The death of late Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III has stalled the chieftaincy conferment ceremony on the Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila as the ‘‘Aare Baasofin Ti Ile Yoruba’’ on Friday May 27, 2022. The traditional title conferment ceremony was to be part of events marking the Speaker’s 60th birthday.
The late Alaafin had communicated the conferment of the title to Gbajabiamila in a letter dated September 7, 2021, and presented it to him at the National Assembly, Abuja, through the members of the Oyomesi Council led by the Bashorun of Oyo Kingdom, High Chief Olayinka Ayoola, the traditional Prime Minister.
The traditional title of Aare Baasofin of Yorubaland officially conferred on the Speaker would make him the ‘Supreme Lawmaker of Yorubaland’
Aged 83, Oba Adeyemi reportedly died on Friday night at the Afe Bbalola University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State Hospital. Confusion had set in shortly after the news of his passing broke, following a statement reportedly issued by his media aide claiming that the palace had debunked the information and forcing some section of the media to report the Alaafin’s death as ‘rumoured’.
It was later found that the alleged statement from late Oba Adeyemi’s aide was a hoax and did not emanate from the Alaafin of Oyo’s Palace but was a 2021 statement responding to a fake news about the Oba’s demise in that year.
The May 27, 2022 conferment ceremony on Speaker Gbajabiamila which was to take place at the Forecourt of the Alafin of Oyo’s Palace in Ibadan barely eight months after the Oba Adeyemi’s letter, was scheduled to have the Ooni of Ife, Oba Babatunde Enitan Ogunwusi as the Royal Father of the day, according to the invitation card sighted by Prime Business Africa.
Prime Business Africa also gathered that Speaker Gbajabiamila had already sent out invitations to high-profile guests for the May 27, 2022 traditional title weeks before the news of the sudden demise of the Monarch broke.
‘‘Man proposes and God disposes,’’ one of the very close confidants of the Speaker told Prime Business Africa in reference to the on Sunday morning.
Gbajabiamila had in a statement, at the weekend, described the demise of the Alaafin as a development that ‘touched me personally.’
He was reported to have said that the paramount Yoruba ruler came to him as a ‘rude shock’ because Oba Adeyemi III was like a father to him. He described him as ‘’a very intelligent father with a sound grasp of traditional, social political and international history.’’
What Late Alafin Told Gbajabiamila In The Conferment Letter Of September 7, 2021
Adeyemi’s September 7, 2021 letter to Gbajabiamila read in part, “Since your victory at the polls and subsequent swearing-in as a member of Federal House of Representatives representing the good people of Surulere Federal Constituency of Lagos State in 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019 and eventual emergence as the Rt. Hon. Speaker of the 9th National Assembly House of Representatives via an overwhelming 283 votes out of 360 members.
“I have watched with keen interest your unquantifiable contributions on the floor of the House as a member with the highest number of bills and motions, to your rise from a member to Minority Leader, Leader of the House and eventually the Rt. Hon. Speaker, and your centrality in the federating unit Nigeria have placed you in the legislative realm just like our forefathers who were actively involved in nation-building.
“Going by the above, you have demonstrated as a Legislator the uniqueness inherent in the Yoruba race participating effectively in nation-building; you have participated in ensuring that the practice of separation of power to check abuses of the Executive and ensure the smooth running of government.
‘‘After due consideration and indeed consultation, the Alaafin in Council has identified you with the aforementioned attributes and considered you worthy of being honoured. It is on this basis that I have decided on behalf of Yoruba land to pick you as ‘AARE BAASOFIN OF YORUBA LAND.’
‘‘This new title bestowed on you is a clear reflection of your outstanding success as an astute legislator, accomplished legal luminary, successful Representative of Yoruba race and Nigeria in general. With this title, you are placed in the rank of great Empire builders and defenders of the Yoruba race. The least I can expect from you in your new title is to put all the state attributes of yours for the service of Yoruba land and advancement of a balanced system of government.’’
Meanwhile, a delegation of the Oyo State Government on Saturday paid a condolence visit to family members and associates of the late Alaafin of Oyo. The delegation, which was led by the state’s Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Chief Bayo Lawal, described Alaafin’s death as a great loss to Oyo State and Nigeria in general.