Battle of Supremacy! Ooni of Ife allegedly desecrate position, Yoruba Culture

Alaafin blows hot, says “No Oba in Yoruba land is superior to me’’

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Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi

The CapitalNG>>> The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi might just be falling gradually into a den of lions ready to devour him if cautioned is not observed. Several complains have been heard about his recurring display of arrogance and perpetual late coming during events where other Kings and dignitaries are in attendance.

It was gathered that the Oba not only arrives late to occasions, but constitutes nuisance on arrival with his talking drums and entourage.

According to information making the rounds, the last straw that broke the camel’s back was at the academic ceremony last Thursday, held at the Oduduwa Hall of the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Osun State.


It was the Annual Lecture and Award Ceremony organized by the university’s Faculty of Education, in honour of the renowned legal luminary, Are Afe Babalola, who was a Guest Lecturer award recipient.

The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111, and the Ooni of Ife were invited to the colourful event.

As usual, Oba Adeyemi who was the first to arrive at the university with his drummers, about two and a half hours before the commencement of the event, was warmly received by the organizers and accommodated at a VIP room.

While this lasted, the students were thrilled by unique beating styles of the Alaafin’s drummers who stayed at the entrance of the VIP room, as they were elated and dancing to the delightful tunes.

Few hours later, Are Afe Babalola arrived at the university with his entourage, comprising about twelve Professors from the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti [ABUA].

The legal icon was immediately led to where the VIP lodge where he greeted the Alaafin, apologized, and expressed strong dismay over what he referred to as ‘’undue delay at the Ooni’s palace’’ which resulted in his late arrival and absolutely not in his character.

Shortly thereafter, they were led into venue of the event.

For about twenty minutes, the Alaafin’s drummers consisting of dundun and sekere, as well as a praise poet entertained the invited guests and students, who admired their mastery of the beats and Yoruba poetry.

The programme later commenced, and about twenty five minutes into the event, the Ooni of Ife in his habitual lateness arrived with his large entourage, including the drummers and gong beaters.

For fifteen minutes, the programme was held back to the annoyance of some invited guests and students over abusive drumming against the Alaafin.

Consequently, Alaafin enquired from Ooni whether or not he understood the message of his drummers. But Ooni denied the knowledge.

While delivering his lecture, Are Afe Babalola, who apologized to the gathering, said he had nasty experience at the Ooni’s palace.

The Ooni of Ife who was called upon for his remark urged the students to emulate good virtues, and rounded up his address with songs.

When it came to the turn of Oba [Dr.] Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111, it was moment of excitement for both the students and invited guests.

The Alaafin of Oyo, and Permanent Chairman, Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs is a monarch with class.

He is an enigma by every standard and a chance meeting with him is like an expository adventure through a school of history.

One enviable highpoint in His life is his deep knowledge and high sense of recounting historic events with facts and figures, and with an accuracy that will beat the imagination of youthful intellectuals.

The Alaafin, who will clock eighty years of age soon still remembers events of over a hundred years old, and still writes his scripts unaided.

He is a consummate reader and would pass any day, for a Professor of ancient/modern history and archaeology.

One enviable highpoint in the life of this great monarch is his deep knowledge and high sense of recounting historic events with facts and figures; and with an accuracy that’ll beat the imagination of intellectuals.

His Imperial Majesty started his thought provoking remark by educating the guests on the Yoruba talking drum.

He said that talking drum of the Yoruba was invented from Oyo.

According to Him, ‘’it was first assembled for the Alaafin, as his musical outfit whenever he goes to war. He used it to motivate his army. Today, we celebrate it because it is one of the things the Africans, the Oyo people and Yoruba gave to the world and which cannot be done by any other. It is an important cultural device of the Yoruba people’’.

Alaafin explained that in Yoruba land, the talking drum is a percussion to which people can rhythmically dance, but the Alaafin of Oyo, His royal majesty, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi said recently that the cultural significance of the Yoruba talking drum goes beyond mere entertainment value.


The paramount descended on the Ooni’s drummers for their acts of notoriety and uncouth manners which typified their shallow-mindedness and bestiality as exhibited in their abusive drumming against him.

Oba Adeyemi who sternly warned the nervous-looking drummers to desist from such senseless display or face the dire consequences in the presence of the Ooni who was visibly worried, declared before the large gathering that ‘’no Oba in Yoruba-land is superior to the Alaafin”, amid rounds of applause.

“As a royal father and custodian of Yoruba heritage, the talking drum is an important cultural evaluation of the Yoruba people and it was given leap and pioneered by the Oyo Yoruba. When people hear of the talking drum, they believe it is just an instrument to be drummed for people to dance but it is not so, we can use it as a means of conveying message and not for acts of notoriety’’.

“Our history and oral traditions were handed down to us by purely non-literate people. So, the talking drum is an important source of history. Other sources aside the talking drums are poetry or what we call chants. Almost all the established Oyo families, compounds, lineages, can recite their Orikis, and these are done with the talking drum. The Oriki can’t be complete without the Sekere and talking drums’’.

Alaafin also narrated how he technically defeated the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade in court, through his lawyer, Afe, over royal supremacy battle.

Said he, ‘’it was a tough at a Federal High Court in Abuja battle between the two legal titans, Are Afe Babalola and late Chief G.O.K. Ajayi. All the evidences and exhibits tendered by Are Afe Babalola could neither be replied nor contested by counsel to the late Ooni, Chief G.O,K. Ajayi, while the Court had been adjourning and yet to come up with its judgment till today”.