By Yusuf Adua and Mojeed Adeyinka Ajibola
The new Baba Iyaji of Oyo land, High Chief Mukaila Afonja has expatiated on the seemingly esoteric signification of the position of the Baba Iyaji chieftaincy. He also addressed all sons and daughters of the ancient town.
The new Baba Iyaji who attended L.A. primary school, Idi ope Oyo, Ladigbolu Grammar School, Oyo, retired after gutty service at the Oyo state ministry of works, as works Superintendent in 2011.
Chief Mukaila went straight to history saying ” Iyaji and Atiba were siblings and after the death of their father, Iyaji wholeheartedly gifted the throne to his younger brother and offered to always be there in the running of the kingdom when it comes to advice, consultation and direction”.
To the high chief, the fact that the chieftaincy of Baba Iyaji is the senior of all titles in that chieftaincy line avails every Baba Iyaji the privilege of being the first-man to be consulted when any issue arises in the empire.
News Live Nigeria gathered that only four families are entitled to the phenomenal Iyaji chieftaincy vis-a-vis, Maradesa which provided the longest ever serving Baba Iyaji, Jokanola Ajodundun Sanda who reigned for thirty-six years, Anla which had Adeniran Akanbi who reigned for only ten years before he died, making him the Baba Iyaji that had the shortest run, Tijuuku and, Malomo bloodline, where the present holder, High chief Mukaila Afonja hails from.
Also, the distinguished administrator established clear differences and thickened the thin lines that exist between Baba Iyaji and the Oyomesi chieftaincy.
He said, ” From Tela Kokilagbon Orimadelewi ( 1838-1860), Chief Tijuuku Akanbi(1860–1880), Chief Malomo Anilelona (Malomo Family 1880– 1909), Chief Maradesa Ayinla (Maradesa family 1909– 1930), Chief Adeniran Akanbi( Ala family 1930– 1940), to Chief Okunola Ajodundun Sanda (Maradesa family 1940 –1976), Chief Laisi Jokanola Akanni (Tijuiku family 1986 –2018) and now me, the Oyomesi headed by the Basorun are the kingmakers while Baba Iyaji is the head of all the princes and princesses, the line is clearly different”.
It is pertinent, however to establish that, according to Chief M.O. Ogunmola, ” in the selection of the Alaafin in Oyo-Ile, the nomination was by the Royal Elders headed by the Ona-Isokun. Then, the candidate was handed over to the Oyomesis, headed by the Basorun. It was at this level that an incumbent was chosen.
But today, it is the Baba iyaji who exercises the role of shortlisting before handing over contestants to the Basorun for the deliberation of the Oyomesi( namely, Basorun, the head, Agbaakin, Samu, Alapinni, Laguna, Akinniku, Asipa and Ona-Modeke)”.
The high chief elucidated that the seat was unoccupied for good ten years from 1976 to 1986 owing to some undisclosed, privy reasons.
Between the 6th and 8th of March 2018 that the coronation of the new Baba Iyaji took place, Chief Afonja said that the whole rites were done in the palace with all the queens(Ayabas) in attendance excluding junior and titular chiefs.
This is a leading indicator highlighting the title as a strict in-house one. He said “the coronation was indeed chromatically opalescent. I collected beads, had a full house in attendance, people scattered joyfully all around the four walls of the palace and surroundings, distinguished personalities, and successful people all in attendance”.
“Dr. Kunle Ogunmola, Prince Adediwura Sanda, Prince Adelabu, Engineer Ismaila Hamzat(Abuja), Prince Biodun Sanda, Bayo Ogunmola, Akinade Sanda, Late Tajudeen Akinnu, Alhaji Kazeem Adebayo, Prince Azeez Alajiki (United States of America), all four local government chairmen in Oyo, Honourable Akeem Adeyemi just to mention a few are illustrious VIPs that graced the occasion”, the high chief recounted joyfully.
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However, Chief Afonja enjoined every youth that has Oyo blood running in their veins to avoid all rancorous behaviours, desist from wrongdoings, violence, and be peacebuilders.
He said, “Oyo is a pacesetter, we urge all our youths to ignore any bad head that wants to influence them or talk them to doing any social vice”.
Imploring parents not to pamper their wards, chief Afonja said, ” employ the services of anyone that can talk to your child to shun violence and if they fail to listen, report them to the police, they are your friends”.
When our correspondents quizzed the high chief about how best to develop the town, the 8th Baba Iyaji had this to say:
” I’m also using this viable medium to call on all Oyo youths who have made outstanding success in their fields but base outside Oyo, be it Lagos, Abuja, and outside Nigeria to come back home and invest their money, knowledge, and experience in the making and betterment of this fertile land.
For all of you that work home here, it is my prayer that you all make fulfilling breakthroughs but please face with passion that thing which you do; school or technical/vocational knowledge, squarely”.
Below is the table showing the Baba Iyajis, bloodlines and the years of reign:
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