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Alaafin sleeps on…. Oyo town feeling his loss amid eulogies

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

For the first time in over five decades, the atmosphere around Alaafin of Oyo’s palace and the entire town changed, and indigenes, as well as visitors, were concerned over what becomes state of the ancient kingdom after the monarch, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, whose panegyric portrayed him as an immortal being, was laid to rest, with eulogies from President Muhammadu Buhari, former presidents, Governors, and others.

Before the 83-year-old monarch’s body was committed to mother earth, the jury was still out as to if the information surrounding the traditional ruler was true or not, and to ascertain, hundreds of Oyo indigenes stormed the palace and on their arrival, the information that had been circulating in public domain on demise of the monarch became real and flood gates of eulogies were left widely opened for the octogenarian.

And like notable personalities across the globe, the indigenes on Saturday believed that the monarch was not dead but was sleeping like other former traditional rulers that had ruled the ancient kingdom, describing him as a generous ruler whose presence among them would be greatly missed.

The Alaafin’s death was announced on Saturday after medical experts at Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, where he had gone for a medical checkup, but could not return home alive as expected by his wives, children, and associates.

Oba Adeyemi’s demise was confirmed by the palace Media and Publicity Director, Bode Durojaiye, who stated that his exit marked the end of over 50 years of his reign in the kingdom.

As said to have been directed by the monarch barely two weeks before his death, Oba Adeyemi was buried in accordance with Islamic rites at the ancient palace in Oyo Town.

The Janazah (funeral) prayer Islamic clerics, sympathisers, and some politicians, was conducted on the deceased before going for final internment and the session was led by the Chief Imam of Oyoland, Moshood Ajokidero, at exactly 11.55 p.m, and

Addressing newsmen after the prayer, Ajokidero said that the deceased had contributed his quotas to the development of Oyo Town, Oyo State, and Nigeria in general, describing him as an individual that has had impacted positively on the lives of many people.

While stressing that the monarch would forever be remembered for his good deeds, he urged everyone to always impact positively on humanity.

According to the chief Imam, everyone, irrespective of their status, will be remembered for his or her deeds, either good or bad, they will also give an account of how they spent their time on earth.

After the burial, an avalanche of condolences and accolades were recorded and President Muhammadu Buhari, former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, the National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, and the State Governor, Seyi Makinde, led others to eulogies the monarch.

Buhari, in a statement by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said that the Alaafin’s reign was significant in many ways and that he served as a benchmark for many that have been installed after him.

“Most significant was the emphasis he placed on human development, thereby encouraging learning as a culture and formal education as a necessity while promoting values of peace and stability,” the statement said.

“As a highly revered traditional ruler, President Buhari notes the late monarch’s numerous participations in national meetings and conferences to shape the future of the country, and the living words of wisdom he shared at every opportunity on unity and people-focused governance”, the statement added.

Obasanjo, in a letter to the governor, Makinde, described the highly revered monarch as patriotic and one who had immeasurable love for his people and great faith in a united Nigeria.

The former president disclosed that the monarch’s death was still a dream to him as he could not believe that the highly revered traditional ruler would passed on so soon.

“Although Oba Adeyemi’s passage is like a dream, especially as he left us at a crucial stage in our nation’s history when his wise counsel and rich experience are greatly needed,

“He stood out as a voice of forthrightness in national affairs and he was as well a fervent promoter of mutual tolerance and understanding not only among the diverse people who live in his domain but also across the country,” Obasanjo said.

“It is well acknowledged that it was during his reign that Oyo Town got transformed into the modern city that it has become today and not surprisingly, his contribution to nation-building was also acknowledged in the conferment of the esteemed national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR, on him and other honorary degrees that he received from some Nigerian and outside educational institutions.

Tinubu described the Oyo deceased monarch as one that fostered harmony and brought prosperity as well as development to the ancient Oyo Kingdom.

In a statement released to pressmen, he added that Oba Adeyemi would be remembered for his contribution to return of democracy through intellectual engagement with the military.

According to the statement, wisely ruling on the throne for 52 years, he became the longest reigning Alaafin that ever ruled Oyo Kingdom. With his transition, a big Iroko has fallen. His passing was an auspicious era in the ancient Oyo Kingdom, but also for the Yoruba and the entirety of the black race.

“An elder-statesman and patriot, Alaafin Adeyemi was bold and courageous. He spoke truth to power. His interventions in national affairs helped the nation navigate difficult moments and helped usher in a more just society.

“Alaafin was also a strong pillar of the arts, culture, and tradition. Kabiyesi took upon himself the task of promoting Nigerian arts and culture for which he received many ambassadorial awards in Nigeria and beyond”.

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