The word “Alaafin” means the owner of the palace. The title given to the King of the Empire of Oyo (Alaafin) is not replicated in any other Yoruba ethnic group or variant.
The Alaafin occupies a unique position on the administration and it has the freedom to operate, ie Kabiyesi (tradition says that the decision of Alaafin is final) once declared.
History says that Alaafin is the sovereign of all Yoruba chiefs, the authority of Alaafin extended to Accra in the West to the shores of Niger in the East and developed a highly sophisticated political structure to govern its territorial domains and its system of reign distinguished itself with original models.
A developed, though not written, Constitution has evolved. The average Yoruba man is governed by the strong Convention.
Each province was ruled by its own chosen king of the local dominant lineages, but these were led by Alaafin and the capital’s system of government was repeated on a smaller scale in the provincial cities of the kingdom.
The Alaafin is also considered as “Igbákejì Òrìsà”, meaning “The Second in command after òrìsà “; His position as divine ruler is solidified through various traditional rites. He is the head of his people in the inseparable sphere of administration, religion and justice.
Oyo is the center of the cultural and political civilization of the Yoruba race with a living royalty system that remains an excellent governance pivot and any attempt to destroy this tradition is the safest way to ruin modernization.
The Alaafin of Oyo being the guardian of customs and tradition has the legacy of preserving the immemorial tradition that is part of the identity and memory of the Yorùbá race.
Lamidi Olayiwola Atanda Adeyemi, the present Alaafin of Oyo descended from the Alowolodu family, was born on October 15, 1938. It is the current Alaafin of Oyo of the acclaimed Traditional Yoruba Land situated in the present-day state of Oyo in Nigeria.
His Imperial Majesty, King Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, the Alaafin of Oyo, occupies the highest position of the traditional Yoruba monarchy and recognized as the supreme ruler of the Yoruba race, has a legacy to protect Oyo’s traditional royalty system.
Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Atanda Adeyemi III is the son of Alaafin Adeyemi II, the late Alaafin of Oyo. In 1971, on 14 January, Lamidi Adeyemi succeeded Alaafin Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II.
His Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Atanda Adeyemi III, The Alaafin of the Oyo, is undoubtedly a classy monarch. To say that he is an enigma by every standard is an understatement, as many who have had an interaction with him testify that “a moment with him is like an exploratory adventure through the school of history”. He is undoubtedly one of Africa’s most powerful and influential kings, lived two decades and more than half a century in decades of meeting the natural appeal of ancestors and their people.
Oba Adeyemi III was selected on November 18, 1970 and entered the palace after having finished the necessary rites. In the process, he was introduced into the mysteries of Sango and other Orisa. He also submitted himself to these rites in order to be the direct representative of Sango on earth. He passed through these processes in order to know all the proverbs, songs of all the Alaafins of the past.
In addition he went through various purification and cleansing processes in the ancient Orisa shrines where Alaafin Adeyemi III made an alliance with his ancestors, which he would defend, protect and add glamour to Yoruba norms and traditions; promising to be the icon, the embodiment of Yoruba culture, and has since taken his covenant seriously and delivered the dividends of his alliance.
Once someone becomes Alaafin, the totality of his life is at the service of the people and humanity in general. Alaafin has no life of its own; day and night he is for the service of the Yoruba race and of mankind.
In 1980, the federal government appointed Kabiyesi Oba Adeyemi as the pioneer Chancellor of the newly created University of Sokoto, now Uthman dan Fodio University, Sokoto.
It should be noted that during this period, Oba Adeyemi III presented several academic memoranda, based on university education and on contemporary issues published both nationally and internationally. The University, in appreciation of its contributions and achievements, honored him with the degree of Doctor in Letters (LL. D), Honouris Causa.
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During his tenure as Chancellor, the University recorded absolute peace because the normal calendar was never interrupted for a day.
His dreams and determination for success led him to heed the appeals of his ancestors, forgetting his own personal life because of others; He has become an icon, no doubt an Iroko tree: where all the birds of the universe find their rest.
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