The Case Of The Missing ‘Abobaku’

First of all, I can’t start this blog-post without thanking almighty God for saving my life and so many other lives around last night.

It was a case of that small pipe sending fuel to the carburator of the generator being cut and I didn’t notice when powering on the generator. Thirty minutes later, the generator goes off unexpectedly and I go to check why and lo and behold; there was fuel everywhere. On the generator, tyre, floor… It was scary.

Thank God for life and truth is that we should always learn to appreciate each day as a gift from God.

Speaking of life, I woke up this morning still replaying with a mild shock the events of last night when I learnt from a friend that an ‘Abobaku’ (the one who dies with a king) had escaped for dear life.

I’m sure we all already know about the demise of the Ooni of Ife and the tradition which apparently states that there has to be human sacrifice whenever a yoruba king dies.
Usually, when there’s news of the death of a yoruba monarch, panic sets in. This is because of a certain festival, Oro festival, which quite frankly, I have no idea how and why it still holds in this time and age because of the kidnappings and murders that comes with it. So everyone is careful of their movement because no one wants to be sacrificed. I know there’s a warning before the festival but what happened to Human Rights?

Apart from the Oro festival, there’s another rite that takes place before a king is buried. Don’t get bored on me now. The fun is just starting.

There’s a family in Yorubaland that breeds ‘Abobaku.’ Pardon me but I just learnt this morning that the Abobakus are a family of slaves and what happens is that once a monarch dies, an Abobaku (I guess they’re appointed by lot because I’m not sure anyone would willingly volunteer) is rounded up by the custodian of the tradition and buried with the king after some rites have been performed on him too. The idea is to ensure the king is well served and doesn’t feel lonely on his lone journey to where he’ll eventually call final home.

Barbaric, right?

Now when the Abobaku is chosen for a king, the Abobaku lives a very affluent life. He’s taken care of by the king and the king makes him happy. Talk of enjoying the benefits. I’m sure every Abobaku wish for the king to outlive them but in the case of this Abobaku, that wish was just a lame horse because the Ooni passed on.

Now it gets rib-cracking from here.

Now when our tradition was being packaged together thousands of years ago, no one then had the foresight to predict the emergence of Facebook, Twitter and Social media generally.

Normally, when the king dies, there’s a seven-day silence period when the priests go out to get the unsuspecting Abobaku (before he experiences cold feet and decide to skip) to perform the rites he’d been well paid to perform. I’m sure the moment the priests find the Abobaku, he’ll understand that his time has come.

But it wouldn’t be so for this Abobaku.

Now this elderly man was sitting in the cosy chair of his expensive home eating eko (corn meal) and moi-moi (bean cakes) or whatever elderly people eat for dinner in Ile-Ife when one of his daughters called that night that she read on Twitter that the Ooni passed on some minutes before in a London hospital. The dad asks to confirm if it’s true and the daughter said it is. Quickly, the man rushes to find his passports and whispers a warning to his household and vanishes that night.
He now heard in hiding that the Ife chiefs were denying the silly rumor and he’s about to come out of hiding when the daughter warns him not to be drawn into that false sense of security and that the Ooni was truly dead.

Thank God for social media.

The fact is that the Abobaku is still at large.

As funny as this may sound, it’s true. Granted, I fabricated the details of his escape but so you know all this barbarism is still amongst us.

I have a message for the Abobaku if he’s reading this:

Don’t be like all these thieving contractors in Nigeria. I’m a firm believer in delivering for service(s) that you’ve been paid for.
You have been well paid for this service over the years so you had better come out of hiding and deliver on the service you’ve been paid for because any other thing is tantamount to corruption. You have been handsomely paid so you can’t let this respected king walk alone (Liverpool fan, anyone?)
And if you were not well paid for this job, then come out state the fact.

Abi wetin una talk say I talk?

(Laugh wan burst my belle o!)

What a country!


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Thank you for reading and sharing. God bless you.


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15 thoughts on “The Case Of The Missing ‘Abobaku’

  1. Ko oju ma ri ibi, gbogbo ara logun e………who wan die? The abobaku made a tush and smart move………….he should even undergo plastic surgery if possible so his facial features will change incase they send assassins, asasi and aransi to him bcos I trust our yoruba people, they will look for him by all means.


  2. Blog ace, no place like home na hin make West Ham hammered Arsenal for Emirate ooo. G, abeg just trowey ur Passport wherever u dey o, make e no be say u go just wake up one day realize say u don come back home.


  3. I just read this post for d 3rd time. Meanwhile, Ace, if we are to change the name of this post to an American film title, which will it be?


  4. I still wonder the authority of the author on the traditions of Yoruba land or the Yoruba people. The abobaku myth is alien to the Ife people and it is not practised in all parts of Yoruba land. In fact, a school of thought believes the abobaku concept is a phrase that describes the concept of “eye-service”. I would submit that this author should come forward with empirical facts about the existence of an abobaku family or a recent death where this was practised. Thank God there are plenty kings in Yoruba land therefore there should be abundance of facts and figures to buttress this claim…


    1. From that post, it should be pretty obvious I’m not exactly the go-to guy for yoruba traditions. It was all over the news that the Abobaku had eloped and quite frankly, it was the first time I ever heard of such practice and I asked and someone explained the concept to me which I stated in the post. As I heard and read the story, the entertainer in me found the opportunity for an entertaining post from the story making the rounds. If you ask for my source for this post, then I’d tell you they’re news outlets. Thank you.


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