In the early hours of this morning, this newspaper reported the passage of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba (Dr.) Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III.
The Alaafin died in the late hours of Friday after a brief illness.
He ruled for 52 years before his demise, making him the longest-reigning Alaafin.
He was aged 83.
However in a swift response, the Palace in a statement by Alaafin’s Media and Publicity Director, Bode Durojaiye denied that the Alaafin is dead.
He said the Alaafin is hale and hearty.
The statement read, “It has come to the notice of the Office of the Director of Media and Publicity to the Alaafin of Oyo about a fake report making the wave in the social media, by a disgruntled group of bloggers, about the imaginary death of His Imperial Majesty, IKu Baba Yeye, Oba (Dr.) Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111, the Alaafin of Oyo.
“Members of the public are hereby urged to disregard the unfounded report , as the Paramount Ruler is hale and hearty.
“Precisely on Monday and Tuesday this week, Oba Adeyemi, accompanied by some of his wives (Ayabas), children, aides and well wishers was at the Durbar Stadium ,Oyo, for physical fitness exercises as usual.
“He has neither fallen sick nor rushed to the hospital for any serious ailment, hence he and his family remain agile and active .
“The general public should not entertain any fear at all, as IKu Baba Yeye is healthy, physically fit and mentally stable.”
African Kings Death And Announcement
The Alaafin Of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi III, is not ‘dead’, at least traditionally.
That is what the ‘rule’ says in this part of the world. Even when his passage has been confirmed, it is an abomination or considered a big sacrilege to say the king is dead.
Kings do not die; they only transit. They join their ancestors. So Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, like, Soun Of Ogbomoso, Olubadan of Ibadan who all died recently, Ooni Of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, Olu Of Warri Ogiame Ikenwoli I and Oba of Benin Oba Erediauwa who are considered dead are living.
But fatally, they’re wounded and won’t hold court again. No chieftaincy installations. No courtesy visits. The chapter closes, the music ends, curtains are drawn, the beats go low and the light dims.
The reason most deaths of Kings are denied or shrouded in secrecy is due to some burial rights that must be performed.
And most time what happens is that the media beat the palace to the protocol and tradition of announcing his passing, so they deny to cover for that gap. This is expected considering the age we are – digital. But must such cover up be outright denial and branding of media practitioners ‘disgruntled’?
What our Palaces should understand is that the age we are has overtaken that practice of waiting for a special announcement of a King’s passage and fit into current trend. Truth is Iku Baba Yeye has gone to be with his ancestors. ‘The King is dead, long live the King’.
(Additional report by The Gatekeepers)