Chapter II: The King’s Enemies
After the death of the Kakanfo Oyabi, Afonja of Ilorin demanded the title ; but as a Prince (through the mother) the title was below his rank, for the Kakanfo ranks after the Basorun, but being the highest millitary title, it suited his restless nature best, and so he obtained it, almost by force. But King Aole was unwilling to initiate any civil war, and refused to take any action against Afonja after he had granted him the title.
Hitherto, Afonja alone was his enemy, the other chiefs were as yet loyal to him, but circumstances occurred, one after the other which created a disaffection between him and the Basorun and the other chiefs, fanning into a flame the destructive fire already smouldering in its embers.
The cause of quarrel between the King and Asamu the Basorun was this :
One Alaja-eta a Hausa trader at Oyo was plundered of his goods, under the pretext that he was bringing bad charms into the city. Among his confiscated goods was his Koran which he prized more than all his other stolen property. He appealed to the King, and he, from a sense of justice ordered that all his goods be restored to him. All but the Koran were accordingly restored. The Hausa again appealed to the King for this his most valued treasure ; the King insisted that search should be made and the lost Koran be restored.
The Basorun in whose possession it probably was, or who at any rate knew where it could be found, refused to restore it and told the King it could not be found ! His Majesty felt this keenly as an insult to his dignity ; he was heard to say " Is it come to this that my commands cannot be obeyed in my own capital ? Must it be said that I failed to redress the grievance of a stranger in my town ? That he appealed to me in vain ?"
Turning to the Basorun and pointing upwards he said, " Very well then, if you cannot find it my father (meaning the deified Sango) will find the Koran for me." As the god Sango is reputed to take vengeance on thieves and liars by burning their houses, so the next day, when lightning struck the Basorun’s house, great was his rage against the King for being instrumental in convicting him of theft and lying ! The ceremony of appeasing the god by the devotees, entailed heavy expenses on the Basorun who, had it been another man’s house might have gone shares with the Alafin in the fines imposed upon the sufferers. He knew where the trouble came from, for he noted the King’s words " My father will find it for me."
In this way he became the King’s enemy. Another circumstance occurred which added the Owota one of the Esos to the list of the King’s enemies. One Jankalawa who had offended the late King and who had escaped to the Bariba country when he sought to kill him, now returned after the King’s death and was flaunting about the streets of Oyo under the protection of Lafianu the Owota. The late King’s wives were angry at this and complained to Aole against Jankalawa. Said they " You have inherited our late husband’s wives, his treasures, slaves and his throne. Why not make his cause your cause and his enemies yours as well ? Why do you allow this Jankalawa to stalk so defiantly about the streets of Oyo?"