The Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, has said the Ooni of Ife remains the highest in the ranking of principal Obas in Yorubaland.
He said this in his palace in Ake, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, while receiving the new Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, and the retinue of monarchs and chiefs that came with him on Sunday.
Oba Gbadebo, who identified ego as the cause of disunity among monarchs in Yorubaland, listed the other principal Obas below the Ooni, as the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba of Benin, Alake of Egbaland and Awujale of Ijebuland.
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 a supremacy basis. After the Ooni is the Alaafin of Oyo; after the Alaafin is 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, is the Awujale of Ijebuland.
“So, it’s our pleasure that you are in our midst today. We are happy to receive you.”
He commended Oba Ogunwusi for his peace and unity crusade, noting that these were hallmarks “of a child that is well brought up.”
Alake, who described former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as “a true son of Egbaland,” also scored him high on culture for visiting the Ooni and prostrating before him.
He said, “You have demonstrated good upbringing already since you started. Baba Nigeria, Obasanjo, visited and prostrated as a man of culture before the Ooni. The newspapers carried it yesterday (Saturday). We are proud that it is an Egba who went to visit the spiritual father of Yorubaland.”
The Alake said monarchs and leaders in Yorubaland must shun self-aggrandisement in order to hasten the development of the South-West.
He said, “Actually there is nothing wrong in terms of unity, but the challenge has always been 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 among 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.”
Oba Gbadebo, who noted that it had become imperative for the people of Yorubaland to continue to accord the due respect to the institution of the Ooni of Ife, also urged Oba Ogunwusi to exhibit humility he had been known for since he ascended the throne.
He said the Ooni should ensure the reconstruction of burnt houses which had become the relics of the Ife-Modakeke communal clashes.
In his own remarks, Oba Ogunwusi expressed delight at the reception organised for him. He said there could never be progress where there was no unity.
The Ile-Ife monarch noted that any attempt to pursue development without unity could be likened to putting the cart before the horse.
He said, “We are the most blessed in the country, I mean in Yorubaland. We could only achieve the necessary development if we unite, most especially the traditional rulers.
“There cannot be development without unity and peace.”
He lamented the lack of unity among the traditional rulers in the South-West and stressed that the move towards achieving unity in Yorubaland had commenced since his coronation as the Ooni of Ife.