Alaafin Adeyemi III was born Lamidi Olayiwola Atanda Adeyemi on October 15, 1938 into the Alowolodu Royal House, and as a member of the House of Oranmiyan to Raji Adeniran Adeyemi (born 1871), who later became Alaafin in 1945, and Ibironke of Epo-Gingin, who died when he was young. His father is said to have had over 200 wives.
His paternal grandfather was Alaafin Adeyemi I Alowolodu, who ruled during the Kiriji War, and was the last independent ruler of the Oyo Empire before British coloniazation. Alaafin Adeyemi I’s father, and Adeyemi III’s great-grandfather was Oba Atiba Atobatele, who founded New Oyo. Atiba’s father, his great-great grandfather, was Alaafin Abiodun, and is a direct descendant of Oranmiyan, the founder of the Oyo Empire.
Alaafin of Oyo (Oba Lamidi Adeyemi): Profile summary
|Name||Lamidi Olayiwola Atanda Adeyemi|
|Intro||Traditional ruler, of the Yoruba state of Oyo in Nigeria|
|Birth||15 October 1938|
|Date of Death||22 April 2022|
Alaafin of Oyo (Oba Lamidi Adeyemi): Career
Oba Lamidi Adeyemi succeeded Alaafin Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II in 1971. This happened shortly after the end of the Nigerian civil war, when Colonel Robert Adeyinka Adebayo was the governor. Then, he was working as an insurance clerk. As the usual practice in the selection of the new Alaafin, after the death of Alaafin Bello Gbadegesin, the Oyomesi contacted Oranlola (Baba Iwo) of Alowolodu to become the Alaafin.
He then called for a meeting within Alowolodu royal family. He informed them of his meeting with Oyomesi and that he suggested his son, Sanda ‘Ladepo. All the members of the family agreed to this except Baba Salami Dudu. Baba Salami Dudu suggested Prince Lamidi Adeyemi a son to Alaafin Adeyemi Adeniran ll. The contention for the throne of the Alaafin became more intense to the extent that some of the princes from the larger royal families in Oyo became contenders. Among these were Aremo Sanni Gbadegesin, Prince Olanite Ajagba, Prince Afonja Ilaka, Prince Lamidi Adeyemi, and Prince Sanda ‘Ladepo Oranlola.
After all the intrigues, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi Olayiwola III emerged the Alaafin of Oyo in 1970 and was crowned on the January 14th, 1971. He emerged the first; defeating ten others after a vigorous screening exercise. However, due to what observer attested to be a political interference, the then government “refused to endorse my appointment, saying the procedure was not right” were the words of this great monarch during one of the numerous interviews he granted. So the process started over again with the same result the second and the third time. Interestingly, despite the immense pressure upon the Oyomesi ‘against his candidature by the government, the Oyomesi stood it ground. Thus the process was put in abeyance until after the civil war, when the whole process started all over again. To the relief of many and chagrin of the opposition, Oba Adeyemi III was elected the winner and was finally chosen by the kingmakers on November 18, 1970 and then moved into the palace after completing the necessary rites under the tutelage of the Oyomesi.
In 1980, the Federal Government appointed Oba Adeyemi as the pioneering Chancellor of then newly established University of Sokoto, now Uthman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, for a first four-year tenure. At the expiration of that first tenure, the senate and council of the University recommended him for another term. The president and visitor to the university graciously approved the request,thus he was appointed for a second term. And at the expiration of the second term, in an unprecedented manner, has was appointed for yet another term, the third term, thus giving him a total of 12 years as the Chancellor of the university, a feat yet to be matched by anybody in the annals of chancellorship of university of Nigeria.
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Alaafin of Oyo (Oba Lamidi Adeyemi): Personal Life, Wives & Children
Oba Lamidi Adeyemi had married two of his wives Alhaja Olori Abibat Adeyemi (Iya Dodo) and Alhaja Olori Rahmat Adedayo Adeyemi (Iya Ilekoto) before his ascension to the throne of his forebears. Some of his notable children are Late Alhaja Kudirat Akofade Erediuwa, Barrister Babatunde Adeyemi, Princess Folasade Arewaomoba, Princess Taibat Adeyemi, Prince Nurudeen Adesegun Adeyemi,Prince Akeem Adeniyi Adeyemi (Skimeh), and Prince Adebayo Fatai Adeyemi. He presently has seven wives and is a lover of boxing, as he was a boxer before ascending the throne of his Fathers. In February 2018, the 80-year old monarch welcomed a set of twins with one of his young wives, Memunat.
His children seem to be doing well across different sectors; Prince Akeem Adeyemi AKA Skimeh was a two-term Chairman, Atiba Local Government and the present honourable representing Afijio/Oyo East/ Oyo West/Atiba Federal Constituency in the House of Reps; Princess Adetutu Adeyemi-Akhigbe, the Honourable Commissioner of Culture in Governor Ajimobi’s first term and Princess Folasade Adeyemi, a cultural ambassador and CEO, Arewa House of Culture.
The Alaafin died on April 22, 2022 at the Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti in Ekiti State, at the age of 83, after reports of a brief illness. His reign of 52 years is the longest reign of any Alaafin of Oyo in history.His death was announced on several major Nigerian news networks on the morning of the next day, where his remains had already been returned to Oyo. His death was the third of a senior monarch in Oyo State within 5 months.
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