Many people in Akure call Prince Adegboye “Atobatele” just like Ile Ife People used to call Adesoji Aderemi and Sijuade Olubuse “Atobatele” before their coronation as the Ooni of Ife and Arole Oodua. I call Prince Adegboye “the best Deji Akure never had”.
His own father the greatest Deji in Akure History once called him “Erinlakatabu” just like the Elemo Akomolafe Adedipe of Akure never for once shied away from letting Akure people know he was the luckiest and the most favored by God among Akure high chiefs because Pa Adejai, his first son, was the best God's gift any father could ever ask for.
Nothing is more precious and glorious for a father than having a first son that can adequately step into your shoes after you are gone. Some fathers spend a life time looking for such a child. Ooni Risa Adesoji Aderemi was a son like that. Ooni Risa Sijuade Olubuse was another.
In our own neck of the woods in Akure, late Prince Josiah Stanley Adegboye Adesida was a son like that for Kabiesi Deji Afunbiowo The First, who is now ranked by acclamation as the greatest Deji of all time, given that he was the pioneer architect of the golden century of Akure history from 1897 to 1997.
Even though Prince-charming Adegboye Adesida did not live long enough to survive and to succeed his father as a Deji in Akure like three of his siblings, he surely left behind a track record which is far superior to those of his 3 siblings who actually became kings in sequential order after their father’s death in 1957.
The first was Deji Agunsoye Ademuagun Adesida. The second was Deji Otutubiosun Adelegan Adesida and the third was Deji Ataiyese Adebobajo Adesida.
Prince Adegboye played a part in the lives of the three individuals, as I would clearly show in this write-up as an Akure historian who is linked by blood to all of them because they were all my uncles and I followed their life history with a passion.
I believe that generations of Akure sons and daughters at home and abroad could learn something from each of them, if their individual stories are told and permanently documented like I did in my biography on Afunbiowo published in 2007.
Prince J.S Adegboye was just one among the many male children of Kabiyesi Afunbiowo the First. He became to all intent and purposes the central glue that bound the Adesida family together for many years before his death. He was a priceless jewel and the most trusted adviser to his father during his life time without any question.
Prince Adegboye was the first truly civilized influential and well-to-do Prince in Akure who had the influence and the ability to be the greatest asset and ambassador of his father in Akure for many years before his death. He loved his father so much that he offered his time and energy to help him be the greatest Deji he could ever be. He did that by doing for his father what he knew the old man could not do for himself.
His father called him an “Oluomo” for that reason and he blessed him like none of his other children. I lived in the palace with my grandmother and I eave-dropped on Kabiesi many times because curiosity was my strongest suit as a teenager growing up in the Deji’s Palace. I went to places in the Palace where I was not supposed to be because I just wanted to learn something new.
I got my poor grandmother in trouble so many times for going to places in the Palace that children of my age were not allowed to be. My grandfather tolerated me because he knew I was a child and that I meant no harm. They called me “Hitler” in the Palace because they thought I was too daring as a teenager by asking too many questions and never satisfied with some of the answers I got. I was a risk taker per excellence and I took a lot of risk that could have killed me or put me in serious jeopardy.
I nearly got drowned at one point at the Alaadun Lake on the palace ground but for the timely intervention of a good Samaritan.
I recall sneaking into his inner chamber called “Odo Ule” in the Palace one morning while my grandmother was still in bed because I wanted to see where my grandfather used to sleep as I narrated in my “Lion King and the Cubs” I got caught sneaking into the sanctuary because there was a huge doorbell behind the wooden door leading to the man's living quarters in the Palace. The improvised alarm alerted the people inside that an intruder had gained entry. I was caught and I told a lie that I just wanted to say Good morning to Grandpa.
They sent me back to my grandmother who had to pay a penalty for not more closely watching over me. Because of my curiosity I witnessed the Kabiesi bless and eulogize Prince Adegboye on a few occasions the man came to the palace on a visit. The man was a 6-footer with a great sense of humor. He was a very generous man. No gift was too big for him to give away. He was a prince among princes and always well dressed and radiant. Everyone loved Prince Adegboye.
I have never seen Kabiesi Afunbiowo openly mourn the death of anyone like he did the day the death of Prince Adegboye was announced to him in the Palace. The whole town was tense for the whole week of Prince Adegboye’s burial in Akure. The rank and file of Ogboni Fraternity (ROF) in Nigeria all came out to participate in the once-in-a-life-time burial wearing all kinds of paraphernalia never before seen in the public.
We were told he was the “Oluwo” or the “Apena” of the fraternity. I have never seen a spectacle like that in my life. Not even a king was buried like that in Akure. The few Urhobos who lived in Akure composed a song in his praise as they joined in the ecumenical burial. Their song as I recall at the time was titled “Ovie Kpor” in Urhobo language meaning the king has died. They sure got that exactly right. The king died that day for sure.
Deji Afunbiowo never fully recovered from the death of his favorite son till he made his transition in 1957 at 120 years of age. Looking back on the man’s life now, it is quite possible that all the prayers and blessing his father used to shower on him did make a great difference in Prince Adegboye’s life long after his death.
Prince Adegboye in life and in death has remained a beacon of hope for the whole of the Adesida Royal Dynasty in Akure and for generations yet unborn in our town. The man was just awesome for reasons I cannot fully explain as I look back on his life and career as a very successful business man and a very rich man at the time. He was among the first Akure men to own a car, and he married so many beautiful women from other towns like Benin, Ondo and ijebu Ode. He was very generous with his money.
Prince Adegboye took it upon himself to help four of his younger brothers reach their highest potential in education. The four Princes were late Prince Ademuagun Adesida who went to King’s College, Lagos in those dark days not just because he was bright and intelligent but because he had a very rich and a very influential brother in Prince Adegboye.
The man did not stop with Ademuagun. He also got Prince Adebobajo enrolled at the same King’s College and he encouraged and enrolled Prince Moradeyo and Prince Adeteye into other Ivy league colleges in Nigeria at the time. The four Princes became the first batch of the Deji’s children to ever go overseas to study and they all became successful in life because they all got a helping hand from Prince Adegboye.
During holidays, Prince Adegboye housed the four of them in his own house and he made sure their school fees were paid on time and quite often from his own pocket if for any reason Kabiesi was a bit slow in providing the funds. Prince Adegboye took the four young Princes as his own children.
He fed and clothed them without asking for any reimbursement from Kabiesi. He took special joy in playing that role and he had the means to do it as a very rich man.
Prince Adegboye also got his own first son, Prince Adewole enrolled in Kings College. The five princes namely Prince Ademuagun, Prince Adebobajo, Prince Moradeyo and Prince Adeteye and Prince Adewole all went to the United Kingdom to study on the advice or encouragement of Prince Adegboye.
The 5 princes became the role models for other princes like Aliu Seinde Adesunmi Adesida, Prince Adetiloye Adesida, Prince Adedayo Adesida, Prince Adeyanloye Adesida and Prince Ayo Owolanke Adesida. Others who joined them later included Prince Gabriel Adejare Adesida and Prince Ademola Adesida, another one of Prince Adegboye’s sons, Prince Adewumi, Princess Mrs. Adegoroye, Princess Olamide Adesida, Princess Funke Ogungbade and Princess Adekunbi Adesida and most of the younger generation of Adesida offsprings, male and female, like me and Prince Raphel Adesola Adesunmi-Adesida who went to Fourah Bay College in Freetown, Sierra Leone in those days.
My initial plan was to go overseas to study but I ended up going to the University of Ife on a British/Canadian Legion scholarship from 1963 to 1966. We all got our inspiration to embrace education from the great vision of our great uncle, Prince Adegboye who took the initiative to show all of us the light.
Prince Adegboye was a beacon to all Adesida children and descendants because he was not selfish. He encouraged others to embrace education and to advance higher in the pursuit of knowledge.
All of the princes I have listed here became pathfinders for the other members of our Dynasty in Akure. Two among the 4 princes encouraged by Pa Adegboye went on to be crowned a Deji in Akure. The two were Deji Agunsoye Ademuagun and Deji Ataiyese Adebobajo Adesida. All of the four Princes that grew up in his house contested for the vacant stool of the Deji at one point or the other in their life because they were all “prima facie” qualified.
Even though they did not all succeed, but they were all eminently qualified to be crowned a Deji in Akure because they were all educated and well-to-do. Even though Prince J.S Adegboye did not become a Deji himself, he sure paved the way for two of his own sons by giving them education.
His first son, Prince Adewole was on his way to being selected a Deji on his own merit in 1975 because he received the votes of 9 out of a total of 15 kingmakers. His selection was derailed by the Jemibewon Administration because the Deji’s 1958 Declaration did not permit the selection of any grandson whose own father was not a king at some point in their life. Prince Adewole would have become the first non-omo-ori-ite Deji in Akure but for that obnoxious clause in the Deji’s 1958 Chieftaincy Declaration signed into law by the Awolowo Government.
Even though Prince Adewole did not become the Deji, he was the one who made it possible for Prince Adelegan to become the Deji in 1975. The 9 king makers who supported him were led by the late Ashamo Olusanya, the longest reigning Asamo in Akure history. When the Jemibewon Administration insisted its hand was tied by the 1958 Deji’s Declaration, the 9 king makers unanimously agreed to switch over their 9 votes to one of the 6 remaining candidates recommended to them by Prince Adewole.
That was how Prince Adelegan, who did not receive a single vote, ended up receiving 9 votes. Prince Adedeji received only one vote cast for him by late Chief Ojumu Daramola. Prince Adelanke did not receive a single vote. Prince Adebobajo received 5 votes. Prince Moradeyo did not receive a single vote.
Prince Adelegan was crowned the Deji by the Jemibewon Administration in 1975 because of Prince Adewole. Deji Adelegan reigned for 16 years from 1975 to 1991. Prince Adewole would have won again in 1991 but was prevented from joining the contest by the same 1958 Declaration. That was how Prince Adebobajo finally got his chance to be crowned a Deji from 1991 to 1999.
Prince Adegboye was a big force to reckon with in Akure both in life and in death. The king makers and Akure people in general love him to death and they were more than happy to transfer their love for him to all of his children.
I was front and center of the selection exercise in 1975 because I was the Secretary to the only Asodeboyede Ruling House in Akure at the time. I knew fist hand everything that transpired in the selection exercise and I still have the documents in my archive to prove it. The Adegboye factor would for a long time remain a constant factor for anybody aspiring to be crowned a Deji most especially from the Adesida unit of the Ruling House in Akure. I cannot think of any Adesida Prince with that kind of magic.
Other grandchildren, myself included, joined Prince Adewole in his determined effort to make way for grand children to be selected a Deji in Akure.
Barrister Prince Deji Adegoroye and Dr. Adebimpe Ige Ogunleye who is still alive and can testify to the veracity of this statement was a leader in that struggle. We were the individuals who led the protracted struggle to restore the right of the grandchildren of any reigning Deji to be crowned a Deji in Akure.
It was Navy Captain Olukoya’s Administration that decided to create the Osupa/Odundun Ruling House because of the pressure put on that administration by individuals like Dr. Ige Ogunleye and Pa Aladetoyinbo, the late Alayere of Alayere village in Akure North Local Government because they figured it out that if a second ruling line was not created, their chances of defeating any candidate from Adesida or Arosoye or the Adegoroye unit of the Asodeboyede Ruling House was zero.
The creation of the second ruling line was a clear violation of Akure history and tradition because Akure like Idogun in Ose Local Government of Ondo State only has one ruling house as stated in my “Lion King and the Cubs” published in 2007.
It was a wrong move by the Olukoya Government and we knew it because keeping the only Asodeboyede Ruling House would equally have achieved the same result. By creating a new Ruling House just for the descendants of Osupa and Odundun out of the 46 individuals who had been lucky to be crowned a Deji in Akure could only mean that the descendants of the other Dejis in Akure have been forever marginalized.
That to us was a travesty of justice that needed to be corrected in the court of law. If we take the Ondo State Government to court for violating Akure tradition by creating another ruling line, we would win the case. I have no doubt about that.
If Prince Adewole was still alive, that was something he and I would have pursued to the very end. The Olukoya Decree of 1991 on the Deji’s title was a nullity in law and common sense. The break-up of the only Asodeboyede Ruling line in Akure has done more harm than good to Akure sacred tradition for those who have the best interest of Akure at heart.
By narrowing the selection to just the descendants of Osupa and Odundun, the Olukoya Government has done a great harm to Akure. Right now Akure is looking to pick a new Deji. If we are not careful again a wrong candidate is going to be picked.
About the only few candidates I could support right now are Dr. Adebimpe Ige Ogunleye who could be written off as too old. Another person I could support is Chief Oluyemi Falae, the former Secretary to the Federal Government and former Federal Minister of Finance who could take the title as a crown jewel to his amazing career in his twilight years.
But, some will foolishly argue the two candidates are too old. If General Olutoye can be crowned the Alani of Idoani at well over 80 years of age, it is arrant nonsense to argue that Dr. Ogunleye or Chief Oluyemi Falae is too old. The older the better because putting younger men to a position whose functions have been taken over by the chairmen of local government was a misplacement of priority. Many more candidates would be available if accredited members of the only Asodeboyede ruling line are allowed to allowed to take part in the selection exercise and that should make it harder for some fake princes to enter the race like happened before.
The first non-omo-ori-ite grandchild to be selected a Deji in Akure in 2005 under the Olukoya Edict was Deji Adepoju Adesina from Osupa/Odundun Ruling House. The man came from nowhere to reap the full benefit of what many of us had fought for.
Deji Adepoju Adesina who should normally have been called Deji Osupa the Second called himself Deji Osupa The Third in violation of Akure history because there was never a Deji Osupa the Second in Akure. How can you have a third, where there was never a second?
The deposed Deji just wanted to create a false impression that he was the third individual to be crowned a Deji from that ruling line. He was a poor student of Akure history and his selection, understandably, ended in a big fiasco.
The man told a big lie and all it needed for a lie to triumph is for good people to see a lie and keep quiet or look the other way. There was only one Deji Osupa in Akure before him. I challenged the man before he was deposed, and he did not respond because he knew he lied. I challenge anyone who is conversant with Akure history to issue a rebuttal to what I am saying here if they can sustain their claim.
Two of Prince Adegboye’s direct children have made history in Akure and part of my goal in this article is to document that achievement for generations yet unborn. The last Deji, Oba Adebiyi Adegboye Adesida was the second non-omo-ori-ite candidate to be crowned a Deji in Akure. He ruled for only 3 years from 2010 to 2013 but he made a lot of history within that short time.
He was number 12 out of the 16 children of Prince Adegboye as documented by Princess Imisiade Fadero on page 35 of her latest book titled “the Adesida Dynasty in Akure Kingdom published in 2013.
After Deji Afunbiowo The First, another Akure Prince who has quietly made history was Prince Adegboye Adesida. I want the whole world to know about the man and what he did to earn his recognition and reputation.
If people outside your nuclear and extended families are still talking about you more than half a century after your death, there has got to be something special and news-worthy about you.
The next Deji of Akure, was our first Deji from 1150 AD to 1180. Historical documentation is never our strong suit in Akure and in much of the third world even though we have some appreciation of history but not as much as the white people do.
I just came back from a short vacation to London where I visited the British Parliament in London. A huge statue of Winston Churchill has become a major tourist attraction for thousands, if not millions of tourists visiting the mother of Parliament. You go to Trafalgar Square nearby and you find the Nelson column in its full majesty.
Those amazing statutes all help to preserve the history of the British Empire in a very concrete way. We need to immortalize some of our great men in our society who have made history or contributed something worthwhile.
Prince Josiah Stanley Adegboye Adesida was that kind of prince our people would never forget.
I do know that the man was buried like royalty the day he died in Akure. No other prince to my knowledge was ever honored like that. That informs my decision to describe the man as “the best Deji Akure never had”.
Nine out of ten Akure people would tell you the same thing. Akure feelings for Prince Adegboye run very deep. I won’t be surprised, if another Deji emerges tomorrow from his survivors or from some of his great grandchildren in the foreseeable future.
The man was a breed apart. The man has remained the greatest Akure prince in life and in death and his place in Akure history would be most difficult to fill. Need I say more?
I rest my case.