As usual, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, who clocked 82 on October 15 this year, stepped out for road walk for about three hours.
Dressed in green-white- green, which signifies peace and unity in Nigeria, the Alaafin, with some of his subjects, returned to the palace for prayers precisely 9:30am after walking about two kilometers in Oyo land.
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Representatives of the three major religions in Nigeria took turns to pray for the greatness of Oyo land and the country in general.
Traditional worshippers in the state, led by the Olori Ase Orisa, Oke Adejare Adisa, and Islamic leaders, led by the chief imam of Oyo land, Sheikh Masud AbdulGaniyy Adebayo Ajokidaro, prayed for long life for the monarch, saying he has turned Oyo to a modern city.
Also, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), led by its chairman in Oyo, Apostle Adeleke Olusegun, prayed for good health and prosperity for the monarch.
Reacting to the prayers, the monarch urged religious leaders to keep advising politicians to learn how to support the masses in their programmes and policies.
“I appreciate the support of the traditional chiefs in the palace.
“They are fantastic. I also thank all my wives for their support for me.
“I greet all the baales in Oyo land and all the domestic workers in the palace.
“At my age, all I need to do is continue praying to God for his grace,’’ the Alaafin said.
He said God was the secret behind his good health and progress of Oyo land and not any other thing as some people believe.
Oba Adeyemi said, “I rely solely on God, and that is the secret of our progress and my good health.
“We won’t allow anything to spoil the inheritance of our forefathers in Yoruba land. It is not my power, but that of God.
“Whenever I am going through difficult times, God usually comes to my rescue.
“I thank all the Christians, Muslims and traditionalists for their prayers and support. I thank my children for their understanding.
“None of them has ever disappointed me at my age.
“My children have been doing good, even in my presence, and I appreciate it.
“I promise to continue heeding your pieces of advice.
“I thank God for the progress of Yoruba land and its language.
“I want to implore the traditional rulers and religious leaders to continue saying the truth to power for the progress of the country.
“I don’t have anything in the corner of my room, aside God.
“Some people who have access to my room can bear me witness.
“My children and I relate as friends. Many of my children are big in stature while I am small.
“I have asked them to give me what they eat so that I will also become big.’’
He, therefore, prayed for the progress of Oyo land, Oyo State and the country in general and commended religious tolerance in Yoruba land.
As part of the celebration, the monarch appreciated a non-governmental organisation, Sam Zuga Foundation for organising a two-week free health care services for the people of Oyo.
To celebrate the monarch, one of his sons, who is a member of the House of Representatives, Akeem Adeyemi, commissioned three different projects in his constituency, Afijio/Atiba, Oyo East/Oyo West.
He said the projects were targeted at improving the knowledge of students in information and communication technology.
Also speaking during the event, the Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land, Iba Gani Adams, said the impact of the first class monarch in Yoruba land would not be forgotten, adding that he remained the symbol of democracy.
He said, “The role of the Alaafin in uniting Yoruba people across the world cannot be underestimated.
“His impact has traversed the globe.
“We are here to celebrate with the king on his 82nd birthday and pay homage to him.
“He remains the seat of power to the Oyo Empire and the most historical palace in Yoruba land.
“It is a pleasure to felicitate with him.
“All Nigerians know that things are not going in the right direction in the country.
“All institutions are not functioning well and our policies are not going in the right direction.’’
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State described the monarch as a father and royal icon with exemplary conduct and leadership.
He prayed that God would continue to grant him good health to lead the people and make more impact on Oyo Kingdom, Oyo State, Nigeria and humanity in general.
“On behalf of the government and good people of Oyo State, I congratulate our father, His Imperial Majesty Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III on his 82nd birthday.
“Kabiyesi, we celebrate you as a father and royal icon of exemplary conduct in our society.
“I join your family, well-wishers and numerous subjects to pray that God would continue to grant you wisdom and sound health as you continue to impact more positively on humanity, your domain, Oyo State and Nigeria as a whole,’’ he said.
A former secretary to the state government, Akogun Sharafadeen Alli, also described the Alaafin as father to all.