Ayaba Mujidat Adeyemi, Ayaba Rukayat Adeyemi, Ayaba Folashade Adeyemi, Ayaba Badirat Ajoke Adeyemi, Ayaba Memunat Omowunmi Adeyemi, Ayaba Omobolanle Adeyemi, Ayaba Moji Adeyemi, Ayaba Anuoluwapo Adeyemi, and Ayaba Damilola Adeyemi.
THE HOSPITAL ALAAFIN DIED
Of the few hospitals in Nigeria that provide standard and quality services that are at par with facilities in developed countries is the Afe Babalola Multi Systems Hospital (AMSH).
Located in Ado-Ekiti the capital of Ekiti state, AMSH is a 400-bed teaching hospital affiliated to Afe Babalola University, one of Nigeria’s foremost private tertiary educational institutions. The hospital was established in 2018 to serve as a centre of excellence in health care delivery and education, as well as bridge the critical gap in health care investment in the country.
Its establishment was supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) with a loan of $40million (N14.6billion) to Afe Babalola University, the first non-sovereign (non-government) loan by the continental bank in Nigeria.
The hospitals operates the accredited SafeCare Standards, provided by PharmAccess Foundation. This empowers health providers to continuously monitor and improve service delivery through innovations that promote transparency and benchmarks quality. Since its establishment, the hospital has been providing specialized medical treatment and procedures such as cancer diagnosis, cardiac and thoracic surgeries amongst others.