The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi has said revealed how he once found himself in a situation where he had spent all he had on books and was almost stranded in the United Kingdom.
According to the 79-year old monarch, “I have taken time and spent my money in search of knowledge and I have the results. I hardly travelled to the United Kingdom without visiting bookshops. I have found myself in a situation where I had spent all I had on books and was almost stranded. Can you believe that?”
Revealing how investment in research made him win 98 of his over 100 cases, he urged people to seek knowledge because it is only knowledge that liberates man from ignorance.
Hear him: “I have been involved in about 100 cases and won 98 of them. Why was it so? I am used to backing my claims with facts and relevant documents. I have so many documents which remain unchallenged till date. I am known for that. I am known for keeping documents to establish the truth. I have a lot of files containing different documents. If anybody who does not have all rises and say I am stubborn because I don’t want him to distort history, I am not bothered. I have said it at different occasions that an open debate should be arranged in which each of my critics should be allowed 30 minutes to talk while they give me just 10 minutes.
“When the late President Yar’Adua muted the idea of a conference of traditional rulers, I wrote a letter which I sent to him on September 28, 2007. He had to invite me and commended me for the details the letter contained. He said he was shocked with those facts in the letter. We should encourage our children to read. I am still buying books; I still read. We should imbibe a reading culture to make impact in the development of the larger society. We should ask ourselves what we contribute to the world as a distinct ethnic group.
“Why won’t they call me names when they are far behind in terms of intellectual capacity? You asked if I am stubborn. I throw the question back at you. Am I stubborn? I have accepted the fact that when some people find it difficult to match your pace in anything, they resort to blackmail. What you referred to as stubborn is one of their responses to cover their inadequacy.”
He went down memory lane, remembering how in 2007, he thrilled a large pan-African audience at an event in London.
“There is nothing special about the event than I was invited and delivered a speech under 10 minutes but which captivated the audience. The event was the 9th Gathering of Africa’s Best (GAB). It was held at the International Hotel, Canary Wharf, London, on Sunday October 21, 2007. The gathering comprised eminent scholars, physicians, pharmacists, engineers, computer scientists and other successful professionals from all parts of Africa. When I was introduced to the audience as a powerful, African traditional ruler, it was greeted with an ovation. When I rose and spoke and asserted Africa’s viable political systems before the arrival of the colonialists, the ovation was thunderous. The Guardian published my speech the following day in Nigeria. Go and read it in The Guardian of Tuesday, October 23, 2007,” he explained.