A Yoruba historian, Rufus Adebowale, has disagreed with feuding Yoruba monarchs, the Awujale of Ijebuland, Sikiru Adetona, and the Alake of Egbaland, Adedotun Gbadebo, on their perspectives on the hierarchy of Yoruba traditional stools.
He said both the Awujale and the Alake were inaccurate in their analyses of the history of the Yoruba race.
Mr. Adebowale, a prince from the Okukenu ruling house of Egbaland, however backed Oba Gbadebo in some of his claims and attacked Oba Adetona for being critical of the Egba monarch.
The historian spoke to journalists in Abeokuta on Friday while reacting to the widely publicized contentions between the traditional rulers on the seniority of their stools.
According to him, Awujale is a foreigner in Yoruba land, as the Ijebus originated from Wadai in Sudan.
Mr. Adebowale said as a foreigner in Yorubaland, the Awujale and his Ijebu people lacked the authority to speak on the history of the Yoruba race.
The 72-year old historian also declared that the Alake distorted history by claiming that Alaafin was next to the Ooni of Ife.
He said the statement credited to the Awujale that the Alake was a junior traditional ruler was very insulting and a distortion of history.
Mr. Adebowale said, “I read about the tongue-lashing of Awujale on my royal father, he said Alake is a junior Oba in Yorubaland, this is a great distortion of history.
“My royal father is extraordinarily humble, he manages peace and unity and not crises and that is why he is ignoring all those things from the Awujale,” he said.
“In the first instance, Awujale shouldn’t have dabbled into the issue of Obas in Yorubaland because he is not of Oduduwa origin, the Ijebus came from Wadai and my contemporary authority is Pa Olusegun Obasanjo because he had put it to Awujale himself that they are not Oduduwa descendants.
“What Awujale said was very insulting and a great distortion of history. Our progenitor father is Oduduwa who came from Saudi Arabia. When he was coming from Saudi Arabia, he came with an aide who was later named Ooni, by the time he was dying, he left all he had in the possession of Ooni; Omonide, his wife; and Okanbi, the only
“First of all, the Ijebus know who is who in Yorubaland, their progenitor father emulated Oduduwa, they are from Wadai, that man heard that Oduduwa had settled down in a place called Ife, he also came down and settled.”
According to Mr. Adebowale, who is from the same ruling house with the incumbent Alake, the correct order of seniority ranks the Ooni of Ife as the foremost Oba in Yoruba land, while the Alake is the third behind the Oba of Benin.
“Alake said Ooni is the foremost Oba in Yorubaland, that is very correct, because Ooni had known Omonide and Okanbi who now beget the Obas in Yorubaland.
“There is a part of the history that says that Oduduwa died at Ife. Omonide, Oduduwa’s wife died in Egba forest at Alake’s place.
“So, when she died at Egba forest, she was buried and when the Egbas were coming to Abeokuta in 1830 August, they came to Abeokuta with the pots which she was using in preparing concoctions for her children; they were at Ake palace here where we worship Omonide every year.”
He explained that other Obas in Yorubaland, including the Alafin of Oyo, had never contested the superiority of the Alake.
“So all others, they do not contend superiority with Alake; the Orangun, Owa Obokun, and some others like Alaketu, so you can see now that to say Alaafin is next to Ooni is a great distortion of history, Mr. Adebowale said.
“What I am contending here is that Awujale who is not of Yoruba origin cannot be requesting for yardstick in setting out our seniority cadre.
“Both Awujale and Alake lacked history. If Alake is Alake of Ake, what concerns Awujale who is a foreigner? We are grandchildren of Oduduwa.”