While Akure, the capital of Ondo State continues to mourn the sudden death of their revered monarch, Oba Adebiyi Adesida Afunbiowo II who passed on in the early hours of Sunday, the Deji-in-Council has announced the commencement of the final rites for the Oba. The town has worn a sober look since Sunday while Oja Oba, the market opposite the palace is devoid of commercial activities. Oba Adesida Afunbiowo’s body was on Monday placed on a palace throne where the chiefs took turns in paying homage to him for the last time. Meanwhile, there are suspicions that the monarch who passed on after complaining of a slight headache might not have died of natural causes. Earlier in the year, a rumour had spread like wild fire round the capital of Ondo State that the Oba had passed on. At that time, Oba Adesida was away in the United States. That prompted a colourful procession on his arrival in August in which the monarch, his Olori and chiefs paraded Akure town to show that indeed, Kabiyesi was alive and well.
Findings have shown that it is believed in some quarters that the departed monarch might have been poisoned. That belief has been hinged on the fact that Oba Adesida did not show signs of ill health before he passed on.
Incidentally, meanings are also being read to the Oba’s demise, especially as Ondo State has lost some prominent indigenes and leaders within a matter of months.
Akure too has lost quite a number of leaders within the last one year, including a traditional ruler and at least two High Chiefs who happened to be kingmakers. Back in 2010, Akure’s longest serving High Chief and kingmaker, the Asamo, High Chief Josiah Olusanya died. For more than 5 decades, he was the Asamo and custodian of the Obanifon shrine. He was the only one left among the chiefs installed by Oba Ademuwagun Adesida who ruled Akure between 1957 and 1973.
Prominent title holders who passed on within the last one year in Akure include the Elemo of Akure, High Chief Bolanle Adedipe, a member of the Deji-in-Council and prominent kingmaker. The well-respected lawyer and Second Republic House of Reps member was the third man to the Deji in Akure hierarchical order. He was known to be instrumental to the 2010 ascension of Oba Adesida.
The Osolo of Isolo, a town under Akure, Oba Olukayode Oluwatuyi too passed on around September. Though some sections in Akure believe the Osolo has the status of a High Chief, traditionally, it is a known fact that the Osolo emerges only after kingmakers in Isolo have sat and chosen a candidate who is presented to the Deji for approval.
Though most chiefs have declined comments and have resolved to leave the Deji-in-Council to carry the people along, an Akure prince who spoke with Street Journal on the condition of anonymity disclosed that “the issue of poisoning should be ruled out. Nobody poisoned Kabiyesi. We all know his son just got married in Lagos about two weeks ago and that entailed some stress. His blood pressure probably shot up and what I heard was that he got medical attention but when he eventually passed on, there was nothing anyone could do. Maybe if there was oxygen to aid his breathing, maybe he wouldn’t have died.”