Following the passage of the the 44th Alaafin of Oyo in South-West Nigeria, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III (Iku Baba Yeye) to the great beyond, news of a palace aide who is said to be older than the deceased monarch has surfaced.
The palace staff, who is very much around in the Oyo Alaafin’s place all through the burial rites, is said to have served three past Alaafins consecutively including Oba Adeyemi II, father of the just departed king.
His name is Morenikeji Lasisi, alias Baba Kekere of Oyo Kingdom, a hilarious and jovial man who is about 3-feet tall.
According to a post by a Facebook user, Oyedokun Ayodele Oluwasemilore on Sunday, he said Baba Kekere’s duty is to run errands for the Alaafin.
The post further said Lasisi reportedly served Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Adeniran Adeyemi II (Oba Adeyemi III’s father) between 1945 and 1956; his successor Oba Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II between 1956 and 1968, and Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III between 1970 and 2022.
“He walks briskly in and around the Alaafin of Oyo palace. He is very popular not only because of his diminutive figure but because of his humility and he does not get angry. Some call him a man with repository of knowledge of the Palace for he has the history off hand and some call him the Palace library or an archive.
“He is called Baba Kekere possibly because of his height. His age is unknown because his birth was not recorded but it is assumed that he should be over 100 years now. His real name is Morenikeji Lasisi,” the Facebook post read.
When asked his age, Baba Kekere reportedly retorted that he doesn’t know as there were no records of his birth. Many have pegged the 3-feet tall man’s age at 135 years.
TCN could not independently verify the age of this intriguing man. Our enquiries met a brickwall as our correspondent was told that “the palace is still in mourning.”
However, a resident in Oyo town who is very familiar with the palace said Baba Kekere had definitely served three Alaafins and it should not be difficult to appreciate why this is so.
According to the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity, “Baba Kekere’s real age is not known. But he is far older than the just departed Alaafin Adeyemi, who died at 83. It is believed that he (Baba Kekere) is close to 100 years or slightly above 100. No one can confirm.
“But if you consider that he must have been serving in the palace since he was in his pre-teens, it won’t be difficult to see why he could have served three Kings in a row. Alaafin Adeyemi’s father spent barely nine years on the throne. His successor spent less than 20 years. If you add those to Alaafin Adeyemi’s 52 years on the throne, that’s about 80 years altogether for the three Kings. And Baba Kekere is believed to have spent nothing less than 90 years in the palace running errands for every successive King.”