The selection of a new Alaafin of Oyo, the paramount ruler of the ancient town in Oyo State, has been marred by controversy and division among the kingmakers.
The seven kingmakers, who are also members of the Alaafin-In-Council or the Oyomesi, have disagreed on the nomination of Prince Lukman Gbadegesin as the candidate for the vacant throne.
Three of the kingmakers have rejected Gbadegesin’s nomination, saying it was ” inconclusive, improper, and defective,” and that it cannot stand.
They argued that the appointment of two warrant chiefs who joined the five original kingmakers to select Gbadegesin was illegal and invalid. They also claimed that the Ifa oracle, which is the traditional method of choosing the Alaafin, was not consulted in his selection.
The three dissenting kingmakers are High Chief Asimiyu Atanda (Agbaakin of Oyo), High Chief Lamidi Oyewale (Samu of Oyo) and Chief Olusegun Odunrinde (Baale Ajagba).
They issued a statement to express their position and to appeal to Governor Seyi Makinde to intervene in the matter. They said the governor had directed them to undertake the selection process again by following due process.
However, the other four kingmakers have insisted that Gbadegesin’s nomination was valid and unanimous, and that it followed due process.
They said the two warrant chiefs were appointed by the government and not by the Oyomesi, and that they had the right to participate in the selection.
They also said that all the seven kingmakers signed the letter nominating Gbadegesin, and that his name was forwarded to Makinde for approval and announcement.
The four supporting kingmakers are led by High Chief Yusuf Ayoola (Basorun of Oyo), who heads the Oyomesi.
They said Makinde did not reject Gbadegesin’s candidature, and that he is the rightful choice for the throne. They accused the other three kingmakers of being influenced by some external forces who are opposed to Gbadegesin.
The selection of a new Alaafin became necessary after the demise of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, who died on August 29, 2023, at the age of 83.
He was one of the longest-reigning monarchs in Nigeria, having ascended the throne in 1970. He left behind many wives and children, including Prince Gbadegesin, who is one of his sons.