No Internet scam: Kansas lawyer really could be Nigerian king

Adebayo Ogunmeno is a lawyer in Kansas City, Kan., but he is considering a second career: being a king.

Ogunmeno, 54, is a prince in the Yoruba tribe in southwest Nigeria, and when the time comes, says he thinks he has a good chance to ascend to the throne.

If his plans pan out, it would be an abrupt return to a traditional Yoruba upbringing that he left 26 years ago.

"It is a part of life," he said. "A king is the spiritual leader of the people."

Ogunmeno immigrated to the United States in his 20s, earned a degree in political science and a law degree from Washburn University School of Law in Topeka in 1990.

The next year, he started his current practice of criminal defense and plaintiff law. He recently finished a book, "Silence is Power," about how citizens can protect their constitutional rights.

He returns to Nigeria on vacation nearly every year, where he has an adult son and ties to his native culture.

The current king is getting old, so Ogunmeno, who is related on his mother's side, has decided that he will throw his hat in the ring. If the king dies or steps down, one of the four ruling houses will conduct an election within it to pick the successor. A chief priest then would consult the gods on who would be best, and would report to the kingmakers.

If Ogunmeno would become king, he would rule his home city of Sagamu, which has more than 200,000 residents, and the surrounding area of more than 30 cities, towns and villages.

Other princes are eligible, but many have modern careers and do not want a kingship. The king, tied to ancient traditions and the native religion, must be present at animal sacrifices and other ceremonies related to the many gods.

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