The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola
Adeyemi III, is undoubtedly a monarch not with only wit but also with class.
To say he is an enigma by every standard is an understatement, as many
who had an interaction with him testify that “a moment with him is
like an exploratory adventure through the school of history”.
The great Traditional Icon and one of Africa’s most powerful and
influential kings had been on the throne for forty- six years and
living with Yoruba’s richest cultures and traditions
The Titan of Oyo Empire recently granted interview on sundry issues to
select group of journalists in his palace in the ancient Oyo town.
QUESTION: Sir, since your majesty ascended the throne of your forefathers, you have been through thick and thin. Can kabiyesi relate with us some of your most profound experiences?
ANSWER: That is very complex. Let me start from the contest itself. It was not only hectic but stiff and full of intrigues between 1968 and 1971 that the contest lasted. Oyo was the central focus of political intrigues, not only in the whole of Western State, but the entire
Yoruba speaking states of this country, the West African sub-region
and the Nigerians in Diaspora. This can be traced to, at least, five reasons. However, for the sake of brevity and strategic reasons, I
would mention only two. The first was the heat surrounding the deposition of my father, Oba Adeniran Adeyemi 11, by the forces that be. On September 5, 1954 a riot erupted between the supporters of the
Action Group [A.G] and the National Council of Nigeria and the
Cameroons [NCNC] at Akesan market. The aftermath of the riot left five
people dead. In reaction to this, the Government of Western Region
arrested eighteen members of Egbe Omo Oyo Parapo who formed Alliance
with the NCNC and were subsequently charged to Court. Five of them
were found guilty and condemned to death by hanging. Not satisfied
with the hanging of these five men, the AG government set up a
five-man panel of enquiry to unearth the remote and immediate causes
leading to this fateful riot. They appointed Mr.R.E.Lloyds, a crown
counsel in the ministry of justice in the Western Region, but instead
of finding the remote and immediate cause from members of the public
who had anything to say about the causes of the riot, they now made
Oba Adeniran Adeyemi 11 the target.
The Alaafin was made to face eleven trumped up charges alone without
making recourse to the remote and immediate cause of the riot. Prior
to this riot, pressure was made to bear on the Alaafin to stop the
NCNC from holding the rally in Oyo via public announcement. A request
which the Alaafin rejected and this peeved the government in power.
Evidences were taken in Atiba Hall as few people were allowed to come
to the enquiry, some without memoranda, while some were tailored on
what to say. However, under forensic cross-examination, most of the
evidences crumbled. Meanwhile, the Alaafin was forced into temporary
exile and was accommodated in the private residence of the Owa Obokun
of Ijesaland, Oba Haastrup Ajimoko. Thus, the panel had to go to
Obokun Gbusi town hall to rake evidence from the Alaafin, and one
after the other, the eleven charges were laid before him. The old man
answered all the charges calmly despite all the insults hurled at him
by the government lawyer. While the process was going on, the people
in the hall were crying and were baffled by the level of insults
hurled at the Monarch.
In his recommendation, the crown counsel, Mr. R.E.Lloyds dismissed all
the eleven trumped up charges, declaring them ridiculous without any
iota of truth, and also declaring Oba Adeyemi 11 innocent. It advised
the government to allow him to go back to his throne at Oyo and that
the riot that happened at Akesan market was political. He said the
attack on the crowd was unleashed by the AG members on the NCNC
supporters, while latter had the upper hand. He said the fault of the
riot could not be labeled on the Alaafin because the monarch made
frantic effort by approaching the resident D.O to call for
reinforcement of security agents to forestall the riot, but was not
The Government of the Western Region through its Attorney-General and
Minister of Justice, Chief F.R.A. Williams refused to publish the
report of the panel of Inquiry but rather rejected the report in its
entirety. The government instead came out with its own white paper. It
deposed and banished from Oyo and Ibadan provinces Oba Adeyemi 11, the
Alaafin of Oyo. The government stated that the banishment became
necessary for peace and good governance in the Western Region.
Earlier on, Oba Adeyemi’s first son and the Aremo of Oyo, Prince
TIiamiyu Adebayo Adeyemi had also been banished from Oyo and was
accommodated by the Ojora chieftaincy of Apapa Lagos, while he died in
Lagos in 1956 and his father was still in Ilesa. His remains were brought to Oyo and buried with funfair by Oyo enthusiasts.
The Muslim Council of Nigeria which the Alaafin Adeyemi 11 headed as
the patron made entreaties and pleaded with the Government of Western
Region with the assertion that the Monarch did not have accommodation
anywhere in Nigeria except his ancestral home in Oyo town. The
entreaties of the Muslim Council were rejected and instead the
government made an announcement that it had provided a three-bedroom
apartment for the Monarch in mosquito and snake invested Lekki
peninsula area of Lagos, a cook, a steward and a little stipend were
provided. Government also said that no member of the Monarch’s family
could visit him without the express permission from the government,
and there at Lekki, he would spend the rest of his life.
These conditions were too demeaning for the Monarch and his supporters
to swallow. A wealthy Merchant of Yoruba extraction from Cotonou based
at Oke-Aarin of Lagos Island, Alhaji Nurudeen Soule Badru, cane to the
The hope that the Alaafin Oba Adeyemi 11will return home became dashed
with the announcement of the selection of a new Alaafin of Oyo in
person of Late Oba Bello Gbadegesin in 1956.
Thus, the determination to right the wrong done to the Oyo people by the wicked removal of their doyen Monarch without a cause was like a volcano in an eruption.