Home » Transparency has brought me here’: Prince Noah Adelabu, Alaafin contender

Transparency has brought me here’: Prince Noah Adelabu, Alaafin contender

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Sesan Awobiye.

The demise of Oba Olayiwola Adeyemi III on April 22,2022, following a reign of 51 years, has initiated a intricate succession procedure for the 46 th Alaafin, with as many as over 200 princes competing for the revered stool from the onset. Now the process of selecting the new king has drastically reduced the number of contenders to three, and one of the remaining candidates is Prince Noah Afolabi Adelabu, a Police officer. In this interview he shares his experience, his family history and lessons in his bid to becoming the next Alaafin of Oyo. Excerpts:

Let’s meet you sir.

My name is Prince Noah Afolabi Adelabu. My father is from Oyo State.
What is the name of your father?
The name of my father is Mr. Laisi Afolabi Adelabu, while my mother’s name is Mrs. Nuratu Afolabi Adelabu. My mother is from Ogun state.
Tell us about your educational background
I attended Owu Methodist Primary School, Abeokuta. I finished my elementary school in 1983, from there I went to Premier Grammar School, I passed out in 1990. I joined Nigerian Prison Service in 1993. Which is warder, I spent six years as prison warder, I left in 1999. Then I put a letter of voluntary resignation, and they gave me my little entitlement. I joined the Police in year 2000 in a mass recruitment under former President Obasanjo administration. Then, in 2012, I gained admission into Olabisi Onabanjo University, I spent four years before I graduated in 2016. I studied Political Science and I came out with First Class. I am still in the Nigerian Police Force till date.

Where in Ogun State?

Tell us more about your family. How you are related with Adelabu family.
My father was born in Adegbite family. Adegbite had three children: Adegbite, Adesiyan and Adegoke. It is from Adegbite that Afolabi came out, that is why we use Afolabi Adelabu. My father is the second born of Adegbite, and Adelabu, my grandfather is the second born to Atiba. Atiba is the first king, the first occupant of Alaafin throne in Oyo . My great grandfather, Adelabu had six children. Adegbite came out from the six children, likewise Adegbile, and Adesiyan. I was not born then, but I heard heard the story that my great grandfather was suppose to be one of Alaafin. The Ifa picked my grandfather as Alaafin. A day before his installation as Alaafin, he needed to go to the Ipebi, a preparatory place for the incoming king, as he was about to enter, you know they were using a king do woven materials as curtain then, so as he opened it about to enter, he found his own younger brother, Adeyemi II, being prepared for coronation. He was shocked and angered by the betrayal. And my great grandfather then, was a very powerful hunter, he wanted to react, but he thought why would I do such a thing to my younger brother, he left the place with annoyance, with the drummers who had come to celebrate with him, when he got home; he called his fifty wives that he was leaving Oyo that day. His wives asked him why, he told them how the Oyomesi, (Council of kingmakers) had betrayed him. He left Oyo and moved down to Ibadan.
Then, Ibadan were using Baale, when they say my great grandfather, being one of the princes of Atiba, they thought he had come to take over their land. He told them he was not there to take over their land. He told them he had come to hide himself there, telling them what had happened to him in Oyo. Pitying him, they received and accommodated my great grandfather. They used to call him Adelabu Baba Ibadan. That name means that, if somebody like me, his great grandchild leaves Lagos and go to live in Ijebu area for like ten, twenty years, they can call me Afolabi Adelabu Baba Ijebu. That is how Baba Ibadan was attached to my great grand father’s name. If you get to Oyo, ask anybody you are going to the compound of Baba Ibadan, they will take you there. And our family compound is very big. Being a hunter, my great grandfather kept different kind of wild animals like leopard, crocodile, and so on. By the time his younger brother, King Adeyemi II passed on, he came back to Oyo, then, he had aged, over 100 years old, when he came back, people came to him, to come and ascend his rightful throne, but he shook his said that no, he was too old and weak for that throne, that he had born many children, you can pick any one of them when it is their turn. Eventually Lamidi Adeyemi III took over, so none of Adelabu’s grandchild came out for the throne, because all of them had gone or migrated to other places like Cote’d voire, Ejigbo, Iseyin, Ogbomoso. But Adeyemi III recognized everyone of us. My father didn’t take me to Oyo, because I was born in Mushin, in Lagos, but I was living in Abeokuta with my mother. My mother had three children. I am the last born of my mother. When I got 10 years, 12 years, during holidays, I would come to Lagos, to spend the holiday with my father. My elder sister is Alhaja Idayat Ajewale, followed by my immediate elder brother Lukmon Afolabi Adelabu, he is now late, and so it’s just me and Alhaja Idayat from my mother’s side. Whenever we went for the Ileya festival, I would ask my father, why don’t you usually take me to Oyo, he would reply, I would take you when the time is right.

My father died at the age of 95, before his death I went to meet him to tell me the story he had promised to tell me about our great grand-father, Adelabu. He told me that my great grand-father was one of the sons of Atiba. Before whenever people asked me where are you from, I would tell them I am from Oyo, which side in Oyo, I don’t know the name, that is why I didn’t tell people I am from royal house. I didn’t know how to describe my father’s compound. I am a Police officer, serving in Police Force Headquarters annex in Obalende, Lagos. When I was serving in Ikeja I noticed things were not moving well for me, troubles upon troubles, so I decided to visit my babalawo ( juju man). I do visit the Iya Osun too. So the babalawo asked me where you are born, I said Oyo, where in Oyo; I said I don’t know the place o, but I know I am from Adelabu family. He told me I needed to go to the compound where I was born and perform a sacrifice to the Osun deity. The same thing Iya Osun told me. I told her let me doing in your place; she said I cannot do it. I had to call my father’s sister, Iya Jeminatu that I wanted to go to Oyo, she asked me why, and I told her to perform a sacrifice. We chose a day, and we went.

So after five years I went to worship Osun deity in Oyo, before I left I spent five days in Oyo, they took me to where Adelabu entered ground, remember he was a very powerful man. I returned to Lagos, truly, my work changed for the better. After some years, I heard the news that the Alaafin of Oyo had passed on. Initially I didn’t believe. The third day I confirmed the news. That same day in my sleep, I felt a somebody tapping me to wake up from my sleep, the face I saw was that of my father’s. Saying, get up now and go to Oyo and reclaim your great grand-father’s right. I told him it is only the rich that are made king. He said no. I don’t have money, I don’t know people o. It is oracle they use in Oyo. I said no problem. If I had told my wife that was going to Oyo, she would not allow me, with the thought that you going to dragging royal stool with people over there, they could kill you. I lied to her that they called me from Oyo, that this is our time o, I should come home o . She said I should go and just listen to them and come back, the is our police work is enough for us o, don’t go there and be dragging the throne with them. My wife too is a woman police. I also called my aunty, Aminat that they have called me from Oyo o. I also enquired from her that do we have right to the throne, because as they betrayed our great grandfather, she said yes. Before leaving for Oyo I had to go to Abeokuta, my mother’s side, called Anipupo. There they also confirmed to me that they had come for me to go to Oyo. The elders there told me that all the gifts I want to carry along should be in threes. That is bitter kola; kola nut hot drinks and so on must be in threes. I bought those things not that I had the money but I had to try with the help of my second wife. I got to Oyo, it was during the Ramadan, I met the younger sister of aunty Aminat, called Shaki, she told me most of our family members are in Ejigbo in Osun State that we will have to go there. We called them that we were coming, and before we got there they had gathered themselves, the Adegbite family, Adegoke family, Adegbile family, Adesiyan family. None of them had seen me before. I introduced myself, they welcomed me, and I told them my mission. I was shedding tears that day when they told me how much our family has lost. So I told them that I had interest in becoming the next Alaafin. One of them, an aged man, we call him baba teacher asked my three times, you want to become Alaafin, I said yes sir.

Even myself I didn’t know where the sudden boldness came from and I answered him emphatically. Then all of them began to pray for me and we started the gradual process. I was introduced to some other people, for familiarization.

Then later we heard from the Oyomesi, the kingmakers that the Adelabus don’t have right to the throne of Alaafin of Oyo, I said why. Adelabu Atiba had 11 children and the eleven children too had grand children. The Oyomesi claim that the name is not in their gazette. Then we had go to court and we won, therefore my name was included among the over 200 person jostling for the revered stool. The two hundred were reduced to 86 as the process of selection went on. One day one of my brothers called me to ask if I have never met any of the kingmakers, I said no. He took me to Baba Basorun, leader of the Oyomesi and one Mr. Mukaila Afonja, the Baba Iyaji of Oyo and head of all princes,(Olori Omo Oba.) he is responsible for assembling the roster of contenders from the ruling lineage qualified for the throne. When we met Baba Basorun he asked me what took you so long to come, I said I didn’t know how to come. Immediately we started the race, I submitted a letter and I would attend meeting virtually every Sunday. On the third meeting I was told we are now two contesting for the throne from Adelabu family. It annoyed me. I told Mama Iseyin, an aged woman in our family about the development she appeased me, saying her prayer is that the oracle should pick one of us from Adelabu family. So I did the letter of interest, gave it to Baba Oloriebi, Mr. Olayiwola, and in my presence he handed the letter to his younger sister whom we call Iyale Memomu. Surprisingly somebody from among the chiefs told me they could not find my letter, but they found the second person’s letter. Then I called Mama Iseyin, the told me to come down to Oyo immediately. When I got to Oyo, I was told that Olori Omo Oba said that it is only one person they need from each family. I said you didn’t tell this before. Then I called Mama Iseyin, she told me to get another letter and go to Olori omo oba house. When I got there, the Olori Omo Oba denied that he told any of my family that it is only one person they need, so he collected my letter. From there I went to meet Baba Basorun, he prayed for me, he too emphasized that nobody told them it is only one person they should produce from each family. So I went back to Lagos.

Governor Seyi Makinde had invited an oracle man from abroad for the process. I was told when they got to my name Baba Bashorun said they should call somebody that can reach me, then they called my brother,Baba Abiodun. He called me saying the oracle man said they should ask me if I had mother or father I told him no, that they were dead, and he said the oracle man said that is what he wanted to hear. God has done it for us. After two hours I called him back to ask why he asked those question. He told me that because it is not good for the incoming Alaafin to have father or mother.

My thinking has always been I don’t have money, no connection, I was losing hope. Later I received another call again, from a man saying he is from A3 Royal Media, that they want to see me. I asked him how did you get my number, he said from Olori omo Oba, I called Olori Omo Oba, that somebody called me to come down to Oyo for an interview, he said it’s true, that he gave them my number. So I went to Oyo, they interviewed me, they asked me 11 questions, which include how I am related to Atiba, the name of my great grandfather among the sons of Atiba and I told them it is Adelabu, how am I related to Adelabu, I explained to them. Adelabu, out of his children, were three males which are Adegbite, Adegbile and Adesiyan, and I am from Adegbite, it is from Adegbite came Adelabu. They asked me my opinion about Governor Seyi Makinde, I told them he is a great man. When I was told that it is politician that will announce the name of the successful candidate, I lost hope because I don’t believe in politics. Politicians are magicians. But when I saw who Governor Seyi Makinde is handling things I should praise him. If not for the governor who insists on transparency I would not have been able to get to this stage. I can remember, another questions the A3 Royal Media asked we was that eventually if the Ifa Oracle picks me, which of the past Alaafin would I love to emulate. Immediately I mentioned the immediate past Iku Baba yeye, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi. I so much love the way he promoted our culture and tradition all the time.

What is the current state of things?

For now, I have not heard anything yet, but two months ago, I read from the media that there remain three candidates, Noah Afolabi Adelabu, Prince Aderenle Adesiyan, and Prince Afeez Oladigbolu.

With the way things are, it has been over two months now. How hopeful are you. Are your chances of being announced as the next Alaafin still bright ?
Yes I am very confident. My chances are still bright. Yes there was a time my hope was really down, especially when I read about the Lukman Gbadegesin connection, spending money, gifts here and there, Iya Iseyin assured me that nobody has chosen him, I should not be bothered.

How many families are entitled to present candidates?

They are the children of the eleven princes of Alaafin Atiba. They are Adesiyan, Adelabu, Ladigbolu, Agunloye, Adeyemi, Alowolodu, Tella Agbojulogun, Olanite Adediran, Abidekun, Adeitan,

If eventually you get to the throne of Alaafin of Oyo,what are the major things you are going to focus on?

Most importantly, I will ensure the bringing together of the sons and daughters of Oyo home and abroad to chart a new course for development within Oyo and environment.

There are many works to be done. But I will need support from the government and my people.

What are the lessons you have learnt from your experience so far, in a bid to becoming the next Alaafin of Oyo?


I have learnt that you must never rely on human being, in anything you are doing in this world. For instance from my own father’s side, I saw many things. When journalists went to Oyo State, even the Olori ebi with whom I do hold meetings, he denied me.

He said he has never seen me, he doesn’t know the person that bears such name. Even in the Police, some friends that I used to buy drinks for, socilalize with when I got to know that I am a prince and a candidate for the Alaafin office, most of them ran away from me. I can say 95 percent of them avoided my calls. I wondered do they think I will be asking them for money. But some casual friends, just greetings, who I will tell I want to go to Oyo, some of them will tell me, will you manage N10,000. Most surprising is a man I call my brother in the neighbourhood, we do call him ‘pastor’, he gave me N100,000. So I learnt that help at times come from people you don’t expect. My second wife had to sell her freezer to raise some money for me. I was surprised. Also, a brother in Osogbo, called Ajanaku, he tried a lot for me. True friends will always be there for you in times of trouble.



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