Foremost Yoruba monarch, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi has passed on.
The monarch who was the third from the Alowolodu ruling house was reported to have died in the late hours of Friday, 22 April, at the Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State.
Oba Adeyemi was 83 years old and the longest-reigning Alaafin ever, having ruled for 52 years.
The remains of the top Yoruba traditional ruler were brought to Oyo state in the early hours of today, 23 April, and traditional rites have began.
The monarch had been sick and a plan had been made to fly him abroad before he passed on late Friday night.
A source familiar with the medical travel plan said his tickets and those of a few wives were already procured.
His death came months after the two other senior Oyo State monarchs – the Olubadan of Ibadan, Saliu Adetunji, and the Soun of Ogbomoso, Jimoh Oyewumi – died. All happened in less than five months.
The Alaafin passes away leaving behind his numerous young and beautiful wives.
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, is expected to make an official announcement upon receiving the report of the monarch’s passing from the Bashorun of Oyo, Yusuf Akinade, who will now lead Oyo until a new Alaafin is installed.
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.
He was crowned on November 18, 1970, succeeding Oba Gbadegesin Ladigbolu I. He was known popularly as Iku Baba Yeye..
With the demise of Alaafin Adeyemi, it is now the turn of the Agunloye (The Ladigbolus) Ruling House to produce the next Oyo monarch. Mr Adeyemi’s predecessor, Alaafin Ladigbolu, was from the Agunloye House.
Kaabiesi Lamidi Adeyemi succeeded Alaafin Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II in 1970, during the governorship regime 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.
While he reigned, he was the permanent chairperson of the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs.