According to tradition, the Eleshin Ọba is to accompany the king to the land of the dead. So, he needs to die too by killing himself
When the ritual for the Aláàfins death was to be celebrated in 1946, the British Officer went out and arrested Eleshin Ọba and threw him into jail because according to British Law, attempted suicide is a criminal offense.
The Eleshin Oba’s son who was at that time a trader in the Gold Coast (Ghana) rushed home in order to bury his father. On seeing him alive, he was so horrified by the abomination that he committed suicide on the spot.
The historical event was originally researched & related by Pierre Verger in the 1960s the play by Prof. Wole Soyinka was originally published in 1975.
Eleshin Ọba, The King’s Horseman is a 2022 Yoruba historical drama film directed by Biyi Bandele and distributed by Netflix, based on Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman, a stage play he wrote while in Cambridge, where he was a fellow at Churchill College during his political exile from Nigeria and it is based on a real incident that took place in Yorubaland during British Colonial rule.
This story has been turned into a Netflix movie and it’s currently streaming.
After the death of Alaafin Siyanbola Ladigbolu I, Alaafin of Oyo between 1911 – 1944. The events surrounding the aftermath of his death was the subject of Wole Soyinka’s play, Death and the King’s Horseman