The government now has a list of princes who have been nominated by the traditional head of the royal families to become the next Alaafin of Oyo.
On Tuesday, Baba Iyaji Mukaila Afonja of Oyo delivered a list of 86 princes to the Atiba Local Government secretariat, which is responsible for maintaining the Palace of the Alaafin.
This newspaper has learned that the official prince screening will begin on September 5.
Mr. Afonja wrote in a letter obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, “I thus submit the collated list of 86 applicants who have showed interest in the vacant stool of Alaafin of Oyo from the Agunloye family.”
Among the better-known names on the list are those of former Obasanjo government official Lukman Gbadegesin, retired Archbishop Lawrence Ladigbolu, Accord candidate for the 2015 election in Nigeria’s Oyo Federal Constituency Kabir Gbadegesin, and civil servant Ayo Sanda.
Earlier in August, the government of Oyo State ordered the local government to initiate the formal administrative process to choose the next Alaafin. The head of the local administration, Mojisola Olakojo, subsequently requested that Mr. Afonja forward the aforementioned list to her.
Since Alaafin Lamidi Adeyemi’s death in April, the top Yoruba traditional seat has been unoccupied. Adeyemi, who passed away at the age of 83, was crowned king in the latter half of 1970 and reigned for nearly 52 years.
The screening process, according to sources among the selected princes, Oyo Mesi, and local government officials, will begin on Monday.
Oyo Mesi, the kingmakers, will interview ten prospective heirs to the throne every day in the presence of high-ranking government officials. Therefore, “approximately” two weeks are needed to complete the screening process.
During the interviews, a member of the Oyo Mesi said, candidates will be evaluated on their experience, social capital, network, leadership talents, knowledge of Yoruba history and culture, and capacity to demonstrate their potential to provide pan-Yoruba traditional leadership.
Meanwhile, the Agunloye family only sent 49 names to the Baba Iyaji for the screening, but he provided 86, therefore he must have accepted interest from princes outside the family’s selection process.
The Agunloye and Alowolodu families each have the right to produce an Alaafin every so often under the terms of the current Alaafin Chieftaincy Declaration from 1961. It is now the turn of the Agunloye.
Both families trace their ancestry back to Abiodun Atiba, who in 1837 relocated Oyo to its current location.
There is some agitation, however, from the descendants of Atiba’s other sons besides Alowolodu and Agunloye to have the right to produce the next Alaafin.
At the state burial of the Alaafin, Governor Seyi Makinde openly rejected their protest by stating that the 1961 decree is still in effect.
The conventional establishment has apparently also chosen to move forward with the selection process by relying on the proclamation made in 1961.
The Oyo Mesi will meet with diviners and then recommend the 45th Alaafin to the state administration.
This report is accompanied with the letter and the list of proposed princes.
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