Student Village Academy Forums GENERAL DISCUSSIONS The story of “Bode Thomas”, the iconic Nigerian lawyer who ‘died barking like a dog after insulting a king’

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      The story of “Bode Thomas”, the iconic Nigerian lawyer who ‘died barking like a dog after insulting a king’

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      Few people in Nigeria’s sociopolitical history have quickly ascended the ladder of notoriety and passed away in the middle of the day when there was still much work to be done, rather than in the evening when their life were coming to an end.

      Olabode Akanbi Thomas, also known as Chief Bode Thomas, was the victim of this.

      Thomas, who was born in October 1919, and away suddenly on November 23, 1953, at the age of just 34.

      The day also marked the second birthday of his daughter, bringing both happiness and sorrow to the Bode family.

      A day prior, on November 22, 1953, Bode, who had been made the chairman of the Oyo Divisional Council having taken over from Alaafin Adeyemi II, arrived at a meeting of the council with the Oba (king) in attendance as a member 
      History holds that all the other councillors, except Oba Adeyemi in his 60s, stood to welcome him. Thomas then impolitely told the king “why were you sitting when I walked in? Why can’t you show me respect?” 
      The Alaafin, feeling disrespected, asked Thomas “shey emi on gbo mo baun? emi ni ongbo bi aja mo baun” meaning “is it me you are barking at like that?’ is it me you are barking like a dog at like that? keep barking.” 
      Picture of Alaafin Adeyemi II

      Several sources also claim that Thomas began barking all night long at his Yaba, Lagos residence following the encounter in Oyo. Despite being taken to Ijebu-Igbo for additional treatment, he passed away the next day (November 23, 1953).

      Since Thomas and Alaafin Aderemi II were both Yoruba, he must have been aware of the long-standing Yoruba custom of obeying elders and traditional authorities.

      However, it appears that the two’s differences of opinion were caused by a power struggle over tax mobilization, political party support, and conventional authority privileges.

      Alaafin, Awolowo, and Thomas had participated in a form of power test, while Alaafin was on the other side. The conflict resulted in Thomas’ death, the Oba’s son being exiled, and Awolowo deposing the Alaafin.

      Thomas served as Nigeria’s first minister of works before becoming minister of transportation. In addition, he held positions as a colonial minister for the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria and a nobleman and privy counsellor for Yorubaland’s illustrious Oyo clan.

      The popular ‘Bode Thomas Street’ in Surulere is named after him. 
      Thanks for your time. Don’t forget to follow us @NigeriaStories
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