In Yorubaland, the ranking of – Kings or Obas – has been a topic which has generated much controversy over the years.
Moreso, the issue was once more raised as reactions continue to trail the snubbing of Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi by the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu.
In what seem like an answer to the lingering question of who are the most powerful kings in Yorubaland, the Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, revealed the top 5 paramount rulers in Yorubaland while making remarks in Lagos during the launch of an Endowment Fund for a Chair at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago – Iwoye in March, 2016.
Here are his position:
1. Ooni of Ife – is the most powerful king in Yorubaland. According to Alake, the Oni is the first of the five principal Obas in Yorubaland just like the Sultan is the highest ruler in northern Nigeria.
2. Alaafin of Oyo – second in ranking of Obas in Yorubaland. The Oyo Dynasty dates back to the Old Oyo empire which recognises Alaafin as emperor.
3. Oba of Benin – in some quarters, it is believed that the Oba of Benin is the highest as he heads the Eweka dynasty of the great Benin Kingdom. It is also said that the Yoruba people descended from Benin hence, the title of Oba, used to mean king was first created by Oba Eweka 1, Benin’s first Oba who ascended in 1180.
4. Alake of Egbaland – is the paramount ruler of Egbaland in Ogun State. Egba consists of Egba Alake, Owu Kingdom, Oke-Ana and Gbagura.
5. Awujale of Ijebuland – is the least of the five principal Obas in Yorubaland. Ijebu kingdom dates back to pre-colonial period of 15th century.