There is an ongoing debate and battle of supremacy between the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, and Olugbo of Ugbo, Oba Obateru Akinruntan, over which throne is the monarchical seat of power in Yorubaland and the origin of Oduduwa, the so-called progenitor of the Yoruba people.
Oba Akinruntan, in the latest of debates between the monarchs, maintains that one Moremi Ajasoro, according to Yoruba oral tradition was a traitor. However, the Ooni of Ife disagreed. Oba Ogunwusi of Ife, described Moremi as a goddess and recently built a 42-foot statue in her honour.
To the Ondo monarch, Moremi was a traitor who betrayed her husband, Osangangan Obamakin.
But in a swift reaction, the Ife monarch said Olugbo did not have deep knowledge of Yoruba history.
For Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Lagos, Anthony Asiwaju, contestation for supremacy among and between Yoruba Obas will continue to linger because of the politicisation of Yorubaland’s oral tradition.
He said the controversy was ignited early during European colonial rule. “It all started when the British authorities tried using the Obaship institution to achieve in Yorubaland what their so-called Indirect Rule system was attaining for them in the Northern Emirates of Nigeria. The encounter with a bewildering number of traditional rulers in several parts of Yorubaland caused the colonial authorities to inquire after who is who among them. And since they had come to know that Ile-Ife is the commonly acclaimed ancestral home of most of the claimants, the Ooni of Ife became the point of reference”.