Alaafin Adeyemi, the third from the Alowodu Ruling House, died in the late hours of Friday at the Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti, the capital of Ekiti State in South-West Nigeria.
The remains of the top Yoruba traditional ruler were brought to Oyo town, 62 kilometres from Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, in the early hours of Saturday and traditional rites began.
He was 83 years old and the longest reigning Alaafin ever, having ruled for 52 years.
The Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, is expected to make an official announcement upon receiving the report of the monarch’s passing from the Bashorun of Oyo, Yusuf Akinade, the head of the ‘Oyo Mesi’, who will now lead Oyo town before a new Alaafin is installed.
The monarch had been sick and a plan had been made to fly him abroad before he passed on late Friday night.
A source familiar with the medical travel plan said his tickets and those of a few wives were already procured.
His death came months after the two other senior Oyo State monarchs – the Olubadan of Ibadan, Saliu Adetunji, and the Soun of Ogbomoso, Jimoh Oyewumi – died. All happened in less than five months.
A new Olubadan has been installed but the Soun throne remains vacant.
Alaafin Adeyemi was born Lamidi Olayiwola Atanda Adeyemi on October 15, 1938 into the Alowolodu Royal House of the famous Oyo town.
He was crowned on November 18, 1970, succeeding Oba Gbadegesin Ladigbolu I. He was known popularly as Iku Baba Yeye.
While he reigned, he was the permanent chairperson of the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs.
With the demise of Alaafin Adeyemi, it is now the turn of the Agunloye Ruling House to produce the next Oyo monarch. Mr Adeyemi’s predecessor, Alaafin Ladigbolu, was from the Agunloye House.