By Bode Durojaiye.
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba [Dr.] Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111, has said that his predecessor father, Alaafin Adeyemi 1, brought the Yoruba civil war to an end through a treaty signed between him as Head of the Yoruba, and the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland in 1886.
Oba Adeyemi disclosed this yesterday when the British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mr. Ben Lewelyn Jones paid him a courtesy visit in his palace.
He said his father being Head of the Yoruba, the four corners of which are and have been from time immemorial known as Egba, Ketu, Ijebu, and Oyo, embracing within its areas that inhabited by all Yoruba-speaking peoples was desirous of entering into and maintaining forever friendly relations with the subjects of Her Majesty, the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland.
According to him ‘’in 1888 my father, the late Alaafin Adeyemi 1, asked the British to come to Yoruba land, and wanted subjects of Her Majesty the Queen to develop resources of the Yoruba by means of legitimate trade and leave under her protection, or who may hereafter come under Her protection, and in gratitude for what the Queen had done for his country at the expense and risk to life from time to time’’.
He added that in 1893, his late father in the presence of those who have hereinto subscribed their names as witnesses in the ancient Oyo town, ceded Yoruba land to the British and declared his intention of abiding by the following articles:
‘’ From henceforth, there should be peace and friendship between her Majesty the Queen and those under her protection, the Alaafin of Oyo and King of the Yoruba and his people, and all other peoples over whom he has authority and influence.
“The subjects of the Queen may always trade freely with the people of Oyo and the Yoruba-speaking countries in every article they may wish to buy and sell, in all towns, rivers, creeks, waters, markets and places within territories known as Yoruba, and I, Alaafin, pledge myself to show no favour and to give no priviledge to the traders or peoples of other countries which I do not give or show to those of the Queen.
“Briitish subjects and others under the Queen’s protection are to have the first consideration in all trade transactions with my peoples. No tolls, duties, fees, imposts or charges shall be charged or levied upon the person or property on any British subjects or other person under her Majesty’s protection other than and beyond that or those which are customary and reasonable, or may from time to time be agreed upon to be so levied or charged by the Governor of Lagos and myself’’.
Since then, Alaafin explained that there had been robust relationship between the Oyo Empire and the British Government with sound communications through correspondences.
Oba Adeyemi asserted that the old Yoruba Empire, known as Oyo Empire distinguished itself in the world, with three very distinctive and unique models.
‘’First, it evolved a wonderfully developed constitution, though unwritten. The average Yoruba man is governed by strong convention, while the Yorubas evolved a strong military system that allows them to develop weaponry. The Yoruba race, evolved a very practical method of administration, by adopting the cabinet system of governance, adding that a good student of the evolution of British Constitution would know that the cabinet system came about in Britain only as a matter of temporal expedience, it was not by design
‘’As far back as the 16th Century, the old Oyo Empire developed the cabinet system of government, from the Prime Minister, to the Alaafin, and the various divisional heads, including all tiers have their roles and responsibilities clearly spelt out, and adhered to with separation of powers, and inputs for checks and balances’’.
On the relationship between Britain and Oyo, Oba Adeyemi said both countries share certain distinct similarities which include diversity of cultures, history, vitality and dexterity of human management.
“Britain is an Empire with diverse cultures, and in spite of daunting challenges confronting it from the European Union, Britain has been
able to weather the storm and remains strong and vibrant. Today European Union survives at the expense of Great Britain.
Alaafin however solicited the asssistance of the British Government on security management of Nigeria’s borders.
He stated that since security of environment becomes more dynamic and uncertain, resonating with numerous threats and contestations which
are transnational in nature and have the potential to grow more lethal as most nations find themselves struggling for survival .
Earlier in his address, the Deputy British High Commissioner, Mr. Jones reiterated the commitment of United Kingdom in strengthening and promoting linkages with Nigeria in the democratization process, bilateral relations, culture and human development.
The visitor, accompanied by his Communication Manager, Wale Adebajo, later presented souvenirs about the Embassy to the paramount ruler.