ALAAFIN OF OYO THRONE: It’s the turn of the Ladigbolu family.  – How the next Alaafin will emerge

ALAAFIN OF OYO THRONE: It’s the turn of the Ladigbolu family.  – How the next Alaafin will emerge

by Arikawe Femi
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ALAFIN OF OYO THRONE: It’s the turn of the Ladigbolu family.  – How the next Alaafin will emerge

By: Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu, rtd.


Since the demise of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, the former Alaafin of Oyo, there have been torrents of speculation about the emergence of his successor and the criteria for his selection. Adeyemi succeeded Alaafin Gbadegesin Ladigbolu in 1970, and after 52 years on the throne, civilisation has greatly influenced the tradition and culture of the ancient town.

There has also been a change in the number of Oyomesi — the prominent palace chiefs who are known as the kingmakers. 
But despite these changes, the existing chieftaincy declaration still serves as a guide for the selection of Oyo kings.



By declaration there are two royal houses in Oyo, Alowolodu and Agunloye. The two families are to take turns ascending the throne. The late Alaafin was from the Alowolodu royal family, so it is now the turn of the Agunloye family. The Agunloye family is also known as “Ladigbolu” or “Gbadegesin” in some quarters.


Is there a distinction to be made between Ladigolu and Gbageginsin?

Clarifying the confusion over the names, Ayo Ladigbolu, a retired archbishop of the Methodist Church and a prominent elder of the Ladigbolu family, said they are one family under the Agunloye royal house. He said: “The late Alaafin Gbadegesin was the son of Alaafin Ladigbolu. The full title was Oba Belo Gbadegesin Ladigbolu the Second.” The father was the first, and the next one from the family will be the third.”


How is the successor nominated?
Based on the chieftaincy declaration, the ruling house that is to produce the next king, in this case, the Agunloye house, will nominate candidates at a meeting which will be summoned by the head of the family. The candidate or candidates will then be presented to Baba Iyaji, a titled prince of Oyo, who will subsequently submit the names to the Basorun, head of the Oyomesi. The Basorun will then summon a meeting of the kingmakers and present the list to them.

Explaining further, Ladigbolu said the candidate acceptable to the majority of the kingmakers will be proclaimed the next Alaafin.


Who are the kingmakers?

“There are seven kingmakers according to the declaration. “They are Basorun, Asipa, Agabaakin, Alapinni, Lagunna, Shamu, and Akiniku. But Asipa is no longer existing, so there are only six kingmakers remaining.” Only a male may be proposed. Apart from the government declaration that guides the selection of Alaafin of Oyo, the Oyomesi (kingmakers) will have the final say. Although seven kingmakers were once recognized, the number has dwindled with the nullification of one of them. According to Ladigbolu, women are exempted from being considered for the throne of Alaafin of Oyo.

The chieftaincy of Oyo has an official declaration. It was made under section four, sub-section two of the chiefs’ law, cap. 19, of the customary law regulating the selection of the Alaafin of Oyo chieftaincy. “The person who may be proposed as a candidate shall be through the male line only.”

Any Specific Time Frame?

There is no specific time frame for the selection of the next king of Oyo because it all depends on those who run the process, says Ladigbolu. Although the family will be given 14 days to hold a meeting and submit a list to Baba Iyaji, if the list contains more than one name, the process will take a longer time. The kingmakers may have to interview the individuals presented before making a decision. The selection of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi took a bit longer than expected because of the political atmosphere then, “he said.


“There was a lot of tension and litigation, so it was not a smooth process.” We pray that this time there will not be a delay, just like Seyi Makinde, the state governor, appealed to the kingmakers to be quick about the process.


Does the Agunloye (Ladigbolu/Gbadegesin) family already have preferred candidates for the kingmakers?

It is too early to start considering, “He said”. It would be irresponsible to begin the process while the town is still mourning the passing of Alaafin Adeyemi.


“I am from the Agunloye ruling family, but it is too early to meet. This is a mourning period because we just lost a king. I have been busy since Alaafin died, and it will continue till after the eighth day, “said the retired cleric.


All-comers’ affair
In selecting the next Alaafin, the law does not specify age, educational background, knowledge of the tradition and culture of Oyo or personal wealth as criteria. All males of the Agunloye are qualified to come forward and signify their intention to become the next Alaafin.


Will the next king use the late Alaafin’s palace?

The present palace was not the property of the late king, It is the traditional seat of the Oyo royal throne and all kings reign from there, except when it is under renovation or reconstructions . Alaafin means the owner of the palace. Oranyan was the first owner. “The palace is where the king resides,” he said.


Source : Mockinbird

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