The Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo has declared that the Ooni of Ife remained the supreme and highest in ranking of Yoruba Obas.
This is coming as many Yoruba Obas are of the opinion that Ooni was not supreme and that every Oba must take care of his territory.
Alake, while playing host to the Ooni, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi at his palace in Ake in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital identified ego as the cause of disunity amongst traditional rulers and people of Yorubaland.
He lamented the lack of unity among the traditional rulers in Yorubaland, but stressed that the move towards achieving that in Yorubaland has begun with his ascension as the Ooni of Ife.
Oba Gbadebo maintained that Ooni remained the first out of the first five principal Yoruba Obas in history.
The Alake also listed the other obas below the Ooni to include the Alaafin of Oyo and the Oba of Benin coming second and third, respectively, in the order of ranking.
He listed his own title, the Alake of Egbaland as the fourth while the Awujale of Ijebuland occupies the lowest.
The Alake however blamed the age-long disunity amongst Yoruba monarchs on ego, saying the promotion of selfish aggrandizement had been the bane of development in the area.
He therefore urged all the other Obas in Yorubaland to humble themselves in order to achieve the much-sought after unity in Yorubaland.
Oba Gbadebo said it had become imperative for the people of Yorubaland to continue to accord the necessary respect to the institution of the Ooni of Ife.
He expressed delight at the respect former president Olusegun Obasanjo demonstrated during his visit to the Ooni when inspite of the age difference, prostrated for the Ife monarch.
The Alake also commended the Ooni for the humility he has continued to exhibit since his ascension to the ancient throne.
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. So, it’s our pleasure that you are in our midst today. We are happy to receive you.
“You have demonstrated good upbringing already since you started. Baba Nigeria, Obasanjo came and demonstrated and prostrated as a man of culture. The papers carried it yesterday. We are proud that it was an Egba who came to visit the spiritual father of Yorubaland.
“Actually there is nothing wrong in terms of unity, it is ego-tripping, what people would think of me, I want to promote my own image. That is what has been wrong with us all along. Once we stop promoting self-image, there will be unity amongst us.
“Every Oba in Yorubaland has a letter of appointment. Nobody has made you Oba of a place that you have not conquered or you think in terms of conquest. Why must you now call yourself what you are not? So, as you go along let this your humility be your watchword.”
The Alake also charged the Ooni to strive to ensure that families, communities and property affected during the destructive Ife – Modakeke communal crisis were rehabilitated.
Oba Gbadebo, who prayed that the tenure of Ooni Ogunwusi should witness peace, also admonished the monarch not to get tired in his search for unity in Yorubaland.
The Alake stressed that he had no doubt that the Ooni would move the Yoruba race forward with his peace moves adding that his visit to Yoruba Obas would engender needed peace and progress of the people.
He lamented the lack of unity among the traditional rulers in Yorubaland, but stressed that the move towards achieving that in Yorubaland has begun with his ascension as the Ooni of Ife.
Ooni emphasised that love and unity of purpose should precede the much-sought after progress of Yorubaland which he is determined to pursue in collaboration with other monarchs.

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