The term “Abobaku” is presently trending on Twitter and other social media platforms following the news passing of Oba Adeyemi today.
Many tweeps have been sharing comments on what would be the fate of the one closest to the king, having enjoyed the same benefits with the monarch while alive.
While some showed concerns and kicked against the revival of such tradition following the circumstances that surrounded the passing the late Ife Monarch, Oba Sijuwade, whose Abobaku was said to have run away because of the fear of death; others are asking that chief Abobaku be closely monitored from escaping so as to be buried with the monarch to avoid calamity in the land.
Meanwhile, some days ago, there was a trending report of the Abobaku of Oníkòyí of Ikoyi escaping to an unknown destination and yet to be found.
In ancient Yoruba Culture, anyone who bore the Abobaku title was buried alongside the incumbent king upon his demise.
It is believed that the title was a way of strengthening loyalty and preventing betrayal that could lead to the King’s untimely death since whoever occupied the position was sure to protect the King as much as he could, to avoid his death as well.
Abobaku title was a death trap, as the holder of such title had their life depending on the death or survival of the incumbent King. But the position was much contested, just like other exalting chiefly titles in the kingdom. And this was because of the benefits attached to the title.
The abobaku is believed to be close to the King with the right to enjoy the royal largess. He may even have rights nearly equal to that of the King, depending on the cultural practices of the kingdom in question.
Following the death of the previous Ooni of Ife, Oba Sijuwade, it was rumored that the abobaku escaped; to avoid getting buried along with the dead King. But this has been dispelled as fake news, with clarifications emerging to prove that no such title existed in Ile-Ife.
And the Saarun of Ife who is said to be the closest to the Ooni, lived his full years and was never buried with the Ooni. Since the abobaku culture was abolished in 1859, there has been no record of this practice anywhere in Yoruba land.
Below are some of the tweets with which Nigerians have been bantering on the issue of the Abobaku following Alaafin’s death
@Tee_Classiquem1 said: “The title of Abobaku has to be one of the scariest titless to ever existed in Yoruba land, so now that Alaafin of Oyo is dead automatically he will also be announced dead even though he’s still hale and healthy? Well, it can never be me sha, I swear they won’t see my break light.
@Phoenix4721 said: “Abobaku should not japa abeg. You cannot flex life with baba and run away this time.”
@PhemmyEyeOfGod said: “Justice for alaafin of Oyo. How abobaku go chop life of over 5 decades japa in the space of few hours help us find abobaku.”
@Arc Jamal Usamat: “May Almighty Allah have mercy I pity Abobaku”
@Bibiire Albarika Stardom Kayzman: “Wetin go happen to ABOBAKU of OYO bayi if truly Alaafin Oyo is dead”.
@Niyi Tabiti said: “In Yoruba land, the King never dies.
He only travelled to meet his ancestors.
Oba ti waja…How can iku baba yeye die? Stop it🙌🙌
Meanwhile, all eyes is on ‘Abobaku’ before he escapes from Oyo
Did late Alaafin Adeyemi have an Abobaku?
According to BBC Yoruba, investigation revealed that Oba Adeyemi had an Abobaku.
It stated that a palace source said that Oba Adeyemi had an Abobaku but the name has been changed (from Abobaku) to ‘Oloko ehin’.
The source added that in line with the ancient culture and tradition, the Oloko ehin (Abobaku) is supposed to die/be buried alongside Oba Adeyemi.
However, the culture has been changed. Instead of the Oloko ehin (Abobaku) to die/be buried alongside the late monarch, a special rite will be performed instead.
In his explanation, the palace source said the rite will ensure that the Oloko ehin (Abobaku) does not die alongside the king.
Oba Adeyemi has been buried in the ancient town of Oyo according to Islamic rites on Saturday.
His remains were laid to rest within the premises of the palace.
The monarch is the third prominent Oba to have died in Oyo State in less than five months