The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III recently celebrated his 80th birthday amid pomp and pageantry where he spoke against the marginalisation of Nigerian monarchs in nation building.
He said that monarchs remain the cornerstones of building the country into a great nation and until traditional rulers are accorded their rightful positions in governance, political instability, with its multiplier effects on socio-economic and cultural well-being of Nigerians, would persist.
in what was termed a birthday message, Alafin pointed out that “Traditional rulers are the true leaders of the people and the closest to the grassroots and kings are the real owners of their towns and rulers of their people, for they are the custodians of history, culture and heritage of their people.”
In an interview with The Guardian, Oba Adeyemi recalled with nostalgia, the great exploits of the old Oyo Empire as pathfinder for other civilisations in other regions of the world at the time, saying: “The Oyo Yoruba people built the Oyo Empire of great territorial and political magnitudes long before empires were created by most other African peoples.
“The empire lasted for over 600 years, set up an unprecedented and unsurpassed political and economic system, based on its well-executed unwritten constitution/conventions and protected Yorubaland from external invasions.
“At the height of Oyo’s imperial power, it controlled over half of the whole of Yorubaland and beyond.
In fact, at the height of its power, the Oyo Empire was bounded to the north by the River Niger, to the east by Benin Kingdom, to the west by the frontiers of Modern Togo and to the South by the mangrove swamps and lagoons.
In fact, such kingdoms as Nupe, Borgu and Dahomey were under Oyo’s political suzerainty.
“The great Oyo Empire reached the zenith of its power during the reign of Alaafin Abiodun in the 18th century.
The greatest legacy Oyo Empire bequeathed to the entire world, one of the oldest systems of checks and balances and separation of power long before A.V. Dicey and Baron Montesquieu propounded the theories of rule of law and separation of powers.