FLASHBACK: Why govt refused to sponsor Oba Ajagungbade III’s coronation in 1974

FLASHBACK: Why govt refused to sponsor Oba Ajagungbade III’s coronation in 1974


As the traditional ruler of Ogbomoso His Imperial Majesty Oba Ghandi Afolabi Oyewumi Orumogege III is given the instrument of office and certificate of office today, December 19, 2023, ogbomosoinsightonline.com recalls the events of the coronation of his immediate predecessor late Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III JP CON CFR on January 12, 1974, and particularly why the military government held back from committing financial resources to supporting the programme as statutorily required.


The refusal of the government both local and Western state (now defunct following creation of states – now the 8 states of Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Ekiti, part of Lagos, Edo and Delta), neither depressed nor defrayed the morale of Oba Oyewumi Ajagungbade III; rather, he got motivated and boldly defrayed all expenses from his personal resources being a wealthy man before getting on the throne.


The reason was not unconnected with his daring move earlier which saw him wearing the sacred beaded crown at his installation on December 14, 1973. The bold, fearless decision ignited ruckus in the circle of the Western state traditional council constituted by top Yoruba Obas such as Ooni of Ife Adesoji Aderemi, Alaafin of Oyo Oba Olayiwola Adeyemi III and others, who felt he was committing a sacrilege.

When Oba Oyewumi announced the decision, the Obas responded he dared not on the basis the Soun’s stool status was Baale and when he refused to backtrack they reached out to the Military Governor of the Western state, Brigadier Oluwole Rotimi, to stop him.

Oba Ghandi Olaoye Orumogege III

Brigadier Rotimi made strong efforts to dissuade Ajagungbade III by directing his Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters to drive down to Ogbomoso, a day to the event, to talk the Soun out of the plan, this is just as Justice Kayode Eso, a personal friend of Oba Oyewumi, was sent, but both “emissaries” who deployed threats and persuasions, went back without achieving the aim as the young monarch refused to back down.

Thus, on December 14, 1973, the Soun, His Royal Highness Oladunni Oyewumi, wore the beaded crown, becoming the first ever ruler of Ogbomoso to do so.
His action was considered a brazen one, and the government waited to have its pound of flesh. Therefore, when the coronation came up on January 12, 1974, it refused to vote funds for it. Not only that, a day to the event, on January 11, the Western state government ordered (the defunct) Ogbomoso local government to put an advertorial in the government newspaper that the governor would be absent at the programme.

But the event could not be stopped outright and so in the evening of the eve, the local government officials presented the instrument of office to him. The event went as planned, it was a big, memorable one – the Oba enthusiastically and excited brandished his certificate to the ecstatic audience and went to on to stage a grand event.


Meanwhile, the local government authorities offered to grant a loan to the monarch for the purchase of a brand new Peugeot Sedan but he politely declined, instead acquiring (from his personal purse), a brand new Mercedes Benz 280s at the sum of seventeen thousand pounds.

Soun forced history to change as in December 1976, the traditional council passed a recommendation brought by the Alaafin for government to recognize both the Soun and the Olubadan as crowned rulers.

Soun Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade IIai

This way, Ogbomoso traditional stool was deservedly elevated to the status of an Oba. Its unparalleled role in frustrating the plan of the Fulani Jihadists in the turbulent 19th century to conquer the whole of Yorubaland and its being a sanctuary of safety offering protection to thousands of refugees during the period and its large population, the fourth most populated city in Nigeria after Ibadan, Kano and Lagos as at the time, justified the claim and subsequent approval.

We wish the new Oba of Ogbomoso the one popularly and admiringly called “Oba Ghandi” a successful Coronation ceremony and more importantly, a prosperous reign littered with admirable legacies. May he be clothed with boldness and clarity of mind to take daring steps to upgrade his realm.

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