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 was a lover of boxing, as he was a boxer before becoming Alaafin. He remains the first educated Alaafin to 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, and 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 in 1948 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 instructions 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 (later retired General) Adeyinka Adebayo.
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.
Personal Life of Alaafin Adeyem III
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 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.
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 Adeyemi 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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