What is Abobaku?
The subject Abobaku is “a chieftaincy title in Yoruba land and it literarily means one who dies with the king,” according to Kehinde Ajayi and Falade Odunayo in the research paper titled “Abobaku: Human Sacrifice In Yoruba Rites of Kingship“.
“He is appointed as a chief from a particular family who has the right in the village or community.
“The Abobaku enjoys a great deal of privileges and luxury and in fact he is always with or close to the king and even eats whatever the king eats and drinks. One thing remains in all of his luxuries and enjoyments, he dies when the king dies.
“He is buried with the king in the same grave. He is aware of this and so enjoys it all while it lasts. It is worthy to note that this is closely attached to the burial rites of a king and that leads us to examine what the burial rites of a king look like in Yoruba land,” they opined.
The Abobaku and late Alaafin of Oyo
Late Oba Adeyemi had an Abobaku but the name has been changed (from Abobaku) to ‘Oloko ehin’, a palace source told BBC on Saturday.
The source added that in line with the ancient culture and tradition, the Oloko ehin (Abobaku) is supposed to die/be buried alongside Oba Adeyemi.
However, the culture has been changed. Instead of the Oloko ehin (Abobaku) to die/be buried alongside the late monarch, a special rite will be performed instead.
In his explanation, the palace source said the rite will ensure that the Oloko ehin (Abobaku) does not die alongside the king.