People & Culture

Meet Lukman Gbadegesin, The New Alaafin Selected By Oyo Kingmakers (pics)

The Oyo Mesi, a group of kingmakers, selected a new Alaafin of Oyo last year to replace the late Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, who passed away in April 2022, according to documents obtained by PREMIUM TIMES.

Nearly 18 months since the throne became vacant, there has not been an official announcement of a new monarch by the Oyo State Government, with many blaming the kingmakers for delaying the selection process.

However, a proclamation document and a court judgment seen by this newspaper have now shown that the Oyo Mesi selected Lukman Gbadegesin and forwarded the name of the prince from the Agunloye Ruling House to the government since last year.

However, a proclamation document and a court judgment seen by this newspaper have now shown that the Oyo Mesi selected Lukman Gbadegesin and forwarded the name of the prince from the Agunloye Ruling House to the government since last year.

“We hereby proclaim Prince Lukman Adelodun Gbadegesin the new Alaafin,” the proclamation reads, signed by the five living Oyo Mesi members and two warrant chiefs selected by the government to replace deceased Oyo Mesi members.

The kingmakers said they received a list of 82 aspiring princes from the Baba Iyaji of Oyo, the head of all princes, Mukaila Afonja. By Oyo tradition and the Alaafin Chieftaincy Declaration, Baba Iyaji is empowered to collect the names of aspiring princes from the next ruling house and transmit them to the Bashorun, the head of Oyo Mesi.

The Bashorun would then convene a meeting of the kingmakers to take a vote and the prince with simple majority is to be proclaimed Alaafin.

As the proclamation shows, all the kingmakers signed for Mr Gbadegesin, whose grandfather, Alaafin Bello Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II, was the predecessor of the immediate past Alaafin Adeyemi III.

The proclamation was signed on September 30, 2022. According to the law, an aspirant or the ruling house has 21 days to petition the government to challenge the selection. But no such petition was written.

However, after the expiration of the 21-day window, a prince, Hakeem Ladigbolu, approached the court to set aside the selection process. But in a judgment given on December 19, 2023, an Oyo State High Court in Oyo Town, upheld the process leading to the selection of Mr Gbadegesin, court papers show.

However, despite the proclamation by the Oyo Mesi and the court judgment upholding the process, the government has yet to make a formal announcement, giving rise to concern that political interests might want to undermine the Oyo Mesi and foist another person on the ancient Yoruba town.

When contacted, the Bashorun of Oyo, Yusuf Akinade, confirmed the process has been concluded.

He, however, refused to disclose the name of the prince selected. Instead, he said, “we have submitted everything to the government, direct all other questions to the government, but we have completed the process.”