I Remain King, Head Of Yoruba Nation: Yoruba Monarchs Divided Over Alaafin’s Remarks

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….As Oluwo, Deji, Onisan of Ekiti, Aseyin, others speak

MIXED reactions, yesterday, trailed comments made by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, who described himself as the king and head of the Yoruba Nation.

While some traditional rulers in the South West supported Alaafin’s position, others said he (Alaafin) was entitled to his opinion.

The Alaafin had said that out of all Yoruba kings, he remains the only monarch who reserves the exclusive rights to confer chieftaincy titles that would cover Yorubaland, on worthy individuals.

Oba Adeyemi, who spoke at the conferment of chieftaincy titles of Atobaase and Ayedero of Yorubaland on Messrs Babajide Agunbiade and Shina Peller, respectively, had said: ‘From time immemorial, he is the king and head of the Yoruba Nation. He is the only king in Yoruba land who can confer chieftaincy title on a worthy individual, man or woman, to cover Yorubaland’.

Alaafin is right—Oluwo of Iwo

Throwing his weight behind the Alaafin, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, said the title, Alaafin, conferred leadership on the monarch in the region, considering the fact that the title was first used by Oduduwa himself, and Oranmiyan.

Oba Akanbi said: “Look, the title Alaafin is ancient and was first used by Oduduwa, later Oranmiyan and now the Alaafin. The title itself confers authority on him.

“Though Oduduwa’s seat is not in Oyo, the exclusive title, Alaafin, belongs to him, and only Oba Adeyemi bears the title now.

“Alaafin literarily means the owner of the palace, and it is the greatest title in Yorubaland because it is the title ascribed to Oduduwa, and then known as Olofin.

“The title, Ooni, was coined by the Ugbo, who usurped the throne after Oduduwa.

“The Ugbos resented the title, Alaafin, when they usurped the throne, hence, created Ooni to show that they were not descendants of Oduduwa.

“Oranmiyan resuscitated the title in Oyo and the Oyo empire held on to it and made it widely accepted everywhere. Hence, he has the right to be the head of the Yoruba Nation.”

Yoruba obas have roots in Ife—Deji of Akure

On his part, the Deji of Akure land, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi said every authentic traditional ruler in Yorubaland has his root in Ile-Ile adding that the issue of exclusive right should not arise.

Oba Aladelusi said: “I have said it in several fora that the Yoruba Obas need to come together and see themselves as one, being descendants of Oduduwa.

“I don’t think there is the need for an argument that could heat up the polity at the moment.

“Every authentic Oba in Yoruba land has their roots in Ile-Ife and I don’t see anyone coming out to say something to the contrary. If you see anyone saying something else, then something is wrong somewhere.

“The issue of exclusive right does not arise. Are we now insinuating that other Obas in Yoruba land are no longer sons of Oduduwa and heirs to the throne? Is our root no longer from Ile-Ife?

“I don’t think it is right to arrogate such exclusive power to someone. In family settings, there is usually a first child and even the last child as the case may apply. Does that deprive the other children of their right to the properties or identities of their father?

“Does that confer exclusive rights of the decision in the family on the first child of the family without consultation with his siblings? No.

“That implies that every member of the family is important when it comes to taking a unanimous decision. The eldest could provide direction through persuasion and other elderly approaches that may be considered suitable and acceptable to all.

“There is orderliness in Yoruba land and I am sure that the prominent Yoruba Obas should be involved in conferring such titles that cut across the Yoruba nation and not just a right arrogated to oneself.”

I agree with Alaafin—Olu of Igbokoda

The Olu of Igbokoda in Ondo State, Oba Afolabi Odidiomo, however, backed the Alaafin saying he (Alaafin) is a direct descendant of Oduduwa Yoruba land

Oba Odidiomo said: “Who is Alaafin? Alaafin is a direct descendant of Oduduwa and in Yoruba land, after Oduduwa had taken over the mantle of leadership of Yoruba land; most other existing kings have been subsumed. So, Oduduwa reigned unchallenged until the Oyo Empire was established.

“With the establishment of the Oyo Empire up to Benin Republic, the sovereignty of the Alaafin was presumed to be unchallengeable by any other person. So, if there was any Oba that has the power and the right to make somebody a chief for the whole of Yoruba land is only Alaafin.

“No other king in the history of Yoruba could appoint anybody as a chief for the whole of Yoruba land. We are talking of the time the Oyo Empire was in charge.

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“It is also a matter of fact that most prominent Obas, even up to Benin Republic then were sons of Oduduwa that left either Ife or wherever to be king.

“By history, if there is anybody who has the power to give a chieftaincy title for Yoruba land. I agree with Alaafin.

“But with the coming of the white people, the powers of Obas became eroded.

“Under the law today, is it possible for anyone appointed chief of Yoruba land by the Alaafin to claim such in my kingdom? Under the law, he cannot. Modernity has changed a lot of things.”

Alaafin’s remarks untrue—Eselu of Iselu

In his remarks, the Eselu of Iselu Kingdom, Oba Ebenezer Akinyemi said restricting the conferment of Chieftaincy titles that will cover Yoruba land as the sole right of the Alaafin of Oyo is not a good one.

He said: All traditional rulers in Yoruba land have the right of jurisdiction in their domain.

“Ile-Ife, which is the cradle of the Yoruba race, the Ooni of Ife also has right to confer chieftaincy titles on worthy individuals because the Oyo kingdom, Ketu kingdom, Benin kingdom and other kingdoms, all originated from Ile-Ife.

“Also, the Awujale of Ijebuland should have the right of conferring Yoruba chieftaincy on worthy individuals, because he is one of the respected traditional rulers in Yoruba land

“What should be paramount to all traditional rulers in Yoruba land should be how to protect Yoruba land from series of attacks in the region.

“They should work for the unity and oneness of the Yoruba race.

I won’t join issues with him—Aseyin of Iseyin

The Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Abdulganiy Oloogunebi said that the Alaafin is free to confer chieftaincy titles on whomever he deems fit, provided it falls within his domain.

The Aseyin stated that the Alaafin is a first-class monarch and he has traditional rights to confer chieftaincy titles on a worthy individual, who he feels deserves such chieftaincy title.

He said: “I won’t join issues with him as a respected traditional ruler. We should respect elders in every situation.

“He is entitled to his opinion if he says he remained the king and head of Yoruba Nation. He can confer chieftaincy titles on any worthy individual he deemed fit.

“Since his statement, no first-class traditional ruler has countered him on his assertion. So I won’t join issues with him on that. I will respect his opinion.”

Alaafin entitled to his opinion — Owa Ajero

Also, the Owa Ajero of Ijero-Ekiti, Oba Joseph Adewole, has described Alaafin’s statements as his opinion.

Oba Adewole said: “Well, the monarch is entitled to his own opinion. We, the traditional rulers, know where he is referring to.

“Every traditional ruler is responsible within his kingdom. In terms of honouary traditional titles, I have several of them in my kingdom, but the Aare Ona Kakanfo the Alaafin is referring to, I have not bestowed such a title to anybody. I don’t have it in my kingdom, but I have installed many traditional chieftaincy titles that cover a particular region within my kingdom.”

His comments causing disaffection — Onisan of Isan-Ekiti

On his own, the Chairman, Ekiti State Traditional Council, Onisan of Isan-Ekiti, Oba Gabriel Ayodele Adejuwon, admitted to the fact that all monarchs have power and sovereignty within his kingdom.

The monarch, who frowned at the statement credited to Oba Adeyemi, said all traditional rulers within Yoruba land have authority within their domain.

He said: “I have authority within my domain. Let me tell you this, every traditional ruler wants to put himself in a position of authority and wants to prove that he has an edge over somebody.

“This type of statement credited to Alaafin is causing disaffection within the traditional council. For example, the position of Atayero, equivalent of what the Alaafin is referring to, is only responsible within a particular environment. He cannot come and claim any supremacy in my own region, and if he comes I will recognize him as an ordinary traditional title holder simple.

“All traditional rulers are supreme in their own domain.”

Vanguard

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