Femi Adeoti, Deputy Editor, Daily
OBA Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III sits on the historic throne of Alaafin of the old Oyo Empire fame. He is a first class and foremost traditional ruler.
Alaafin, or Man or Owner of the Palace in the Yoruba language, was the title of the king of the empire. It was retained as the official title of the ruler.
Born on October 15, 1938, Oba Adeyemi attended St. Gregory’s College, Ikoyi, Lagos. He ascended the throne on November 18, 1970, but crowned on January 14, 1971 when Colonel Robert Adeyinka Adebayo was Military Governor, old Western State. He succeeded Alaafin Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II. His father, Oba Adeniran Adeyemi II, was deposed and exiled in 1954 for allegedly sympathising with the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC). He had earlier come into serious conflict with Chief Bode Thomas, Deputy Leader, Action Group (AG) in the 50s.
Alaafin is a monarch of many parts. He was a boxing champion and an insurance agent in Lagos. His views on the traditional institution are profound. He once said: “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 dresses, utterances and comportment; even the mere necessary trivialities that mark Nigeria and the locality as a distinctive entity.”
He was Chancellor, Uthman dan Fodiyo University, Sokoto, from 1980 to 1992. In recognition of his commitment to the consolidation of Islam, former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida appointed Oba Adeyemi Amir-ul-Hajj in 1990. As Alaafin, Oba Adeyemi has done much to ensure peace and progress as well as the promotion of culture in the Oyo empire. He initiated the crowing of Olubadan and Soun of Ogbomoso as first obas, instead of being high chiefs. He has also elevated the office of Alaafin, by his conduct and disposition, since his reign.