The Alaafin’s Royal Triplets – Traditional Yoruba Custom of Oyo Kingdom
Nigerian Tribune Newspaper Company
Wednesday June 3, 2009
EVERYTHING about the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, is unique, and this explained the style of the traditional naming of his youngest children, a set of triplets, held recently in the expansive palace.
For Ayaba Folasade Aisat Adeyemi, mother of the triplets, Adeola, female; Adeniran, male; and Adebunmi, female, no world can be better than this.
After the divine blessing of having a set of triplets at first child delivery, she is today one of the Ayabas with full initiations into royalty, capable of becoming a king’s mother one day. On Saturday, 23rd May, 2009, Ayaba Aisat faced one of the toughest tasks of her life when she was led into Ona Afe Compound, to be intiated alongside her children, into the Alowolodu Royal Family of the Oyo Alaafin.
The event, which lasted two hours was performed by Chief Ona Efa, assisted by the senior Ayabas and the Oyo-Mesi led by the Basorun of Oyo, Chief Yusuf Amuda Akinade. It was held between 12 noon and 2 p.m and while the ritual lasted, Ayaba Aisat must have seen what has become the totality of her life in the palace.
Why not? After Alaafin Atiba, the first Alaafin , who had a set of triplets, Ayaba Aisat has the singular honour of being the next to achieve the feat. She came into the palace a maiden about two years ago, and today, she occupies a unique position.
While speaking on the uniqueness of triplets in the Yoruba custom, Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu, a retired Bishop of Methodist Church of Nigeria, Ilesa Diocese, said in the past, when a couple has a set of triplets, the Oba of the town must first be informed, adding that when this was done, the Oba so informed, as a matter of tradition, must give everything he was adorned with while the message came, to the children as gifts.
He recalled that Oko Ile near Ogbomoso, was where the first set of triplets were born, leading to the Yoruba to give a traditional name of Eta Oko to all triplets.Like all other children of the Alaafin, part of the ritual which Ayaba Aisat undertook, was the determination of who among the late Alaafins the children had taken after. The royal geneological rituals, Ladigbolu said, was a process of establishing a link between the past and the present.
According to Yoruba mythology, every child is a reincarnation of somebody in his/her family lineage. And in the case of the Alaafin, any child born by a reigning Alaafin must take after one of the past Alaafins and the process of confirming this also helped to determine the faithfulness of an Ayaba to the King. And when such is confirmed, the Oriki of such an Alaafin is automatically trasferred to the new prince or princess as the case may be. Therefore, when he is angry or has done anything spectacular, he is praised with the oriki (cognomen).
Having satistified all the requirements, the Ayaba and her triplets were certified as having royal blood and what followed was that the drums were rolled out, and it was not long before Oba Adeyemi and others on the podium knew the result. Oba Adeyemi led all other royal guests to meet the Ayaba and her team and congratulated her.
Having scaled the hurdle of marital loyalty, Ayaba Aisat got a new car as gift from her husband, the Alaafin, aside many other gifts she got from friends and relatives. On the Friday that preceeded the celebration, Oba Adeyemi had summoned a few members of his kitchen cabinet and reeled out firm instructions on who to get what to make sure the occasion meets its royal billings.
About 12 cows, 10 bags of yam flour, 25 bags of rice, substantial quantity of chickens, fresh fish, soup ingredients and a large volume of money were lavished on the christening of the triplets. At about 6 p.m same day, Oba Adeyemi made a personal inspection to all the locations where arrangements were being made. At the Aganju Foresquare, venue of the event proper, those charged with the mounting of tents and sitting arrangements had a hetic time convincing Oba Adeyemi, a perfectionist, that they were doing the right thing, and that all was well.
A celebration of royalty indeed. No fewer than 20 prominent traditional rulers were on hand to join Iku Baba Yeye for this unique celebration. They included: the Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Oba Samuel Osungbade; the Osolo of Isolo, Oba Kabiru Agbabiaka, the Olu of Agege, Oba Lateef Adam; both from Lagos State, Iba of Kisi, Oba Mashood Lawal (represented); Aresa Adu of Iresa Adu, Oba Jimoh Oladunni Oloyede; Olugbo of Igbojaiye, Oba Olakolodo, Alepata of Igboho, Oba Johnson Oyeyiola; Olokaka of Okaka, Oba Azeez Ayoola Olatunji; Onisanbo of Ogbooro, Oba Salami Adedokun; Onigbope of Igbope, Oba Matthew Atoyebi; Onigbadi Agunrege, Oba J.A Audu Ejo; Onigbeti of Igbeti, Oba Emmanuel Oyebisi; Elero of Ilero, Oba Emmanuel Egunjobi, among others. Various trade groups and associations were also present, while representatives of Oyo indigenes in the 10 Northern states also graced the occasion.