By Dayo Johnson, Akure

BY the time the 47th Deji of Akureland ascend the throne, maybe next year subject to his choice enjoying  popular acceptance, the ancient town would have produced four traditional rulers   within a span of 10years.

Indeed tongues are presently wagging over this ugly development in the ancient town.

The prevailing feeling that the stool seemed jinxed started after the late Oba Adebobajo Adesida joined his ancestors 13 years ago, triggering   hot dispute over the choice of his successor.

The selection of Prince Adegbola Adelabu met stiff rejection from notable indigenes of the town, even after he had completed all the traditional rites, except the last and the most important. After much dilly-dallying and political maneuvering the kingmakers, who had earlier unanimously endorsed Prince Adegbola, beat a retreat and opted for a fresh selection process just to do away with Prince Adelabu.

The Prince Adelabu saga engendered a   six years of interregnum as he laid claim to the throne, while his adversaries vowed that he could only be the next Oba of the town over their dead bodies. They eventually had their say and way as another Prince from the Osupa Ruling House,  residing in the United Kingdom, was drafted into the contest.

Prince Oluwadare Adepoju Adesina, however, was accepted by all the kingmakers and the leaders of the town and thereafter crowned the 45th Deji. He reigned for five years before he was deposed for what many called youthful exuberance and lack of respect for the kingmakers.

Oba Adesina engaged his wife Bolanle in a street fight, an action that was described as a desecration of the traditional stool in Yoruba land. This disgraceful act amongst other sins made him to lose the coveted seat and was subsequently dethroned. He has since jetted back to the UK.

Then entered yet another choice to throne,   Prince Adebiyi Adesida, who reigned for exactly three years and three months before he suddenly died. His   reign is the shortest in the history of the Akure dynasty.

His selection was characterised by so much intrigues that pitched the state government with the kingmakers. His close rival Prince Ademola Adegoroye was the choice of the kingmakers but some other forces kicked against his selection. After the voting by the   kingmakers   Prince Adesida reportedly defeated Prince Adegoroye by only  one vote which is still a subject of discourse till today in Akureland   and he became the Oba elect.

The reign of Oba Adesida, however, brought peace and tranquility and   much development to Akure metropolis, the state capital. He was loved by both the low and the high in the town. Oba Adesida also became the Chairman of the Council of Obas.

His sudden death left many guessing that maybe the stool is jinxed. Residents and indigenes of Akure woke up last week Sunday, the first day of December, to be confronted with the shocking news of the demise of their Oba. It was indeed a sad day in the palace of the 46th Deji of Akureland. Oba Adesida joined his ancestor at the age of 63.

Palace sources told Vanguard Metro, VM,   that the paramount traditional ruler died at about 2.30am last Sunday. A source said that the Oba had been ill for over a week before he finally bowed to the cold hands of death. His ill-health reportedly became complicated last weekend following which medical consultants were invited.

The consultants, according to sources, suggested that he should be taken abroad for medical treatment.
Governor Olusegun Mimiko was said to have visited him on Saturday and he approved that the Oba should seek medical treatment abroad as suggested by the consultants. The late Deji died that Sunday that he was supposed to have travelled abroad for further medical treatment.

Immediately the news  was broken, owners of shops within the Palace raced to their shops to evacuate their wares. This is because immediately an Oba dies all the markets located around the Palace called (Oja Oba) Oba’s market are shut until when another traditional ruler emerges which may dragged for months depending on many factors.

Another reason was to enable them make some   sales in view of the Christmas and New Year festivities and to prevent the looting of their shops   by miscreants.

However, Akure, the Ondo State capital has since the demise of the Oba   stood still   as both commercial and business activities remained paralysed. Reports said that it will be like that for seven days going by the tradition of the town.

Oba Adebiyi Adegboyaga Adesida
Oba Adebiyi Adegboyaga Adesida

His palace has   turned into a ‘Mecca’ since his demise as people both low and high across the state trooped in their hundreds to pay their last respects as his body “sit- in- state”, an indication that the king though dead was still immortal. The late Oba Adesida was made to sit on his throne dressed in a royal regalia which he wore during his last 63th birthday celebration, with a white   horse tail glued to his hand and the beaded crown on his head.

What was, however, missing   was that the ever-jovial, smiling Oba who sat on the throne could not exchange banters or crack jokes anymore with his subject who filed past to pay their last respects.

As the people passed by they greeted their Oba as if he still had life in him, but regrettably instead of his usual smiles and the   shaking of the horse whip in his hands it was one of his palace chiefs who stood   beside him that responded on his behalf. He could no longer speak.

All the shops across Akure metropolis would be closed in respect to the late   Oba for seven days, while the ones around the palace will remain shut until another Oba emerges.

Meanwhile, the seven traditional rites called Ijo Akure have commenced at the Palace of the Asamo one of the kingmakers. The Osupa ruling house is expected to nominate a successor to Deji going by the rotational arrangement in the two ruling houses   all things been equalThe late Oba Adesida was from the Ojijigogun ruling House.

The late Oba Adesida was born in 1950, to the royal family of Prince Josiah Stanley Adegboye of the Ojijigogun Ruling House. He graduated from the University of Ibadan with a degree in Agricultural Economics and obtained a Masters in Agric Business and Management.

Oba Adesida, before his ascension to the throne, worked as an Agricultural Credit Officer with the Ondo State Agricultural Credit Corporation as well as the Obasanjo Farms at Otta and later became one of the aides of former President Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007. Condolences from within and outside the state have continued to pour in for the late Oba.

Governor Olusegun Mimiko has described   his transition   as shocking. A   statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Eni Akinsola, said the news of the demise of the first class royal father and Chairman of Ondo State Council of Chiefs was shocking ”not because we do not know of the eventuality of death but that Afunbiowo II was not only vibrant and agile, but also active and had an aura of health and life around him”.

Mimiko stressed that the departed Deji emblazoned his name in gold on the history of Akure Kingdom and indeed the State within the short period he reigned on the throne of his fathers. Mimiko added that the people of the kingdom have lost a great father whose love for the kingdom is unparalleled.

“We are yet to come to terms with this sad news. We are still to fathom the gap that the demise would leave in our lives. We wait to take the full weight of this irreparable loss. The tiger has fallen into a deep sleep. This elephant has fallen. Oba Afunbiowo II has gone to the place of his forebears. We mourn him, we’ll miss him,” the Governor said.

Also, the   Director-General of the National Sports Commission, Gbenga Elegbeleye has expressed shock and sadness over the death of the Oba. Elegbeleye, who commiserated with Governor Mimiko and the people of Akure, disclosed that the death of Oba Adesida was a monumental loss to Akure and Ondo State. He said he was deeply mourning the monarch who was noted for sustaining peace in the state capital while on the throne. He prayed that God will give the royal family and the people of Akure the courage and fortitude to bear the loss.

Meanwhile, the regent, Princess Adetutu Ojei, who resides in the United Kingdom with her husband and children is expected to hold forth for the period another Oba will emerge.

Its is not clear if she would accept the offer because of the condition attached to the position; but if she declines her sister who is yet to marry may be considered.

Report says if she too declines the offer, then the Lisa of Akureland High Chief James Olusoga   who is the traditional Prime Minister of the town would step in to avoid a vacuum.


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