How Bode Thomas ‘barked’ to death

Oba Adeniran Adeyemi II was the Alaafin of Oyo, between 1945 and 1954, until he was forced into exile by the Action Group- led government of the Western Region of Nigeria, as a result of the death of the Deputy leader of the Action Group, Chief Bode Thomas (1919–1953), and also for having sympathy, for the rival National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) party of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe.

Image of Alaafin Adeniran Adeyemi II who cursed Bode Thomas
Alaafin Adeniran Adeyemi II in the company of his wives.

Thomas was a brilliant lawyer, but also very haughty and arrogant. He was made the Divisional Council Chairman in 1953, while the Alaafin of Oyo was a mere member.

On his first appearance in council, after being appointed chairman, all the council members stood up for him in deference, to welcome him except Oba Adeyemi II, who for cultural reasons, could not show deference to anyone in public.

Bode Thomas rudely shouted at the king, for having the temerity and audacity to disrespect him. “Why are you sitting when I walked in, you don’t know how to show respect?”

Bode Thomas got home and started barking! He barked and barked like a dog all night until he died in the early morning of November 23, 1953. He had cut short his promising career through pride and died without fulfilling his potentials.

At that time, Bode Thomas was 34 years old while Oba Adeyemi was in his 60s.

The Alaafin felt very insulted and nonplussed and he asked in the Yoruba language “se emi lon gbomo baun?” (Is it me you are barking at like that?). The Alaafin just told him “Ma gbo lo baun” (continue barking).

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Oba Adeniran Adeyemi II was father of the incumbent Alaafin, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III. The confrontation happened on November 22nd 1953.

Bode Thomas got home and started barking! He barked and barked like a dog all night until he died in the early morning of November 23, 1953. He had cut short his promising career through pride and died without fulfilling his potentials.

Although, what the Alaafin did might have been extreme. It’s a lesson to us all that “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Have a historical week ahead.

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Unbowed! Unbent! Unbroken! A Perfect Gentleman...

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