Thrones, dynasties and empires have always been founded, maintained and their core ascendancies sustained by the rich trajectories of their ruling families. Both pre-historic and modern Yoruba histories have singled out the Oyo Empire as one of the most remarkable empires to have emerged from the formation of Yoruba history. Today, across the length and breadth of Yoruba expression—life, language and lore—no obaship sits more majestically as the stool of the Alaafin of Oyo.
Through the centuries, the long line of Alaafin consisted of Sango down to two prominent ruling houses: Agunloye and Alowolodu. The list of Alaafins included Ajaka; Sango, who became deified as god of thunder and lightning; Ajaka;Aganju;Kori; Oluaso; Onigbogi; Ofiran; Egunoju; Orompoto; Ajiboyede; Abipa; Obalokun; Oluodo; Ajagbo; Odaranwu-1658-1660); Kanran-1660-1665; Jayin – (1655-1670); Ayibi -(1678-1690); Osiyango -(1690-1698); Ojigi -(1698-1732); Gbaru -(1732-1738); Amuniwaye -(1738-1742); Onisile -(1742-1750);Labisi-1750; Awonbioju-1750; Agboluaje – (Celebrated Bere Festival); 1750-1772; Majeogbe -(1772-1775); Abiodun – 1755-1805; Aole; Adebo; Maku -(1802-1830); Majotu; Amodo -1830; Oluewu (1833-1834); Abiodun Atiba -(Founder of present Oyo, celebrated Bere Festival) 1837-1859; Adelu -(1858-1875); Adeyemi I-(1875-1905); Lawani Agogo-ija (1905-1911); Ladigbolu – (Jan. 15, 1911-Dec. 19, 1944); Adeniran Adeyemi II-(Jan. 5, 1945-Sept. 20, 1955); Bello Gbadegesin -(Ladigbolu II) July 20, 1956-1968; and Lamidi Adeyemi III-(who passed away this year).
Corroborating the Agunloye family’s irreversible place down the line of succession of the Alaafin throne, Pa (Prince) Samuel Ademola Adeladan of Ilaka Lawuwo Oyo (who is the Mogaji of Ilaka Lawuwo and the head of Agunloye Ruling House of Oyo), told journalists that “I belong to the Agunloye royal family and presently, I am the head of Agunloye royal family. The entire Agunloye family recognised me and ratified my position as Mogaji of Agunloye family.
“Oba Lawani Amubieya Agogo-Ija was the son of Alaafin Adelu Agunloye. Agunloye ascended the throne of Alaafin of Oyo after the demise of Alaafin Atiba, and with that, Lawani Amubieya Agogo-Ija became the Aremo Oba.
“However, a certain rift/misunderstanding that came up in Oyo made him to go and settle at Ibadan. His friend, Aare Latoosa, gave him a parcel of land at Igbo-Agala where he built his palace and the palace was called Oke-Aremo. I must also mention that I lived with my grandmother there while growing up. Back to my story. At Oke-Aremo, Lawani Amubieya Agogo-Ija also stayed for while. After the demise of his father, he was recalled to Oyo to ascend the throne and became the Alaafin of Oyo.
“He, Agogo-Ija, was referred to as ‘Ogbe Aremo re’badan, O gbe Alaafin bo wale. He ruled for six years. That was 1905 to 1911. Alaafin LawaniAmubieya gave birth to Ladigbolu, Lawuwo, Owoade, Agboin, Tella and other children.
“Coming to Lawuwo, he is the second son to Alaafin LawaniAmubieyaAgogo-Ija. He moved from Afin to establish himself and his descendants at Ilaka. When I say Ilaka, we always refer to IlakaLawuwo. There are two Ilakas in Oyo. Ilaka Lawuwo is our own; Ilaka Olokuta is also there. All families in Ilaka are the descendants of Lawuwo, the son of Alaafin Lawani Amubieya Agogo-Ija. It is only the descendants of Ilaka that the traditional drummers describe as ‘Omo Lawani Amubieya Agogo-Ija.’ The traditional drummers are historians. They know what is going on. When it gets to that stage, people who don’t know would then understand that the Ilaka descendants are of the Agunloye family. They belong to Amubieya Agogo-Ija.
“I want to say now that it is our turn, the Agunloye royal family, to present the next Alaafin of Oyo after the demise of Iku Baba Yeye, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Dr. Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III. Right now, about 48 people have signified their interest to become the next Alaafin of Oyo.”
Pa Adeladan further stated that “As the Mogaji of Agunloye, I also have to append my signature on all their letters of expression of interest. After this, I will take the names to Baba Iyaji. We have been very careful so that nobody is left out. Many of those who isolated themselves have also returned to us. As the head of the Agunloye ruling house, I have accepted them all. Baba Iyaji is the head of the princes. His role is to pick all the names of those interested and take them to the Oyomesi through the Basorun. The Basorun is the prime minister at the moment.” This further solidifies his place as the head of the ruling house to produce the next Alaafin.
Prominent sons from the Agunloye extended royal family have indicated interest to replace the late Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III. The need to have an Alaafin that speaks to the aspirations of present-day Oyo and the larger Yoruba stock has never been more pressing. Oyo and Yorubaland require an Alaafin who has age (below 70) on his side, a track record of industry, impeccable educational qualifications, global connections, wealth of administrative experience and stability. None, however, combines all the qualities needed in the next Alaafin as much as Prince Dr Ajibade Adedayo Aremu Adeladan.
Prince Dr Ajibade Adedayo Aremu Adeladan was born in Oyo town, at the still existing General Hospital to Prince Samuel Adeladan, and Mrs Rachel Adeladan, on Wednesday, January 4, 1961, just few months after the independence of Nigeria.
He was raised in his early age in Lagos, Nigeria, where his parents were living at the time. His father worked for Pfizer in Lagos at the time andtravelled a lot across Nigeria (he was a National Manager for Pfizer). It was during his father’s travels across the country, that he found a Primary school, in Ibonwon, Epe, which he liked for the Prince and his siblings. He completed his elementary school at this school, at the end of 1972.He proceeded to Olivet Baptist High school in his home Town of Oyo from 1973 to 1977. He then did his Higher School certificate (Advanced Level), at Federal government college, Ijanikin, Lagos, between 1977 and 1979.
Prince Dr Adeladan completed his higher school education in flying colors, had the best results, and was admitted to the University of Ibadan in 1979. He graduated in June of 1984 as a medical doctor, and then proceeded to do his housemanship (internship) training at Adeoyo State Hospital in Ibadan from 1984 to 1985.
For his NYSC, Prince Dr. Adeladan served at Kukawa Community Hospital, in Kukawa Local Government Area of Borno State from 1985 to 1986. He served In Kukawa with distinction. He was in fact the only medical doctor in that local government at the time.
Dr Adeladan worked in a number of private hospitals in Lagos, including Ajayi Memorial Hospital, and Alalade Memorial Hospital, after which he did a specialist training in General Surgery at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital. He became a Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons in 1995, at record time.
From 1995 to 2003, he worked as a surgeon in a number of Caribbean nations- including Jamaica, Turks and Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands, and finally worked at the United States Virgin Islands.
Prince Adeladan then decided to move to the United States, where he first did a specialist training in Psychiatry, at the Ivy League Columbia University, in Manhattan, New York City. Dr Prince Adeladan was made a Chief Resident, at this institution. He became Board Certified in Psychiatry and Neurology in April of 2009. He also became Board certified in Addiction Medicine in 2012. He has worked in different states, and medical facilities in the United States, including New York, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Colorado, and finally in the US state of California.
Having submitted himself as one of the candidates to the exalted throne of the Alaafin, and coming from Agunloye Ruling House whose turn it is to produce the next Alaafin, one will be stating the obvious that Oyo town and the Yoruba race need Prince Dr. Adeladan to be made the next Alaafin. His wealth of administrative experience, personal poise of humility and piety, global exposure, education and sense of enterprise are the sterling qualities that mark him out. Indeed, Oyo and the Yoruba race need a modern success like Adeladan to expand its frontiers in this modern age.
Ogunbanwo, a seasoned public commentator, writes from Lagos