By Dayo Johnson, Dapo Akinrefon, Gbenga Olarinoye & Rotimi Ojomoyela
THE last is yet to be heard of the Olugbo of Ugbo kingdom, Oba Frederick Obateru Akinruntan.
The controversial monarch recently stirred the hornet’s nest when he boasted that he remains the leader of all Yoruba obas.
Oba Akinruntan, who is not in the good books of some traditional rulers in the South West, said he was superior to the monarchs.
He made the assertion while installing the Yoruba Obas in Diaspora, a development which.
At the installation held at his palace in Ugboland, Akinruntan said: “I am ready to crown more kings from the Diaspora as long as I remain the number one king in Yorubaland. I am the custodian of the Yoruba culture. “I am going to give more Obas in the Diaspora crowns. Many of them will get crowns and staff of office from me and nobody can query me. They know that I’m a special Oba in Yorubaland. My father, Oba Makin Osangangan, is the owner of Ife. “I am the leader of all Obas in Yorubaland. I speak with thunder in my mouth and I make bold to say so. No one is above me in Yorubaland in as much as it has been accepted that we are from Ife. I am the one that Oduduwa met at Ife.”
Yoruba monarchs flay Akinruntan
You are blinded by wealth-Ekiti Monarch tells Olugbo
Akinruntan’s remarks were welcome with outrage from monarchs, who opine he is blinded by his wealth.
First to fire the salvo was a former chairman, Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, the Onitaji of Itami-Ekiti, Oba Adamo Babalola.
Oba Babalola described as a misrepresentation of history, the statement credited to the Olugbo of Ugboland that he is the leader of all Yoruba Obas.
Speaking with Vanguard , the Ekiti monarch said: “Olugbo is entitled to his opinion, he has to prove it that he is the father of all Yoruba Obas. When somebody stumbles on wealth, he may not know his position again, he may be clouded by it.
“Otherwise, I think he is saying what he does not know about. Where is his source? If we trace his source, it is then we will know who he is. Anybody whose source is not form Ife, is not a Yoruba man.”
However, his counterpart in Ondo State, the Deji of Akure land, Oba Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo declined making any comments on the matter.
Oba Aladetoyinbo, who is also chairman of the council of Obas in Ondo state, who spoke through his Chief Press secretary to the Deji, Michael Adeyeye said: “His Majesty has declined to make comment. He will do that at the appropriate time.”
Meanwhile, Oba Akinruntan drew the ire of his counterparts in Ondo State.
The Zaki of Arigidi Oba Yisa Olanipekun and the Owale of Ikare, Oba Kolapo Adegbite lampooned the monarch.
He has overstepped his bound— Zaki of Arigidi
The Zaki of Arigidi, Oba Olanipekun said the Olugbo’s excesses were becoming unbearable adding that “he has overstepped his bounds.”
Oba Olanipekun said that the Olugbo, by that statement, “has overstepped his bound. His excesses are becoming unbearable.”
He said: “He is not the qualified to be the leader of Obas in Yourubaland. Is he now equating himself to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi and the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi or the Awujale of Ijebu, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona? He is been pushed by his wealth. He is only being tolerated.
“The Olugbo is biting more than he can chew. He is not qualified to be leader of all Obas in Yourubaland.”
Olugbo’s assertion is self serving—Oba Adegbite
Also berating the Olugbo, the Owale of Ikare, Oba Kolapo Adegbite said: “Although the Olugbo is entitled to his opinion but what is the relevance of this to the Yourubaland and we as Obas?
“The sum total is what does he want to achieve by this claim? He claimed to be the chairman of the Conflict Resolution Committee but is he resolving crisis or creating more crisis by this assertion?
“Instead of finding ways to unite ourselves internally in the region, the Olugbo is busy poisoning minds. Does this make us greater, does his assertion extend his domain beyond Ugbo? Does Ugbo extend to Ikare? He should talk more about important issues that will benefit his people and the Yorubaland instead of claiming superiority over all other Obas. He is, by this statement, fuelling crisis instead of resolving crisis.”
While wondering whether the assertion would benefit the Yoruba monarchs, the Owale of Ikare said: “To me, the assertion is self serving and it has no basis at all. It is not correct that he is the leader of all the Yoruba obas. He is opening up a Pandora about the history of Oba ship.”
In Osun State, prominent traditional rulers, when contacted on the claim by Oba Akinruntan said they were not prepared to pass comments on the stance of the monarch.
Those contacted by Vanguard include the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba AbdulRasheed Akanbi; the Ogiyan of Ejigbo, Oba Oyeyode Oyesosin and the Orangun of Ila, Oba AbdulWahab Adedotun.
The traditional rulers, who all spoke through their press secretaries, respectively, stated that they have the mandate of their principals not to engage the Olugbo of Ugbo kingdom in any controversy.
Yoruba history being distorted
However, one of the royal fathers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, expressed his worry that Yoruba history was being distorted by the traditional rulers.
The traditional ruler said: “I am surprised that those who should be custodians of history of Yoruba are the ones distorting it. It is even more embarrassing that this coming out from those who ought to know better; they are the ones who are distorting the history of the Yoruba.
“But, I can assure you that those of us who are very much concerned about these developments, will come out very soon to put the record straight.”
It was further learned that the traditional rulers in the state resolved not to engage Oba Akinruntan in any controversy further in other not to desecrate the traditional rulers’ institution.