Home Opinion Alaafin Stool: Why Oyo monarchy must not get it wrong
Opinion - May 8, 2023

Alaafin Stool: Why Oyo monarchy must not get it wrong

The late Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi III

 

By Wale Balogun

The advancement of the Yoruba  political culture and traditions is on the threat again.

I had written in response to Oluwo last year, detailing why the essence of our being as a people is not to be cowed by foreign ideas that are inferior to our original ways of doing things. One of the most respected monarchy in Africa is the Oyo empire.

Recents events on the election of a new Ikubabayeye, a year after the Alaafin Adeyemi danced to meet the ancestors, is the “rumour” of some power mongers declaring one Prince Gbadegesin on social media.

And this is not just the first, it is the ekeji. And once it’s done again, it becomes what the Yoruba cosmology calls “eketa abetan”- once an act is done two and three times, it is actually an intent!

Both Baron De Montesquieu in The Spirit of The Law (1748), and A.V.  Dicey in his book, “Introduction to the Law of Constitution (1885),” were actually globally documenting a very clear practice in the Oyo empire, even when there is no record that Oyo learnt such democratic practices on the influence of any global powers.

Probably one of the most democratic monarchical systems, Oyo clearly has the Alaafin as head of the Executives; Basorun as Head of the Oyomesi (legislature) and the Ogboni as the Judiciary.

So, Africans have been superb in  terms of politics and self-governance for centuries before the Colonial intrusions. Since the Alaafin has transcended, the onus of leadership automatically is vested on the Basorun as Head of the Oyomesi. The bastion of democracy is the Oyomesi handling actual legislative matters. So, it is expected that the Bashorun would handle the election of the Alaafin with utmost respect for traditions and ethics.

The Ifa is supposed to be consulted, and make recommendations to the Oyomesi, who would then vote on same (in case Ifa clears more than one Prince.)

But Basorun Yusuf Ayoola; the  current  Head of the Oyomesi, by all evidences and investigation, is tampering with the reverred Oyo customs.

In a statement by the Director of Media and Publicity to the Alaafin of Oyo, Bode Durojaiye, in September 2022 on the orders of the Basorun said 10 persons were shortlisted for the stool of Alaafin without any convening of the Oyomesi traditional meeting. Basorun then said that “the state government is not only aware but carried along in all our proceedings before, during, and after the interview period.

The state government was ably represented by the chairperson of the Atiba Local Government Area and some officials of the council.” Both the Oyo State government and the Atiba Council has since denied being carried along by the Head of the Oyomesi. Out of six members of the Oyomesi, only Basorun and High Chief Wakeel Akindele, the Lagunna of Oyo are said to be usurping the powers and traditional processes of the Oyomesi.

While speaking to a correspondent of PUNCH, the Iba Samu of Oyo,  High Chief Lamidi Olayanju, a member of the Oyomesi denied any knowledge of Basorun’s actions. Olayunju noted that he “called Basorun and he told (him) that he was the one behind the news that 10 persons had been shortlisted. Four of us know nothing about it. When we completed the interview on Thursday, we all agreed that we would meet next Tuesday to do that but hearing that 10 persons had been shortlisted on the radio is news to me.

I called Basorun and he told me he authored the news…I heard it on the radio that we had shortlisted 10 but I am telling you I am not part of that and I called four of us and they said they did not know anything about it.

Agbaakin (High Chief Asinmiyu) told me he was not part of the decision to pick 10 contestants; Akinniku (High Chief Amusa Yusuf) also told me that he was not part of it; Alapini ( High Chief Rasheed Sheu) is indisposed.” not part of?”

So, is Oyo not going to get it wrong? Will the bastion of Yoruba  democratic tenets not fall into the trajectory of another Basorun Gaa? How could anyone want to impose a candidate that is highly detested by the chosen ruling family.

The results of the only meeting this far of the Oyomesi showed that; “The Basorun of Oyo, The Lagunna of Oyo, The Arinago Basorun and Baale Oke- Apo were against IFA consultation to choose the next Alaafin.They preferred voting.

Whereas the trio of Agbaakin of Oyo, Samu of Oyo and Akinniku of Oyo insisted on IFA consultation to choose the next Alaafin of Oyo.The meeting ended without agreement by the Chiefs in attendance”

However, when the Basorun  imposed voting instead of the consultation with Ifa as other Chiefs of the Oyomesi insisted, Basorun Ayoola illegally appointed Chief Gbadebo Mufutau, the Baale of  Oke-Apo as a warrant Chief in order to get him to be a member of the Oyomesi without prior approval of the Ministry of Local Government and chieftaincy to replace Late Chief Rasheed Sheu Ademola the Alapinni without the consent and approval of The Executive Chairman  of Oyo East local Government Area in whose jurisdiction the office of Alapinni of Oyo is located.

So, which agenda is the Basorun  Ayoola pushing? The future of the Yoruba cannot be dragged into the muds. There are rumours that it is Prince Lukman Gbadegesin that is behind all the illegalities since September last year. He denied them, and is denying the one this week.

The lesson is that this must not happen the third time. Lukman seems to have terrible and reactionary orientation of the current rotten Nigerian political class that just showed one wicked example in Adamawa state with the INEC REC announcing elections winner even when the votes are collated.

Already, it is open that Lukman is a PDP chieftain and a close ally of  Atiku and Obasanjo. He has cases with the EFCC, and one or two persons have come up openly to  tag him a criminal. While it is not culturally correct to premeditate the final decisions of the Oyomesi, it is trite that Basorun Ayoola do it the way the ancestors do by conducting a true consultation with the Ifa oracle, and also subjecting the election of the new Alaafin to majority of the six true members of the Oyomesi.

When the deed is done the way the good old days, the birds would sing sonorous, rodents would cringe around , and humanity would keep speaking with the voice of unity and progress!

Comrade Wale Balogun, a Yoruba  dialectician and National Coordinator of Yoruba Revolutionary Movement (YOREM), writes from Lagos.

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