It has been over a year since the stool of the Alaafin became vacant, due to the passing of the late Kabiyesi Iku Baba Yèyé, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III.
The Alaafin is a representation of the cultural heritage and identity of the Yoruba people. Oba Adéyemí was aptly described as an encyclopedia of the culture and traditions of the entire Yoruba race. In over 5 decades, he used his throne to build bridges of friendship and harmony in the state, across Yoruba Land, and beyond.
Rising from the aforementioned, whoever will emerge as the next Alaafin has very huge shoes to fill. At this critical time in Oyo town, Yoruba land, and Nigeria as a whole, the kingmakers and the Governor need to ensure the next Alaafin is a right peg in a right hole, to sustain the price of place which the crown and the throne possesses.
The Alaafin Chieftaincy Declaration of 1961 allows the Agunloye and Alowolodu families to produce an Alaafin on a rotational basis. Since the Late Alaafin is from Alowolodu, the next Alaafin will emerge from the Agunloyes.
Let’s have a look at 5 frontrunners (in no particular order) in the race to become the next Alaafin
1) BISHOP AYO LAWRENCE LADIGBOLU
Born almost 85 years ago, Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu could be described as urbane, educated, and cosmopolitan. A great theologian, he has deep knowledge of Christianity, Islam, and the traditional religion. It is important to mention that he was very close to the late Alaafin and has been described as one of the few mortals the late Alaafin conferred with.
His major drawback is the yearning that the ideal candidate to be installed as the next Alaafin should be a mix of energy and experience. Turning 85 in June, age is not on his side. Also, he is seen as part of the old guard, hence his emergence could be seen as a continuation of Alaafin Adeyemi’s reign. Many have called on him to withdraw from the race and support a younger Ladigbolu.
2) LUKMAN ADELODUN AYINLA GBADEGESIN.
Oyo town and indeed all Yoruba sons and daughters were shocked by the supposed announcement of Lukman Adelodun Gbadegesin as Alaafin-designate, which was later debunked as fake news.
He once served as Personal Assistant to Alhaji Aruna Elewi, a Minister during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration and he is said to be an associate of former vice president Atiku Abubakar.
The grandson of Alaafin Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II, Adelodun is said to have a deep pocket and would leave no stone unturned in his quest to emerge as the new monarch.
The major drawback is the perception that he believes the power of money would land him the throne. Also, it is believed that other branches of the Agunloye ruling house should have the chance since the last king from the family is Gbadegesin, who is Lukman’s grandfather.
3) HAKEEM ABIODUN LADIGBOLU
Born 53 years ago into the family of the late Prince Lasisi Sanda, Abiodun had his primary and secondary education in Oyo before bagging a degree from the University of Lagos and thereafter relocating to Ireland.
Abiodun was the pioneer President of Egbe Ọmọ Yoruba in Clare, Ireland, an Association for Nigerians in county Clare, Ireland. In these capacities, he has been promoting Yoruba culture globally through various means. Over years, he has been said to be sponsoring the education of indigent students in Oyo.
The major drawback is the fact that he is based in Europe, although he maintains close touch with his roots as he visits Oyo frequently.
4) ISIAKA REMILEKUN ENIITAN ADENYA
One of the young Turks in the race, little was known about Remilekun until the passage of the late Alaafin. He is said to be an associate of the Ooni of Ife.
The major drawback is that little is known about him
5) KABIR ADEBAYO GBADEGESIN
Another grandson of Alaafin Gbadegesin, Kabir is a trained Engineer and security expert. He contested the 2015 elections for Oyo Federal Constituency on the platform of Accord, losing to Prince Akeem Adeyemi.
Kabir is seen as a bridge builder who is versed in Yoruba culture and tradition
Just like his cousin Lukman, his major drawback is the strong agitation that Gbadegesin should allow others to emerge since the last Alaafin from Agunloye is Alaafin Gbadegesin.
As you must know, who wears the crown after Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III is not my question to answer, I leave that to the Oyo Mesi and Governor Makinde.