From GBENGA ADESUYI, Ibadan
An early morning fire yesterday destroyed the ancient palace of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, the Alaafin of Oyo. The fire outbreak, which affected 24 rooms in the palace, it was learnt, started around 6.00a.m and was caused by power surge. It was learnt that men of the fire service, who arrived the palace about an hour after to put off the fire did not succeed until about three hours after. Affected in the palace were some apartments which contain artifacts, three apartments belonging to three of Alaafin’s wives.
Others were the Ile Ori, Ile Ifa with artifacts in them. Though no life was lost, the wives (Oloris) including Princess Folasade (Iyaa Meta), Princess Rukayat, and Princess Abibat were affected as they lost virtually all their valuables to the fire. Each of the apartments of the wives has about five rooms. Oba Adeyemi’s Media Assistant, Alhaji Azeez Fehintola, while speaking with journalists said: “The extent of damage by the fire goes beyond my imagination. Immediately I got here and saw the extent of the damage, I could not but broke down in tears.
The fire, which broke out from electrical surge, started around 6:00a.m and was contained after about three hours. “The fire-fighters came some minutes past seven and battled it till it was finally put out. Every part of the affected apartments was completely razed. It was a sad day for the wives because many of their property were destroyed. They kept their monies in the palace. Plasma television sets, jewelries, clothes, bags and many other valuables yet to be ascertained were destroyed.
••• As Ajimobi sympathises with Alaafin
The Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, has lamented the fire that wreaked havoc on the palace of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, saying it destroyed artifacts, ornaments and traditional relics of the people of Yorubaland. He made this known yesterday, while paying a sympathy visit to the monarch in Oyo. “It is in our own definition a disaster, more so, having gone round the whole palace on inspection of the damage.
The fire touched virtually everywhere and it was devastating. It consumed virtually everything, including traditional attires, ornaments,” he said. While charging fire fighters to be more dedicated and effective in their operations, Governor Ajimobi said the effect could have been minimized if urgent attention had been brought to the inferno.
“The lesson here is that, one, our fire support services should be more efficient. Second, the reactions of the Kabiyesi and the entire family were very commendable and immediate. That they were able to put out the fire is commendable,” the governor said. Ajimobi said from the assessment he had carried out on the burnt palace, the damage to the palace was colossal.
The governor, however, promised to assist the monarch in the reconstruction of the palace, stating that as a foremost traditional ruler and a great friend of the administration, government could not but supports the Kabiyesi because in doing so, government was supporting Yorubaland.
“As a government, we are going to support the Kabiyesi and the Kabiyesi, as you know, has been at the forefront of support for the present administration,” the Ajimobi said.