THE RISE OF NEW OYO
1835 TILL DATE
GET STARTED BY READING: THE IMPERIAL PERIOD OF OLD OYO EMPIRE (OYO-ILE) – 1600 TO 1800
Under Alaafin Aole, the empire suffered some strain. The Egbas broke free from the Old Oyo empire (Oyo-Ile) and got their independence in 1796.
At the height of the empire. The provinces, though fluid, were Ekun Osi, the metropolis and the area around. The Ekun Otun the Western side of the river Ogun: Ibolo areas and Epo, Egbado, Yewa, parts of Dahomey and Southern Nupe.
- A good constitution, buoyed by the Alaafin, Oyo Mesi, the Aare Ona Kakanfo and provincial kings.
- Control of Calvary, trade routes and successful Agriculture.
- Contacts with the Northern neighbours and the ports on the south.
- There was peace and good government, Islam has crept into the country from the time of Oyo Igboho and in Oyo-Ile, the trend has escalated with the Afonja’s intransigence and Ilorin’s invitation to Sheik Al. Salih. Oyo sit, too was basically converted to Islam.
The Egbas moved from Ibadan area to Abeokuta. Epo Region of Akeetan, Iseke, Apaara, Aguo, Idode, Ojongbodu were bursting at the seams from the population from the north and were eventually transferred by Atiba to populate Ago-d-Oyo.
Afonja of Ilorin, the 6th Aare Ona Kakanfo (Yoruba Generallisimo) allowed the foothold of the Jihadist and made the sacking of Oyo-Ile irreversible, but he lost his hegemony to the Fulani of Ilorin and even till date.
The British explorers visited Oyo-Ile in 1821 and Oluewu fell in Eleduwe war in 1837. Oyo city thereby dissolved and re-arranged in the South near Ibadan and Ijaye in 1839.
ALAAFIN ATIBA ATOBATELE
Oba Atiba, the son of Abiodun was the greatest human and political factor in the period of new Oyo. His son, Adelu and Adeyemi reigned after him.
Atiba was a great leader but he came at a time of crises. Yoruba had lost Igbomina. Ijesha, Ekiti and Akoko at this time were under threat. The entire Yoruba land was under Ilorin-Fulani siege. Ibadan would not allow the onslaught to continue, by 1840, Ibadan soldiers defeated and pushed Fulani warriors back to Ilọrin but could not take the city.
The Osogbo war of 1840 had put a stop to the South-Ward advancement of the Jihadists and this with the coming of Christian Missionaries of the Anglicans, the Methodist and the Baptist benefitted the town including the other Yoruba towns.
Atiba enlarged Oyo, enlisted the new energies of Ibadan and Ijaye, thus bracing up bravely the Oyo Monarchy despite the fall of Old Oyo Empire. He died in 1859. He tried to restore Oyo’s glory, but the decline was bound to happen as all the tribes were fighting one another.
ALAAFIN ADELU AGUNLOYE
Alaafin Adelu Agunloye was Atiba’s son. He became king in 1859. The Ijaye war was fought during his period. Kurunmi, the Are Ona Kankafo, who was the ruler of Ijaiye refused to recognize Adelu as the Alaafin. The war started with Ijaiye declaring war on Oyo in 1860.
The Ibadan war machine under Ogunmọla came in support of Ọyọ, routed Kurunmi-Ijaiye/Egba alliance and killed all his sons. Kurunmi committed suicide and Ijaiye was destroyed. The Ijaiye war was one of the several wars Ibadan engaged in to assert supremacy in Yorubaland.
In 1857, Britain abolish slavery. In the year 1864, Alaafin Adelu Agunloye stopped Batedo War in the name of Sango between Ijebu and the Egbas.
ALAAFIN ALOWOLODU ADEYEMI I
Alaafin Adeyemi I ruled from 1876 to 1905. After the emergence of Ibadan, the Fulani ceased to be a threat to Yoruba but bitter civil war among the tribes made peace impossible. Between 1860 and 1885 Ibadan engaged in five different wars simultaneously.
In 1877, Ibadan went to war against Ẹgba/Ijẹbu for attacking Ibadan traders, when coming from Port-Novo. The Ijẹṣa/Ekiti seized the moment, in 1878, attacked despotic Ibadan Ajẹlẹs (viceroys) in their territories; Ibadan declared war on Ijẹṣa and Ekiti. The conflict between Ibadan/Ijẹṣa & Ekiti went on for sixteen years, the worst war in Yorubaland. Ogedengbe-the Seriki of Ijẹṣa army, Fabunmi of Oke-Imesi, and Aduloju of Ado-Ekiti held Ibadan down as Ibadan engaged in other wars with the Ẹgba, Ijẹbu, Ilọrin and the Ifẹ.
The Ibadan/Ijesa & Ekiti parapọ war got to its peak at Kiriji, near Ikirun. The Egba were also being attacked by Dahomey. The Alaafin was helpless as his people decimated themselves. He, therefore, invited the British colonial Governor of Lagos to help settle the dispute. Through negotiations undertaken by the Church, which was spearheaded by Samuel Johnson, Charles Phillips, and Lagos Governor Maloney in 1886, peace gradually returned to Yorubaland as the warring groups sheathed their swords.
The entire Yorubaland later came under the dominion of the British and the Alaafin became a Vassal of the colonial government. In 1888, Oyo became a protectorate of Great Britain.
Alaafin Agogo Ija Amubieya Lawani became Alaafin after Alaafin Adeyemi I. He was a vassal of the British empire. He reigned from 1905 to 1911.
Alaafin Ladigbolu I became king after Lawani. He ruled from 1911 to 1944. He was also a vassal king. The amalgamation of Nigeria happened during his time. Frederick Lugard united north and south as a single colony called Protectorate of Nigeria. The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River. Given by Flora Shaw who later married Lugard.
ALAAFIN ADENIRAN ADEYEMI II
Oba Adeniran Adeyemi II, was Alaafin of Oyo, between 1945 and 1954, until he was forced into exile by the Action Group led government of the Western region, as a result of the death of the Deputy leader of the Action Group, Chief Bode Thomas and also for having sympathy, for the rival NCNC of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.
Chief Bode Thomas (1918-1953) became the deputy leader of the Action Group, he later formed Nigeria’s first indigenous law firm called- Thomas, Willams, Kayode and co. i.e. the trio of Bode Thomas, Chief Rotimi Williams and Chief Remilekun Fani Kayode.
Bode was a brilliant lawyer, but also very haughty and arrogant. He was made the Divisional Council Chairman in 1953, while the Alaafin of Oyo was a mere member.
On his first appearance in council, after being appointed chairman, all the council members stood up for him in deference, to welcome him except Oba Adeyemi II, who for cultural reasons, could not show deference to anyone in public. Bode Thomas rudely shouted at the king, for having the temerity and audacity to disrespect him.
“Why are you sitting when I walked in, you don’t know how to show respect?”At that time, Bode Thomas was 35 years old and Oba Adeniran was in his 60’s.
The Alaafin felt very insulted and nonplussed; he said “se emi lon gbomo baun?” (Is it me you are barking at like that?). Oba Adeniran just told him “Ma gbo lo baun” (continue barking). Oba Adeniran Adeyemi II, was the father of the incumbent Alaafin, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III.
The confrontation happened on November 22nd 1953. Bode Thomas got home and started barking! He barked and barked like a dog all night until he died in the early morning of November 23rd 1953. He cut short his promising career.
Oba Adeniran Adeyemi II was thereafter deposed and sent on exile in 1954 for sympathizing with opposition NCNC, because he had come in conflict with Bode Thomas who was Deputy Leader of the Action Group, before his untimely death. In fact, at a session in the parliament, Sardauna Ahmadu Bello had described Thomas as “Arrogant and ungracious”.
Oba Adeniran Adeyemi II was sent on exile to Ilesha and later relocated to Egerton Street on Lagos Island where he lived and died in 1960. His death truncated the ambition of Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi, to proceed to the United Kingdom to study law. He later became an Insurance Executive with the Royal Exchange Assurance, where he worked until he ascended the throne of his forefathers, as the Alaafin of Oyo in 1971.
ALAAFIN LADIGBOLU II
Alaafin Ladigbolu II (1956-1968) was the Alaafin when Nigeria gained independence. Alaafin Ladigbolu II succeeded Oba Adeniran Adeyemi II who was exiled. He died in 1968 and was succeeded by Alaafin Adeyemi III.
From years 1900s, the modern government has taken root, Captain Ross nurtured its growth.
ALAAFIN ADEYEMI III
In 1971 Alaafin Adeyemi III became king. He succeeded Alaafin Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II during the governorship of Colonel Robert Adeyinka Adebayo, after the end of the Nigerian Civil War. In 1975, the Head-of-State, General Murtala Ramat Mohammed included Oba Adeyemi in his entourage for 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.
Alaafin Adeyemi is a lover of boxing, as he was a boxer before becoming Alaafin. He remains the only educated Alaafin till date.
Oyo city today is the centre of a flourishing civilization from its inception under the children of Atiba, Adelu, Adeyemi I, Agogo Ija, Ladigbolu I, Adeyemi II, Ladigbolu II and Adeyemi III.
Great economic strides, two universities, several tertiary institutions, health and industrial facilities adorn the town in its march to a greater height.
The new express road is a marvel, and Oba Adeyemi III, C.F.R., J.P, LL.D, S.A.P), has assumed the legend of his ancestors with a perfect grasp of the perplexed maze of political, monarchical and economic vicissitudes of the age; an enigma and incarnation of the wholesome attitude of Oluaso.
Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III the immediate past Alaafin of Oyo was born on the 15th of October 1938, to Raji Adeniran Adeyemi the former Alaafin of Oyo who was deposed and exiled in 1954 for sympathizing with the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC).
Childhood and Education
Lamidi Adeyemi III began his education at a Quranic School in Iseyin, a city not too far from Oyo town. He then went back to Oyo Town where he stayed with the headmaster, of St. Andrews Primary School proceeding thereafter to live with the Alake of Egba, Oba Oladepo Ademola, in his palace.
His education met a temporal end after Oba Ademola was forced to abdicate his throne to live in exile at Osogbo due to the 1947-48 demonstration of Egba women against “Tax without representation” led by Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome Kuti.
His father sent for him in1948 and later sent him to live with Sir Kofoworola Adebayo Abayomi in Keffi, Ikoyi, Lagos. While in Keffi, he attended Obalende Modern School, He later attended Tinubu Methodist School.
After his primary education, He was offered admission into Igbobi College and St. Gregory’s College, Obalende. He chose to attend St. Gregory’s College Obalende.
He left St. Gregory’s College with very good grades and had chosen to study Law, however, his quest for Law was halted as his father was deposed as the Alaafin on the 14th of February 1946.
Lamidi was then offered a job at the Royal Exchange Assurance in Lagos, while working at the Royal Exchange He wrote articles under pen names in newspapers, writing about himself and his experience.
One of his numerous articles was entitled” I SHALL BE GREAT” in 1968 and a year later, he wrote yet another one: “I shall be the next Alaafin”. He wrote critiques of how the Nigerian teachers were treated, having been inspired by the state in which he saw one of his old teachers in a tattered shirt and tie. He wrote yet another entitled. “Women Liberation: A misnomer in Yoruba land”.
Shortly after his stay at the Royal Exchange Assurance, he was promoted to the 14 Floor into the specialist area of obligatory Facultative Insurance and Internal memo drafting.
He began to earn lots of money but his father gave strict instruction that he must invest every penny that came his way, therefore, venturing into business buying wrecked cars to repair and resell.
The Alaafin’s Ascension to the Throne
The Alaafin, Lamidi Adeyemi III was coronated as the traditional ruler of Oyo in 1970 succeeding Alaafin Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II during the governorship of Colonel Robert Adeyinka Adebayo, after the end of the Nigerian Civil War.
As the usual practice in the selection of the new Alaafin, after the death of Alaafin Bello Gbadegesin, the Oyomesi contacted Oranlola (Baba Iwo) of Alowolodu to become the Alaafin.
He then called for a meeting within the royal family. He informed them of his meeting with Oyomesi and that he suggested his son, Sanda ‘Ladepo.
All the members of the family agreed to this except Baba Salami Dudu. Baba Salami Dudu suggested Prince Lamidi Adeyemi a son to Alaafin Adeyemi Adeniran ll.
The contention for the throne of the Alaafin became more intense to the extent that some of the princes from the larger royal families in Oyo became contenders. Among these were Aremo Sanni Gbadegesin, Prince Olanite Ajagba, Prince Afonja Ilaka, and Prince Sanda ‘Ladepo Oranlola.
Lamidi Adeyemi was chosen by the kingmakers on November 18, 1970, and then moved into the palace after completing the necessary rites under the tutelage of the Oyomesi.
In the process, he was inducted into the mysteries of various gods like the Ifa mysteries, and the Sango mysteries. He was also made to undergo these inductions in order to be the direct representative of these deities on earth.
An impressive ceremony was held at the Durbar Stadium, Oyo town, to coronate Lamidi Adeyemi III as the Alaafin of Oyo. He was presented with the staff of office as the Alaafin of Oyo by the then military Governor of the Western State, Colonel (now retired General)Adeyinka Adebayo.
The Alaafin is married to 13 wives which include Ayaba Abibat Adeyemi, his senior wife, who he used to attend most events with her or with one of the twelve junior wives that he was also married to.
His other wives are Ayaba Rahmat Adedayo Adeyemi, Ayaba Mujidat Adeyemi, Ayaba Rukayat Adeyemi, Ayaba Folashade Adeyemi, Ayaba Badirat Ajoke Adeyemi, Ayaba Memunat Omowunmi Adeyemi, Ayaba Omobolanle Adeyemi, Ayaba Moji Adeyemi, Ayaba Anuoluwapo Adeyemi, and Ayaba Damilola Adeyemi.
He was a lover of boxing, as he was a boxer before ascending the throne of his Fathers.
Alaafin’s Contribution To The development of Yoruba land and Nigeria.
In 1975 the head of state General Murtala Ramat Muhammed included the Alaafin in his entourage to the hajj. He was also honored with the national honor of CFR at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, in 1979.
In 1980, the Federal Government appointed Kabiyesi Alaafin Lamidi Adeyemi III as the pioneering Chancellor of the newly established University of Sokoto, now Uthman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, for a first four-year tenure. At the expiration of that first tenure, the senate and council of the University recommended him for another term. The president and visitor to the university graciously approved the request, thus he was appointed for a second term. And at the expiration of the second term, in an unprecedented manner, has was appointed for yet another term, the third term, thus giving him a total of 12 years as the Chancellor of the university.
In January 1988, The Alaafin installed Chief MKO Abiola as the Aare Ona Kankanfo in recognition of Abiola’s contributions to the social, economic, cultural, and political development of Yoruba land and Nigeria at large.
In 1990 the Federal Government under the administration of General Ibrahim Babangida, appointed the Alaafin as the Amiru Hajj operation to lead the Muslim faithful in the 21 states of the federation in recognition of his commitment to the consolidation of Islam in Nigeria.
As one of the paramount foremost traditional rulers in Yoruba land, The Alaafin used his position to better the lots of many Obas, lifting many non-crown wearing Obas to the status of beaded crown wearers and consistently fighting for the improvement of their (the Obas’) welfare at all times.
Death and Legacy
Alaafin Lamidi Adeyemi joined his ancestors in the late hours of Friday, 22nd of April, 2022 at the Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti at the age of 83
Alaafin of Oyo was the third from the Alowodu Ruling House.
The remains of the top Yoruba traditional ruler were brought to Oyo in the early hours of Saturday 23rd of April, 2022 and traditional rites began.
He was 83 years old and the longest-reigning Alaafin ever, having ruled for 52 years.
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