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 could talk to the press.
The Awujale’s aide said the monarch was ready to speak with media provided that a letter of request for interview is sent to him.
Ooni not in supremacy battle with anyone
Meanwhile, as the controversy over the ranking of traditional rulers in Yorubaland continued yesterday, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi said he would not want to be drawn into supremacy battle with any traditional ruler in the country.
Oba Ogunwusi reiterated his desire for a more united Yoruba race and peaceful Nigeria.
The Esogban of Benin and Odionwere of the kingdom (Traditional Head), Chief David Edebiri had on Monday said the Alake of Egba land, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo goofed when he said the Oba of Benin was third in the hierarchy of Obas.
He explained that the Ooni of Ife was a son of the Oba of Benin, adding that the stool of the Oba of Benin could not be compared with that of any Yoruba king. But when contacted to comment on the statement credited to the palace of Oba of Benin, the Director of Media and Public Affairs, Ooni’s Palace Moses Olafare said the only thing that was paramount to Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi now remains the need to foster unity and healthy development among the Yorubas and the entire nation.
His words: “Let me emphasize for the umpteen time that kabiyesi Ooni is less concerned over any supremacy hullabaloo, 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. I am resolutely committed to how Yoruba ethnic group can restore its glory and pride position among other ethnic inclinations in Nigeria and don’t want to be dragged into supremacy contest or join issues with anybody.”