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The seemingly slow process of electing a new Alaafin of Oyo is causing unrest in the kingdom, a year after the death of long-reigning Alaafin Lamidi Adeyemi.
Oba Adeyemi’s 51 years on the throne made him the longest reigning Alaafin before his death on April 22, 2022 at the age of 83. Afe Babalola died at the University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti following a brief illness.
The Alaafin stool rotates between the two main houses of Oyo Kingdom: Agunloye and Alowolodu. Mr. Adeyemi belonged to the latter. This means that the Agunloye ruling house will produce the next Alaafin.
After the death of Alaafin Adeyemi, a fierce rivalry arose among the Agunloye princes who registered their desire to ascend the Oyo Mesi throne through Baba Iyaji, the head of the ruling houses.
According to Oyo tradition and the Alaafin Chieftain Declaration, the law that governs the succession process, Baba Iyaji would present the list of princes to the Oyo Mesi whose chief, Bashorun, would make a decision after the screening.
In the decision meeting, to be witnessed by the government officials, there would be a consensus or a vote where there is a diversity of options.
This process ended last October when Oyo Mesi unanimously chose a prince and communicated the decision to Governor Seyi Makinde, PREMIUM TIMES can learn.
Intrigues and Oyo mesi
It was collected by PREMIUM TIMES Oyo State Government in August he ordered the Atiba Local Government Secretariat, the custodian of the Alaafin Palace, to begin the formal administrative process of electing the next Alaafin. He then asked the local government chairman, Mojisola Olakojo, to send the list of candidates to Baba Iyaji, who is the traditional head of the Mukaila Afonja ruling families. In September, Afonja presented a list of 86 princes to the local government.
The princes’ formal performance then began on September 5, this newspaper said.
Empowered by the 1961 Alaafin Chiefs’ Declaration, Oyomesi submitted the candidate’s name to the state government in October after voting.
A source in Alaafin’s palace told PREMIUM TIMES that the name of the successful candidate was sent to the state government on October 4. But since then the government has not said anything on the matter, causing anxiety in the kingdom.
According to the law, the governor must give a period of 21 days for those affected to submit petitions against the process. No application has been submitted.
PREMIUM TIMES learned that Governor Makinde, who was going for re-election, however, decided to suspend the process until after the general election.
Due to the delay in the announcement
A section of the community is angry that since the disappearance of the erstwhile Alaafin, important cultural and traditional activities in the erstwhile kingdom have been disrupted.
In addition, Muslims are angry that a new Chief Imam cannot be appointed for the central mosque of the city because the chair of Alaafin is vacant.
In a video clip, popular preacher Muhyideen Bello was seen urging the authorities to speed up the enthronement processes of the new monarch.
Another prominent Islamic leader in the city, Abdulmajeed Alaway, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES, called on the governor to make the announcement. The church appealed to the governor not to give room to the public insinuation that he gives more attention to Christians than Muslims in the state.
“If we don’t have a monarch we can’t have a Chief Imam and we want to have an Imam. Everyone knows that. In fact, since the start of Ramadan, I have been clamoring for another monarch to be enthroned as soon as possible. Islam as a religion also does not like a group of people to live without a definite leader among them,” the church said.
Also an indigene of Oyo, Ayo Kamorudeen, said the need for the announcement of the next Alaafina cannot be overemphasized.
“The Alaafin and the economic development of this town are inseparable,” Mr Kamorudeen said.
“Since the disappearance of Oba Adeyemi, full activity has not returned to the town. The government also knows that the attempt to ignore the throne is a deliberate attempt to disrupt the economy of Oyo town. There is always a spiritual blessing from the Alaafin’s throne that makes commerce and industry thrive here.”
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