Culture & TraditionOpinion

How to memorialize the Alaafin

By Festus Adedayo 

Gradually, the curtains are being drawn on the era of the late Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, the Alaafin of Oyo who left us in a thunderbolt manner. The eighth day inter-religious prayers were held yesterday. The next questions that will be asked from today are, how do we make this king live forever in our hearts and who is the next Alaafin?

Since over a week of his departure, the world has witnessed a rainbow of reactions to his ascension to the hereafter. While his iconic cultural representation has been lauded as standing out among Yoruba monarchs, the Alaafin personified the essence of the Yoruba and embodied a nexus to the nuggets that the people claimed are found in their tradition.

Alaafin was unpretentiously Yoruba. He lived and died it. In his restlessness, struggles and fight for a place for the Yoruba in the firmament of the Nigerian state, you could locate what he stood for.

It was gratifying that the governor of Oyo state, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has promised to organise a burial befitting of his huge intervention in the affairs of the Yoruba people, in Alaafin’s memory. No one needed to tell us that Oba Adeyemi drew attention to Oyo tate on the global map. As good as this is, nothing would gladden the heart of the Alaafin in the bosom of his ancestors where he holds court right now than preserving him. In this regard, there seem to me to be two things that are needed to be done.

One is that, Yoruba people must adequately let the world know that Alaafin’s time on earth was not in vain. How do we do this? It is in memorializing him. The most admirable way of doing this is to commit all Alaafin stood for into the memories of generations to come. We must consciously allow the unborn to come here and know that in the midst of a dearth of cultural fervor in this generation, one man stood out as representative of that dying essence.

By now, I expected Alaafin’s personal belongings and his paraphernalia of office to have been curated and kept jealously, preparatory to shipping them into a museum. Kabiyesi was a man of intellect who wrote so prodigiously and profoundly on issues of our contemporary society. All his writings, thoughts, clothes, shoes, even cars and other ensemble should be carefully curated and taken to a museum cum library to be built in the Oyo palace. Tourists from across the world who must have been hearing of this cultural and intellectual god in human skin would come visiting Oyo to interface with him and have a feel of his essence while on earth.

Again, Oyomesi must do the Yoruba this good; They must prepare the finest of their toothcombs in the search for an Alaafin Adeyemi-kind. This needle, even if hidden in the haystack of princes who would be nominated by the ruling house for the Alaafin stool, must be located. An affliction that has of recent hit Yorubaland is the infestation of Obaship with character-deficient candidates by political office holders. These kings have become afflictions rather than promoters of the mores, values and cultural essences of their people. With impunity, they slap tradition and culture in the face and dare the people to complain. Thank God, Governor Makinde has no godfather anywhere who would dash him a moral dwarf as the next Alaafin. He should please track the process of the succession rigorously and ensure that even if we cannot wholly replicate the exited Oba Adeyemi in his successor, we will not have his converse on the stool. The Oyo monarchy is too precious to Yorubaland for it to be occupied by execrable characters, piggy-princes without pedigrees, the likes of whom are being installed in palaces in the last few years. All eyes are on Oyo.

(Published by The Cable, May 1, 2022)

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