The Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, has berated the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, for categorising himself among the five top monarchs in Yorubaland.
At a fundraiser for a professorial chair instituted in his honour by the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, in Lagos on Thursday, the Awujale said the Alake was a junior oba in Yorubaland.
Reacting to a categorisation of monarchs by the Alake recently when the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, visited him (Alake), Oba Awujale said the Egba monarch was peddling falsehood and turning history upon its head.
The Awujale said, “The Alake, while receiving the Ooni in his palace, said Yoruba Obas (the ‘Big Five’ so to say) had been categorised with the Ooni in the first position followed by the Alaafin, the Oba of Benin, with the Alake coming fourth and the Awujale occupying the fifth spot in that order. He also went further to quote wrongly from a 1903 Gazette to support all the fallacies in his statement.”
He added that when he learnt about the comment, he contacted the Alake, who he added, vehemently denied saying so.
He added, “In a recent discussion between the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, and me, we also touched on the same issue and the Oba of Lagos told me that he too had asked Alake the same question, which he had again denied vehemently.
“Regrettably, however, when the said statement few days later was continuously credited to the Alake on the pages of newspapers, I expected him to deny it or issue a rebuttal, but he did not do so.
Therefore, I consider it necessary to debunk the falsehood and misrepresentation of facts from the Ake Palace so as to put the records straight.”
The Awujale argued that the 1903 Gazette referred to by the Alake was just a newspaper publication.
“The first question to Alake is: who categorised the Yoruba Obas and when? I challenge him to produce the document of the said categorisation. It is a known fact that Alake was a junior traditional ruler under the Alaafin at Orile Egba before he fled to Ibadan for refuge as a result of the war then ravaging the Yorubaland.
“Following the defeat of Owu by the Ijebu Army in 1826, the Owus became refugees all over Yorubaland. Some of the Ijebu troops that fought the war proceeded to Ibadan, where they met the Alake and sacked him; consequently forcing him to seek refuge at Ake in Abeokuta in 1830, where, of course, he met the Osile, Olowu and Agura already settled at Oke-Ona, Owu and Gbagura sections of Abeokuta township respectively.
Even then, the Olubara of Oyo origin had always argued that all the aforementioned four rulers met him in Abeokuta and therefore claimed to be their landlord.
“To even refer to the Alake as ‘the Alake of Abeokuta’, not to talk of Egbaland, is a misnomer, as his control since his arrival at Ake in 1830 and till today is restricted to the Ake section of Abeokuta. The official Government Gazette testifies to this fact.
“In short, the Alake, from history and all available records, is a very junior traditional ruler in Yorubaland. His peers in Ijebuland are the Dagburewe of Idowa; Ajalorun of Ijebu-Ife; Akija of Ikija-Ijebu; Olowu of Owu-Ijebu; Oloko of Ijebu-Imushin; Orimolusi of Ijebu-Igbo and Ebumawe of Ago Nwoye.”
Credits: The Punch