THE POWERS OF BABA IYAJI IN DETERMINING WHO BECOMES THE NEXT ALAAFIN OF OYO
Written by Oladotun Oladele (Media Director to the Alaafin 08037250845)
History has it that separation of powers started with the Oyos though it was not written. The principle of separation of powers was the cabinet system of the Alaafin to prevent abuses and arrogation of power. The Alaafin was the President but there were due process and established structures in Oyo. Nothing was ever left in abeyance because for every need there was an established process. When the British came, they acknowledged that there was an already established system of governance and it dated back to the 1500.
In Oyo Alaafin, there is a popular song and the song goes thus “N’Iyaji, Niyaji, gbogbo Omoba, niyaji ni ile (literal translation: At Iyaji, at Iyaji all the children of the king, Iyaji is home). It is no longer news that the most revered stool of the Yorubas which is the ancient throne of the Alaafin of Oyo, the greatest traditional ruler in Yorubaland who founded the only empire which lasted for over 600 uninterrupted years, the old Oyo Empire. The Yoruba language is the language of Oyo and that is the language that is been used till today to write all the literature books and newspapers used in all educational institutions.
The entire world has been waiting patiently, frantically with apprehension on the succession to the throne of the Alaafin of Oyo to see what will happen in Oyo since the great throne became vacant. The former Alaafin Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III who reigned in Oyo for over 51yrs like every curtain will fall someday and the curtain have finally fallen and the throne which he occupied is vacant and there is need to fill that throne and there is no room for vacuum because there are princes who can occupy the throne.
Information at hand is that we have 119 candidates jostling for this highly prestigious throne. There is a gazette that spells out the selection of the Alaafin upon vacancy of the throne. The laid down procedures is that all Princes will go to the Baba Iyaji who is the head of all the princes and princesses and he is saddled with the responsibilities of receiving applicants and applications for the prestigious throne. He also exercises the power of presenting suitably qualified candidates (i.e should be after interviewing and screening of prospective candidates) to the Oyomesi for the final selection and announcement of the Alaafin.
The fact today remains that none of the current Oyomesis were part of the Oyomesis when Alaafin Ladigbolu II was on the throne and they were not part of the process for the installation of the Alaafin Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III who just passed to the great beyond. From reliable information gathered the princes who desired to occupy the vacant traditional stool of Oyo were required to obtain expression of interest forms and after the entire process of interview and screening would be presented to the Oyomesi for the final selection.
The responsibilities and powers of Baba Iyaji are to receive all applications to the throne of Alaafin expression of interest forms and afterwards present the successful candidates to the Oyomesi. The powers of the Baba Iyaji in the selection process is well understood by the Princes that he determines the number of candidates that he would present to the Oyomesi for final selection and traditional works. The Baba Iyaji have the responsibilities of screening all candidates that have applied to become the Alaafin and present a list of successful candidates after they have been pruned down to a sizable number to ensure the selection process is done.
The powers vested in Baba Iyaji is such that he can choose to present the number of candidates he deemed important for final selection by the Oyomesi. There is no government either at the federal, state or local government that supercede the powers of the Baba iyaji in the selection of the new Alaafin. To avoid litigation issues given the large number of applicants Baba Iyaji would be expected to have conducted interviews for all the listed candidates and prune down the numbers before presenting the candidates to the Oyomesi. No one can determine the number of candidates the Baba Iyaji can present to the Oyomesi.
Except this process is followed, the number of litigations that will emanate as a result of the lack of principle of fair hearing and following due protocols will be so much. The Baba Iyaji would be sued for having shortchanged the princes and not given them fair chance of been heard to be considered for the throne and this would not be good for Oyo Alaafin after the departure of the last Alaafin.
The world never knew all this as they were thinking it was the Oyomesi that would do the screening and interview. The incumbent Baba Iyaji must wake up to his responsibilities and set the records straight and doing what is right. If the Baba Iyaji fails, then we are likely not going to have an Alaafin in Oyo very soon. Hence there is need for all to join hands and work with the Baba Iyaji in the selection process before the Oyomesi final works on selecting the Alaafin. Like when Alaafin Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III was selected, it was all after the then Baba Iyaji had finished all the necessary works and presented the pruned down candidates for final selection.
The world is watching what happens next and we all hope that the Baba Iyaji will do the needful so we can have a new Alaafin on the throne.