Who Becomes the New Alaafin in Oyo?
SINCE the late Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi joined his ancestors on April 22, 2022, all eyes have been on the Oyo Mesi (kingmakers) and the Oyo State Government to release the name of the new person who will mount the keenly contested stool.
Though most Yoruba people are anxiously awaiting the decision of the Oyo Mesi, the indigenes of the ancient Oyo are the most anxious.
They are uncertain about what the future holds for them.
At the outset, no fewer than 198 contenders jostled for the coveted and popular stool in Yoruba land. But the number was initially pruned to 65 and then trimmed down to 10 by the Oyo Mesi after a rigorous interview.
Which of the 10 contenders will eventually become the new Alaafin is a million dollar question that is begging for answers.
The Oyo Mesi is headed by the Bashorun of Oyo, Chief Yussuf Ayoola.
When Vanguard called the head of all princes in Oyo, Chief Afonja, he simply said the matter is now with the kingmakers and the Oyo State Government.
Afonja said: “Yes, what I know now is that the decision is left for the Oyo Mesi and the State Government.”
Also, one of the strong contenders to the stool, who preferred anonymity, said he’s not comfortable with the unbearable silence over the matter.
Pointing to information exclusively gathered by Vanguard that the unbecoming delay would necessitate the postponement of Oranyan festival slated for first and second week of September, the source said it is not good that the Alaafin stool still remains vacant almost two years after the death of Oba Adeyemi.
He said apart from the Oranyan festival, many things are left undone because a new Alaafin is yet to be unfolded.
The source said: “If I’m asked to say anything about the Alaafin stool, I will say silence from the two parties who are saddled with the responsibility of taking decision is becoming too cold for comfort.
“As far as I know, there is no case in court yet which forbids final decision from being taken. Why the delay is taking this long, I can’t say.”
Makinde being careful—Oyo govt source
But, an official of the state government, who is not authorized to speak on the issue, told Vanguard that the governor was being careful because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The government source said: “The governor will not rush into taking decision just like that. He is a meticulous man who wants perfection in his decision. As you know, the stool of Alaafin is an important one in the country especially in the South West zone. So, you don’t expect the governor to give a hasty approval.”
The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr Suleiman Olanrewaju, also would not rush into making comments on the issue.
He said he needed to make consultation before saying anything.
Olanrewaju said: “I will have to gather information before I can say anything. When I gather the information, I will send it to you.”
Oranyan festival postponed
The Oranyan festival which is annual celebration for the past 11 years will have to be postponed because Alaafin stool is vacant.
The festival was very dear to the heart of late Oba Lamidi Adeyemi who initiated the celebration of Oranyan.
Initially, there was a heated controversy over which of the towns between Ile Ife and ancient Oyo town should mark the festival.
But the late Alaafin laid it to rest when he explained that Oranyan was the first Alaafin who was noted for his heroic deeds and someone like that deserved to be celebrated for his contributions to the promotion of the rich Yoruba cultural heritage.
The head of Oyo Mesi, Bashorun of Oyo, Chief Yussuf Ayoola, who spoke with Vanguard, was evasive on the alleged delay.
When asked why it is taking Oyo Mesi and the State Government years to take decision on it, he simply said: “I don’t know anything about it”.
Other attempts to probe further were unsuccessful.
Until the announcement is made, Oyo indigenes will still have to continue the waiting game before they know the next Alaafin who will succeed the departed king.