Home Opinion Alaafin Stool: Prince Dr. Ajibade Adeladan, Oyo And A Date With Destiny...

Alaafin Stool: Prince Dr. Ajibade Adeladan, Oyo And A Date With Destiny | Moses Olajide


In the history of the people of Oyo, in Oyo State, South-West, Nigeria, nothing appears to be so epochal as much as the passing of a ruling Alaafinand the appointment of a new one. In fact, this reality goes beyond the Oyo people as it is also shared by the larger Yoruba ethnic group both in Nigeria and the greater Diaspora.

In signposting this, The Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, Osogbo, Nigeria, in 2018, situated this significance. According to the centre One of the most significant features of Yorubaland was the existence in the geographical zone now described as Southwestern Nigeria, of the ancient and powerful Kingdom (and later Empire) of Oyo under the direction of the Alaafin of Oyo. The role and depth of Oyo’s influence in nurturing a Yoruba identity and consciousness among the Yoruba has continued to resonate across generations and boundaries. It also became the basis for a global understanding of the capacity of the black race to construct an enduring political and social arrangement. The role that the Alaafin played in this has been extremely remarkable.

The Yoruba who today are found in the Southwestern part of Nigeria, the Republics of Benin and Togo, Brazil, Cuba, Trinidad and other places in the Caribbean have continued to imagine the glory and renown of the empire and the consciousness created by the Kingdom of Oyo and its Alaafins. Oyo has continued to live on in the lives, arts and the socio-cultural, economic and political arrangements prevalent among the Yoruba people, their neighbours and the African Diaspora.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Oyo was the dominant political power in Yorubaland and beyond. It also became a major centre for exchanging goods from the forest areas and the coast. The Alaafin was the master of the realm spreading from the Savannah and as far afield as modern Benin and Togo Republics in the West African sub-region.  Oyo also gave a major identity to Yorubaland. The name Yoruba was initially used for the Oyo speaking people, their empire and dialect until the 19th century when European explorers applied the name widely to other Yoruba sub-groups. Thus, until the collapse of the Oyo empire in the early 19th century, its dominance and commercial links with different parts of the world provided the basis for stability that protected Yorubaland from aggression or untoward experiences. The role, position, and relevance of the Alaafins in the colonial and post-colonial arrangement have equally proved remarkable in nation-building and human understanding.

This critical backcloth underpins the global attention which greeted the demise of the last Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, and an even much greater anticipation wrapping the ascension of the next Alaafin of Oyo. Despite the unnecessary rucus, for the appointing people of Oyo and the Oyo State government, nothing is amiss. The governor, Engineer Oluseyi Makinde, explained that the process to select a new Alaafin would not go beyond the Alaafin of Oyo Chieftaincy Declaration, in spite of calls from some people to recognise other royal families.

“Let our people in Oyo Town know that some people came to me and said that the first Alaafin gave birth to about 13 children and that only two out of them were recognised and that this is an opportunity to bring in others. “And, I asked them, if it is in the Alaafin Declaration, but they said it is inside a Declaration that was not signed. I told them a new Alaafin will be selected only through the Declaration that was signed,” Makinde declared.

This critical moment in Oyo’s history calls for caution. The list of interested parties is long. Yet one of the candidates towers higher than them all. With a formidable pedigree, global connect, an impeccable career record, and an outstanding trajectory, the people of Oyo town’s date with destiny is here. None other fits the cap of the next Alaafin as much as Prince Dr. Ajibade Adeladan.

Prince Dr Ajibade Adedayo Aremu Adeladan was born a few months after Nigeria joined the list of countries to gain independence. His birth to the household of Prince Samuel and Mrs Rachel Adeladan occurred at the General Hospital in Oyo, on January 4, 1961. Although his father was a frequent traveller, considering his position as the national manager of Pfizer at the time, Prince Dr Adeladan spent his growing-up years in Lagos, where his parents were based. As part of his early education, Prince Dr Adeladan was enrolled at a primary school in Ibonwon, Epe, after which in 1972, upon graduation, he got admission into Olivet Baptist High School in Oyo, which he attended from 1972 to 1977. From Olivet Baptist High School, he proceeded to the Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos State, which he attended between 1977 and 1979 and got his Higher School Certificate (Advanced Level).

Upon graduating with flying colours in 1979, he got admission to study Medicine at the University of Ibadan, finishing in 1984, after which he went to the Adeoyo State Hospital in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, for his housemanship (internship) training which ran between 1984 and 1985. In Borno State, where he served at the Kukawa Community Hospital in Kukawa Local Government Area as his assignment for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, Prince Dr Adeladan was the only medical on duty at the LGA at the time. Upon finishing the NYSC programme, he worked in several private hospitals, including the AjayiMemorial Hospital and Alalade Memorial Hospital, both in Lagos. Afterwards, he participated in a specialist training in General Surgery at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, and went on to become a Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons in 1995.

In eight years from 1995, he worked as a surgeon in several countries including Jamaica, Turks and Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands, as well as the United States Virgin Islands. Before he got his board certification in Addiction Medicine in 2012, Prince Adeladan received specialist training in Psychiatry at the Ivy League Columbia University in New York City, where he was later made a Chief Resident. This was followed by his becoming board certified in Psychiatry and Neurology in April 2009.

Aside from his career path in Nigeria, he has been employed in the United States, including New York, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Colorado, and California.

That the destinies of Oyo people and that of Prince Dr. Adeladan have long been forged by God is today without doubt. The search for the next Alaafin of Oyo clearly has been fulfilled in the person of Dr. Adeladan. Aside possessing a guiding vision and drive for Oyo’s development, Dr. Adeladan’strajectory shows one who prioritises passion and integrity. For him, empathy, optimism, altruism, discernment and modesty have been key-drivers of his personality. Oyo couldn’t have found a better royal-born to ascend the throne of the Alaafin. The appointment of Prince Dr. Adeladan as the next Alaafin will not only be a God-ordained anticipated occurrence, but one which is especially in the form of an encounter that will be momentous.

Olajide is a lawyer and a business mogul.

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