The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, has distanced himself from any supremacy battle with any traditional ruler in the country, saying he is committed to the task of uniting all the descendants of Oduduwa and would not want to be distracted.
The statement from the royal father was in response to a statement credited to the palace of the Oba of Benin that the Oba of the kingdom was greater than any Yoruba Oba, and that he would not want to be dragged into the matter.
The statement from the Palace of the Ooni and signed by the Director of its Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Moses Olafare, said the Alake of Egba land, Oba Aremu Gbadebo, who had ranked the leading Obas in Yoruba land had done so in his own rights as a bona-fide Oodua descendant.
“Let me emphasize for the umpteenth time that Kabiyesi Ooni is less concerned over any supremacy battle. His only interest for now on the sacred throne of Oduduwa is to explore measures through which the collective interest and genuine unity among Yoruba and other tribes within the larger House of Oduduwa can be enhanced.
“This informed his resolve to build bridges of harmony among Yourba Obas. He is, therefore, resolutely committed to how Yoruba ethnic group can restore its glory and pride position among other ethnic inclinations in Nigeria and wouldn’t want to be dragged into supremacy contest or join issues with anybody.
“The statement credited to the Alake of Egbaland did not emanate from us but the reality is that as a highly experienced and well informed monarch kabiyesi Alake who is a bona-fide Oodua descendant is entitled to his opinion based on his knowledge and understanding of history.”
“We in Oduduwa land have always seen and regarded our people in Benin kingdom as part and parcel of Oduduwa House. They are our brothers and sisters, coupled with historical facts to backup this position… We still identify with them as our kinsmen, regardless of the attempt to change the course of history,” the palace stated.
Alake insists Ooni is number one traditional ruler in Yorubaland
Meanwhile, the Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo has maintained his stand on the ranking of Yoruba Obas, pledging to release evidence to back his claims.
The Alake who spoke through his Special Adviser on media Affairs, Chief Lai Labode said he does not want to engage in controversy with anyone.
The Paramount ruler had on Saturday stirred the hornet’s nest, declaring that the Ooni of Ife remained the highest in the ranking of Yoruba Obas.
The Alake who also identified ego as the cause of disunity among traditional rulers and people of Yoruba extraction, said the Ife monarch is the highest of the five principal Obas in Yorubaland.
Oba Gbadebo said this while receiving the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi in his Ake, Abeokuta, Ogun State palace.
The Alake who had listed the other Obas below the Ooni to include the Alaafin of Oyo and the Oba of Benin coming second and third, respectively, in that order.
He also listed his own title, the Alake of Egbaland as the fourth while the Awujale of Ijebuland occupies the lowest rung of ladder.
The Alake said, “Ooni is one of the five principal Obas in Yorubaland. The others are in order of the way they are classified on supremacy basis. After the Ooni is the Alaafin. After the Alaafin, the Oba of Benin. After the Oba of Benin, it comes to the Alake of Egbaland and the fifth and by no means the last or the least, the Awujale of Ijebuland.’’
Although, the paramount ruler was said to be unavailable to clear some issues relating to his claim, his aide disclosed that the monarch had sent an evidence to support his claim through his private secretary who was not available as at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, the Awujale and Paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona could not be reached as his Personal Assistant, simply identified as Toyin requested for a letter of interview before Awujale before he could talk to the press.
The Awujale aide said the monarch was ready to speak with media provided that a letter of request for interview is sent to him.