By Vanessa Obioha
Residents of Kajola Local Government Area of Oyo State were thrown into mourning as the grim reaper paid them a surprise visit. It claimed the life of Onilua of Ilua, Oba Samuel Afolabi.
The monarch, who is believed to be the oldest in the inland state of Oyo in south-western Nigeria, joined his ancestors on the morning of Saturday, May 23.
News about his death flooded online with awe and respect from all. Traditional rulers, who are a major part of the Yoruba political system, are highly revered and oftentimes, expected to live to a ripe old age.
Afolabi, who was aged 141, has become a notable example of a centenarian who defied the odds, particularly at a time when the world is reeling from the devastation of coronavirus.
Born in 1879 during the reign of Adeyemi 1 of Alowolodu, who was the last independent Alaafin to rule the Oyo Empire, little is known about Afolabi’s younger years in the public domain. However, it’s reported that the late monarch was a modest farmer, who traded his produce at Arigidana, Baba Ode in Itesiwaju Local Government Area before he was called to occupy the throne after the demise of Oba Majaro in 1981 through the unanimous consent of the kingmakers. He was 102 years old when he became the king in the rock city.
Throughout his 39-year reign, Afolabi didn’t steal the spotlight but contributed greatly to the growth and development of Ilualand.
The monarch was said to have died of age-related illness.