Alake insists on Yoruba monarchs ranking claim
Says he spoke on historical facts
The Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, yesterday defended his claim on the ranking of Yoruba monarchs.
Oba Gbadebo, who said he was not ready to “trade insults with the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, spoke in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
He affirmed that “the intention of the Egba was never to whip up any controversy or demean anybody, rather it is always to educate the public by stating the fact of history and record purposes.”
The Alake, who spoke through his chiefs, was responding to a statement in which Oba Adetona allegedly accused him of distorting historical fact in terms of ranking of Yoruba monarchs.
During a recent visit by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi to Alake at his Ake, Abeokuta palace, Oba Gbadebo told his audience that in terms of ranking of Yoruba monarchs, the Ooni is first, followed by the Alaafin of Oyo, then Oba of Benin, followed by the Alake before Awujale.
But Awujale in his reaction debunked the claims, insisting that it was total falsehood.
Speaking at the launch of an “Endowment Fund of Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona Professional chair in Governance” in Lagos last week, Oba Adetona described Oba Gbadebo “as a junior Oba”.
But in response yesterday in a speech at a press conference, Alake stated: “Our concern is predicated on self-indulgence of our respected monarch to churn out outright historical falsehoods in the presence of knowledgeable Nigerians. In spite of our belief that his audience would have taken attempt to rewrite contemporary history as his personal views, we feel compelled to state the fact for record purposes”.
The three-page speech which was signed by Chief Sikirulai Atobatele, Balogun of Egbaland but read by Chief Lai Labode, Aare Ba’royin of Egbaland in the presence of 24 other Egba High Chiefs responded to seven of the allegations the Awujale made with documents to support them.
On the allegation that the Alake quoted wrongly from 1903 Government Gazette, Oba Gbadebo affirmed: “ Alake quoted Government Gazette, Colony of Lagos, Saturday, February 20, 1903. Page 100, paragraph 16. Gazette is subsidiary legislation which has force of law and therefore a public document available for verification.”
On the allegation that Awujale and Oba of Lagos made several calls to Alake to confirm if Alake actually made the statement on Yoruba rankings which Alake denied, he said “ Both Awujale and Oba of Lagos actually called Alake on the ranking of Yoruba Obas, Alake responded that his ranking was supported by documentary evidence and he therefore stands by his position.”
On who categorised the Yoruba traditional rulers, the monarch explained: “The then Ooni of Ife did, at the Central Native Council meeting which was chaired by the Governor-General, His Excellency, Sir William Macgregor, MD, KCMG, CR at Government House, Lagos in 1937. Those in attendance included the Ooni of Ife, Alafin of Oyo, Oba of Benin, Alake of Abeokuta and Awujale of Ijebu-Ode.”
Commenting on Awujale’s allegation that he is a junior chief in Egba Forest under Alaafin from where he fled to Ibadan, only to be later sacked by the Ijebu army, Oba Gbadebo said “20 Alake had reigned in the Egba forest prior to the founding of Abeokuta in 1830. There was no Alake that fled to, or took refuge in Ibadan. The Egba arrived and settled in Abeokuta mainly in 1830.”