To some people, especially traditional believers in Yorubaland, every man is a potential polygamist. To them, if a man has only one wife, and he vows to be a monogamist, deeper research into his lifestyle would reveal that if he has the enabling wherewithal, he could have affection and possibly, intimate relationship with another female person.
According to those who believe in this school of thought, a polygamist is not a man that marries more than one wife, but any man that has a wife at home and keeps a Mistress or Mistresses outside his matrimonial home. Among the Yoruba, polygamy is however not seen as anything bad, going by the agricultural advantage it brings to farmer-husbands who in the past years used their wives and children to cultivate their farms instead of hiring labourers.
Whatever favourable reasons could be advanced to support polygamy, Christianity however frowns on it: “One man, one wife”, is the Biblical sermon. Islamic religion nevertheless allows a man to marry at most four wives (provided he can be fair and just to all of them).
Many of our traditional rulers have been clamouring for more roles to be assigned them by the government, order to make them more relevant in their societies. According to a monarch in a friendly talk some years ago, “Obas are living too much of sedentary lifestyle. We cannot move about and do things freely as you my friends can. Before, I could enter beer parlour and drink, but since I have been installed, I can no longer do that”, he said.
The monarch added that, “We have less work to do unlike before and that is why many of us have many wives. I hardly have friends to play with now unlike before, and that is why it is our wives that are, most of the times, our friends that we relate with. If I am not busy with official assignments, what I do is to move from one room to the other, playing with my Oloris”, the monarch told me and some of my colleagues who visited him in his palace then.
To preach polygamy to such monarchs is like telling them to try commit suicide. Even if a newly-installed monarch does not want to practise polygamy, whether he likes it or not, he must maintain the widows left behind by his predecessor(s). He may however not engage in intimate relationship with them if he chooses so.
It is therefore not outlandish to see some Yoruba Obas in company with a retinue of Oloris in their palaces. While some Obas don’t relish showcasing their wives at public functions, some however cherish it. Aside this, not many of them publicise their procreation experience, for instance, naming ceremonies, while some do. A man’s sauce, is another’s poison, an aphorism says.
Menopausal experience is a known phenomenon where women above 50 years of age are believed to lack the capability to get pregnant and get delivered of children. There have however been reports of instances where some women in their late 50s and early 60s give birth. Conversely however, science has proved that a man can be virile and potent even at 80 years or more depending on his state of health. One such human being is the foremost traditional ruler and Permanent Chairman of the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs, His Imperial Majesty, Iku Baba Yeye, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba.(Dr.) Abdul Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111.
He is 80 years, and less than three months ago, he had two sets of twins from two of his young Oloris within nine days. Nine years ago when he was 71, the “Alase Ekeji Orisa” had surprised the world when he announced arrival of triplets from one of his Oloris, Ayaba Folasade Aisat Adeyemi. The ‘Etaoko’ are: Adeola (female); Adeniran, (male); and Adebunmi (female). The birth was elaborately celebrated in the ancient town of Oyo, and globally on the social media.
When nine years after, the octogenarian monarch, who was an amateur boxer in his youthful days, announced in February this year that he had been blessed with a set of twins (girls) from Ayaba Memumat, tongues again got wagging.
More astounding was the announcement on Monday, 28th February, 2018, a day after Ayaba Memumat’s twins were named in an elaborate ceremony, that Alaafin’s youngest Olori, Ayaba Olaitan Ajoke, was just delivered of another set of twins (boys). The agile and vivacious monarch therefore had four children in nine days from two beauties who are in their 20s. Unprecedented experience, one may say!
Unlike many monarchs however, the Alaafin relish flaunting the beauties of his Ayabas at social functions, including overseas shoppings, as they usually flank him in colourful traditional attires.
At 80, the ‘Iku’ is still waxing stronger in his manly endowment and this is the unique aspect of the monarch’s nature. What marvels many people about Alaafin’s fecundity is however where he derives the macho, sexual strength that enables him to produce the set of twins, which many younger ones do not even have ability for. After all, many still believe in the scientific claim that men’s potency and strength decrease as they advance in age.
Commenting on the not-so-usual experience, and the secret that could be there in the Alaafin’s procreation ability, an Oyo Town indigene, who prefers not to be named, was quick to say that “the secret in it is the tradition. The efficacy of traditional, libido-enhancing ‘agbo’ and ‘agunmu’ (liquidised herbs and ground roots with barks) is what you are witnessing like that. If not, how can a man of 80 years still have the power and sexual strength to satisfy more than seven wives, yet produce triplets, two sets of twins and several single borns? How many young and able-bodied men even have such strength?, he asked.
When asked what he thought could be the secret of Alaafin’s potency, an elderly kin of the monarch, who is a revered retired Methodist Bishop, Ayo Ladigbolu, said, “Ah! That is a very big question o. Could it lie in anybody’s mouth to tell you that? “Enu onikan la ti ngbo ponun o”, meaning, (an answer to such a question lies only in the Horse’s mouth).
To some people however, the fecundity at 80 might not be unconnected with the sporty interest of the Alaafin. He was an amateur boxer in his youthful days, and till date, the Imperial Majesty engages himself in shadow boxing in his palace. He exchanged punches with a young boxer sometime last year during a boxing tournament organised by an Oyo indigene resident overseas. His gait in the boxing ring that evening did not leave anybody in doubt as to the fact that the Alaafin was indeed a healthy being with youthful mind in his aged frame.
Some ‘Thomases’ however were of the warped reasoning that Baba might not be the biological father of the children. To them, “it is possible some hired hands are working for Baba behind the scene”. This idea is however always being defeated with the power of sharp semblance many of ‘Iku’s’ children have with him. Many of them are chips off the old block.
Iku Baba Yeye is celebrating the two sets of twins tomorrow in his expansive palace. Many people from all walks of life will converge to felicitate him, the two lucky mothers, and their ‘beautifully-handsome’ two-month-old twins.
Your Imperial Majesty, please ride on. With due respect and unreserved reverence, I say “Congratulations! May your fountain never run dry. The children shall be greater than you, Sir”.