Aare Afe Babalola SAN
Founder/President , ABUAD


In the last few weeks, I have discussed how the British colonial Masters gradually increased their control and influence over what was later called Southern Protectorate and Northern protectorate by assaulting and destroying our traditional heritage. One of the strategies was the dethronement and banishing of powerful traditional rulers. This reminds me of the statement of Lord Macaulay of 2nd February, 1835 addressed to British Parliament:

"I have travelled across the length and breadth of Africa and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Africans think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation".

In this edition, I will deal with more cases of dethronement and banishment in the hinterland


Oba John Adetoyese Laoye was born on the 21st of February 1899. He was Timi of Ede, between 1946 and May 1975. On 23rd of January 1946, the stool of the Timi of Ede became vacant, as a result of the passage of Timi Oyebamiji Akangbe. The stool was fiercely contested by Prince Memudu Lagunju, who had also previously contested the stool with Timi Sanusi Akangbe In 1933.

Adetoyese and 32 other contestants, vied for the vacant stool for about 11 months and he was eventually crowned on the 9th of December 1946. Despite Adetoyese’s victory, his arch rival-Prince Memudu Lagunju fiercely fought for the throne through a protracted litigation. Memudu Lagunju, won at the lower court and Adetoyese was on the 8th of January 1948 asked to abdicate the throne and was on exile in Lagos until 1952, when the West African Court of Appeal (WACA) dismissed Memudu Lagunju’s case and recorded its verdict in John Adetoyese Laoye’s favour, in a verdict which was later upheld by the Privy Council, England.

  1. Alaafin of Oyo

Oba Adeniran Adeyemi II, was Alaafin of Oyo, between 1945 and 1954, until he was forced into exile by the Action Group led government of the Western region, as a result of the death of the Deputy leader of the Action Group, Chief Bode Thomas and also for having sympathy, for the rival NCNC of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe.

Oba Adeniran Adeyemi II, was deposed and sent on exile in 1954 for sympathizing with opposition NCNC, because he had come in conflict with Bode Thomas who was Deputy Leader of the Action Group, before his untimely death.

Oba Adeniran Adeyemi II, was sent on exile to Ilesha and later relocated to Egerton Street on Lagos Island where he lived and died in 1960.

  1. Ooni of Ife – Ogboru

Ogboru the 19th-century Ooni of Ife was dethroned mischievously by Ife Palace Chiefs who got tired of his 70yrs long reign. He was deceived by trick to come out of his place to come and see something at the Atiba square of the ancient Ile-Ife town and wasn’t allowed to return to the palace again. He angrily left for another aboard where he founded a little town called Ife-Odan and he settled there. Successive Ooni of Ife like 6 installed after him died in succession under 6months like a sort of throne bewitchment and Ife Chiefs had to search for him at Ife Odan to return back, but he resisted the attempt and gave them his daughter Moropo to make some sacrifices at the palace after which his son Giessi became the next Ooni after him.

  1. Emir of Bauchi – Umar Mohammed

Mohammed was deposed on 16th of February, 1902 by Lord luggard’s second in command – William Wallace for an allegation of slave dealings and insubordination against the British government and misrule of his people. His son was installed as the new Emir.

  1. Emir of Kano Aliyu Ibn Abdullahi Maje Karofi became the Emir of Kano in 1894 following the death of Emir Muhammad Bello, and a rebellion war of “Bassa” called the 3rd Kano Civil War was kickstarted by him, along with his elder brother, Yusuf when the Sultan of Sokoto announced another prince called Tukur as the new Emir of Kano. The war lasted for a year when Aliyu popularly called the Sango of Zaki (the gun runner) or Ali Balads, for his heavy use of explosives in most wars conquered Kano and became the Emir in 1894. He was dethroned in 1903 following an homage visit to the Sultan in Sokoto when the British -French forces attacked Kano and brought an end to his reign. He first exiled to Yola and later Lokoja, the seat of new Northern Nigerian government where he died in 1926.
  2. Emir of Ningi – Dan Yaya

Dan Yaya was deposed by British Temple months after Umar Emir of Bauchi was sent away in July 1902, for terrorizing his people leading to the killing of a mallam, and taking sides with Emir of Bauchi. A new Sarkin Ningi was enthroned who was the heir, by the name Mammadu. Dan Yaya escaped to bura town where he was eventually killed by the Bura people for his continued terrorizing acts in 1905.

  1. Olu of Warri – Erejuwa I

Erejuwa was the traditional ruler of Itsekiri at two different times between 1951-1964 and 1966 – 1989. A Senior Officer with UAC before becoming a king, was unfortunately removed and deposed by NCNC eastern party in 1964, because of his support for Awolowo’s Action group, which is the party of many Prominent Itsekiris. The result of the political rivalry leads to the creation of Midwestern States then. Erejuwa was exiled to a town called Ogbesse after he was returned by a military government of David Ejoor in 1966 and he reigned till 1989

  1. Timi of Ede – Abibu Lagunju

Timi Abibu Languju was acclaimed to be the first Muslim Yoruba king in history who reigned between 1855 to 1892 and was deposed and exiled by the British government to Ibadan where he lived with Sunmonu Apampa, the Asipa of Ibadan at that time and he died in 1900. One of his children Raji Lagunju, birthed by an Ile-Ife wife was taken back to her home town, to become the second Chief Imam of Ile-Ife.

  1. Osemawe of Ondo – Oba Adekolurejo Jimosun II (Otutubiosun)
    The Oba whose reign was from 1918 to 1925 was removed and banished to Ile-Ife in 1925, where he lived and died. It was during the reign of Oba Jimosun that Ondo town had its first secondary school, called Ondo boys high school.
  2. Osemawe of Ondo – Oba Adenuga Fidipote II
    Oba Adenuga was reported to be a wealthy king of Ondo town and was on record to be the one who built the first modern Palace for Ondo town. He reigned for 7yrs after which he was deposed and chased away from the town to Ibadan in 1942.
  3. Emir of Gwandu – Mustapha Jokolo

The Ex -Emir was deposed in 2005, by the Kebbi State government following different allegations levied against him by his Chiefs and was exiled to Kaduna. He was immediately replaced by June 2005 by one Muhammadu Illyasu Bashar, a retired major, who served as a military governor in the old Gongola State between 1976 & 1978. 15yrs, deposed Jokolo is still challenging his dethronement in Court.

 12. Emir of Kano – SIR Mohammodu Sanusi I

Sanusi I was the Emir of Kano between 1954 to April 1963, when he was deposed by Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, a distant cousin, after an allegation of financial misappropriation in the emirate. He was deposed to Azare in 1964 and died in Wudil in years after. Sanusi I is the grandfather of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the recently deposed.

  1. Olofa of Offa – Oba Wuraola Isioye

Oba Isioye was enthroned on the 5th January 1957, and reigned as Offa District head for 2yrs, when he was deposed by Northern Regional Government following, a successful move for Offa Local Court to be recognized and the long-used Ilorin’s Alkali Court was abolished. This promoted the Late Saurduna to instigate him being deposed and exiled to Ogbomoso- Kogi Area, where he lived till he returned in 1964. He was reinstated as Olofa till he died in 1969, even though his district title wasn’t returned.

  1. Sultan of Sokoto – Ibrahim Dasuki

The dethronement of Late Sultan Dasuki is probably the most widely reported case of the removal of a king in Nigeria by the military government of Abacha in 1996, as almost everyone in the late 20’s in Nigeria are aware of the development. There were even songs recorded by musicians to that effect on the continued change of traditions, that the usual saying that a new king can not be crowned while another is alive “T’oba kan o Ku, Oba kan o Je”, as waxed by Yoruba Fuji Singer Abbass Obesere. Ibrahim Dasuki’s removal was rumored to be related to issues between him and Abacha, on mismanagement of the late Abacha’s relative’s properties. There was also speculation that it was due to reports of his modernist style of rulership and many preferred Sultan Maccido, who later succeeded him.

  1. Olowo of Owo – Oba Olateru Olagbegi II

Unarguably the richest and most influential Olowo of Owo town in Ondo state, Oba Olateru became Olowo in 1941 and reigned till 1966 when he took side with Chief S.L Akintola against Chief Awolowo who was his ally. Of a fact, Awolowo Action Group party was founded right inside Olowo palace and Owo for years experienced political and kingship battle, which came to a climax in 1966 following a cold-blooded coup with many properties and lives lost in the course. The people of Owo revolted against their King and sent him away on exile where he lived for another 27 years. His stool was taken over by Oba Ogunoye. At the demise of Ogunoye, Olateru was reappointed as the new Olowo of Owo in 1993 and spent another 5yrs on the throne till he died in 1998. His eldest son took over from him in 1999 and reigned for 20yrs.

  1. Deji of Akure – Oba Oluwadamilare Adesina Osupa III
    The inglorious exit of Oba Oluwadamilare as Paramount king of Akure is another reminder of the importance of carriage and conduct in kingship, as they are seen as leaders and role models. The king was deposed on 10th of June, 2010 following the beating of his estranged wife at her home in Akure, in what the Ondo state government referred to as, dishonorable, condemnable and disgraceful conduct unexpected of a king which invoked a section of the state chieftaincy law of 1984 as amended. With immediate action, a new Deji of Akure Adebiyi Adeshida Afunbiowo II was announced on the 13th of August 2010.
  2. Oba Samuel Adeniran Asusumasa Atewogboye II was sentenced to death for killing a baby for ritual in 1944

The following is part of the judgment of Justice Verity who sentenced Oba Atewogboye II to death:

I was in the palace of Alaaye of Efon at night, I saw Enoch carry one girl under his gown into the palace. He placed the girl under the staircase in the palace…Enoch left to call Alaaye…Alaaye came and saw the girl. He said Enoch should do her as he said he would do her….He carried the cigarette tin (in which the eyes and tongue were contained) to Oba Alaaye…The following night Oba Alaaye asked whether the corpse of the girl had been cleared…

Justice Verity then concluded:

With acceptance of that statement as evidence of tacit admission of the facts therein, there is not only ample corroboration of the evidence…it goes further and is evidence of admission of facts from which no other conclusion is possible than that the appellant counseled and procured the murder of this child and was rightly found guilty thereof.

Upon this final pronouncement, Kabiyesi Oba Samuel Adeniran Asusumasa Atewogboye II, the 43rd Alaaye of Efon-Alaaye, his herbalist and one of his servants and Gabriel Olabirinjo, were all hanged to death. The year was 1949.

In the next week edition, I will examine how Kano State Government made use of the precedents generated by colonial masters to remove one of the most educated monarchs of our time - Alhaji Mumammadu Sanusi II, Emir of Kano.

References - Johnson, Share, Fadaka Louis and Adeyanju Gbenga, Gsons

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