By Taiwo Abiodun
He walks briskly in and around the Alaafin of Oyo palace. He is very popular not only because of his diminutive figure but because of his humility and he does not get angry. Some call him a man with repository of knowledge of the Palace for he has the history off hand and some call him the Palace library or an archive. Welcome to the life of Morenikeji Lasisi also called Baba Keji or Baba Kekere.
Decked in his muslim praying cap with a Yoruba flowing gown (Agbada) he is popularly called Baba Kekere or Baba Keji. Asked of his name, he said ‘My name is Baba Morenikeji Laisi, and I am also called Baba Kekere. On when he has been in the palace, he boasted and said ” I have worked for the late Oba Adeniran Adeyemi II ,the father of the current Alaafin (1945 -1956) , I have also worked for the late Oba Ladigbolu who reigned between 1956 to 1968, then the present royal father, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III (1970 till present time).
On what he does in the palace, the man laughed with full confidence, beating his chest and said ”I am one of the servants of the king, I run errands for him”, he declared with full satisfaction, happiness and pride.
But one thing is clear, the old man does not know his age , for when asked how old he could be, he replied ”I don’t know my age, there was no record as at the time I was born”. Pressed further that he could not be less than 100 years, he did not deny or object to it and said ”yes, it is true, there is no doubt about that ”
Baba Keji spoke about his family and said none of his children lives with him at the palace, he said his children live in the Northern part of the country while his wife lives with him at the palace. Teased further whether he wants another wife if his wife does not take care of him very well as this reporter would give him another but the old man screamed, raising objection to it, ‘no, no, no, I don’t want another.
To amuse him further, this reporter told him that he is claimed to be the tallest at the palace of which he jokingly approved, ”Yes, I am the tallest in the palace here”, he said and burst into laughter.
Many people who know the old man said he could be 98 years of age while others said he has joined the club of centenarians.
For Baba Keji, he lives his full life in the palace as he truly showed his love to Iku Baba Yeye Alase Ekeji Orisa , His Imperial Majesty Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, the Alaafin of Oyo.