The lingering feud between two heavy weight Yoruba monarchs, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and the Olugbo of Ugbo kingdom,Ondo, Oba Oba
The lingering feud between two heavy weight Yoruba monarchs, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and the Olugbo of Ugbo kingdom,Ondo, Oba Obateru Akinruntan, the wealthy oil magnate and founder of Obat Oil, is not likely to abate any time soon judging by the constant jabs and attacks the Olugbo keeps throwing the way of the Ooni over what he considers to be the distortion of Yoruba history.
From countering the Ooni’s claim that Ife is the authentic cradle of the Yoruba kingdom – the Olugbo claims the Ugbos are aboriginal settlers and owners of Ile-Ife because their forefathers descended from heaven; to the Olugbo attacking the Ooni for describing Moremi Ajasaro as a heroine – the Olugbo believes Moremi was a traitor who betrayed her husband, Osangangan Obamakin and thus shouldn’t be considered a heroine; to several other instances where the Olugbo would waste no time to counter any statement on Yoruba history the Ooni makes.
The latest disagreement between the duo is a statement the Ooni made about Igbo traders being more or less responsible for the beginning of commerce in Yorubaland while also praising their economic and daring commercial acumen. In addition, the Ooni more or less attributed Yoruba ancestry to the Igbos.
Miffed by this, Oba Akinrutan fired a lengthy and scathing letter to the Ooni where he reiterated the need for the Ooni to be mindful of the gravity of his words especially because of the reverence attached to his position. In the letter, the Olugbo said that while he understands the importance of fostering inter-ethnic cohesion between the Yorubas and the Igbos, it shouldn’t be an excuse for the Ooni to use his position to denigrate the Yoruba historical heritage.
He said many Monarchs in Yoruba land including High Chiefs and Elders are worried about the several ‘false’ claims the Ooni was ascribing to Yoruba history ever since he ascended the throne; the latest of which is his assertion of the aboriginality of the Igbos in Ife and their ownership of ‘Aje.’
The Olugbo said that despite the fact that Ooni is the greatest beneficiary of the culture, custom, traditions and historical heritage of Yorubaland, he seemed to be so determined to remove Yoruba landmarks and destroy Yoruba’s historical heritage which could result into a generational catastrophy and mitigate against the progress of Yoruba sons and daughters.
The Olugbo wondered why the Ooni has chosen to corrupt Yoruba history and if there is a deliberate scheme from the Palace of Ife to destroy the truth about the authentic history of Yorubaland, which establishes a Pre-Oduduwa era adding that the Ooni seemed determined to sell the Yorubas to the Igbos like a commodity in the market.
Oba Akinruntan stressed in the letter that the Ooni’s assertions are void of facts on the aboriginality of Igbos in Yorubaland, but that rather than have the Ooni invite him for clarification, he would rather have the Ooni set him up with one of his aides alongside Yoruba scholars of note so he can educate them at his level and compare notes.
He then proceeded to drag the Ooni’s Director of Media Services, Moses Olafare and the Traditional Guide to the Ooni, Oloye Tajudeen and all others who have a duty to ensure that the Ooni does not live a life, say or do anything that will cast aspersions on the exalted throne he sits upon or undermine the safety or cultural fortunes of Yorubas. He said that these aforementioned people have instead allowed the Ooni to continue to ‘denigrate’ the Yoruba culture rather than protect him by having such ‘false’ assertions out of reach from the media, pending when the Ooni makes further consultations.
Continuing, Akinruntan said he is very much saddened that the Ooni could desecrate Ile-Ugbo, which, is the most sacred part of Ife Palace occupied by the rulers of Ugbomokun by ascribing it to Igbos of South East Nigeria.
He said, “Kabiyesi, falsehood remains falsehood, even when it is dressed in gold. This is a great disservice to our deities and ancestors.
“Kabiyesi, can the Igbos show us how the Oro Isese is performed? Kabiyesi, Olugbo, Osangamgam Obamakin, husband of Moremi gave her the Aja and initiated her into Oro…Moremi Ti O N Fi Aja Se Oro. Which of the Igbo Kings can describe the Oro or give the Oro corpus? Kabiyesi Oonirinsa, Ofun Alaje does not refer to the Igbos of South East Nigeria and I will make an elaborate submission to Your Majesty on this quite soon,” Akinruntan ended his letter.