Retired Archbishop of the Methodist Church of Nigeria and close ally of the late Alaafin, Prince Ayo Ladigbolu, is among the 48 candidates jostling for the Alaafin of Oyo stool.

Ladigbolu, who hails from the Ladigbolu royal family of the Agunloye ruling house, will be 84 on June 27.

This came as the ruling house handed over the list and letters of intent of applicants to Baba Iyaji (head of prince and princesses) yesterday for onward presentation to the Oyomesi.

The Oyomesi, headed by the Basorun (Prime Minister), will review the resume of candidates, their credibility and other relevant characteristics, in addition to consultation with the Ifa oracle, for a perfect selection.

Ladigbolu is known for his relationship with people of other faiths and unusual love for culture. He was very close to the immediate past Alaafin, Lamidi Adeyemi III.

Head (Mogaji) of the Agunloye ruling house Pa Samuel Adeladan, who handed over the applications to Baba Iyaji, High Chief Mukaila Afonja, said the applicants are qualified and accomplished princes from the five branches of the ruling house.

He told Chief Afonja that the Mogaji of each branch of the ruling house conducted initial screening while the committee set up by the ruling house, which he also heads, discovered some who were found wanting in tracing their roots in the ruling house.

Adeladan also urged Chief Afonja not to accept applications from any other person, stressing that only the 48 are the true sons of Agunloye ruling house. He added that the family was ready to accept and support any of the candidates who is selected.

Baba Iyaji assured the Agunloye committee members that he would follow the existing Alaafin of Oyo Chieftaincy Declaration which recognises only the Agunloye and Alowolodu ruling houses. He said he was aware the government has approved a review to accommodate other royal families, but that only a sitting Alaafin can undertake it.

According to him, some members of other ruling houses had been seeking his help to be included in the race but he told them he would not do anything outside the declaration.

Pa Adeladan said the family was looking forward to a candidate ‘that is capable of enhancing culture and tradition of Yorubaland and Oyo in particular. ‘Any Alaafin that is not in line with that is not satisfying the Yoruba race. Tradition and culture are paramount to us. Oyo has been in the lead,’ he added.

On the age bracket of the expected candidate, he said: “Any qualified candidate will be fine. These candidates have been reviewed. Their documents speak volumes of their pedigree. They all have good education and are highly experienced.”

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