The Ooni of Ile-Ife (Ọọ̀ni of Ilè-Ifẹ̀) is the traditional ruler of Ile-Ife and the spiritual head of the Yoruba people. The Ooni dynasty existed before the reign of Oranmiyan which historians have argued is between the 7th-9th centuries A.D.
Ogun sent Oduduwa's children on different journeys as advised by the Ifa oracle to effect Yoruba land and territory expansion.
Oduduwa's eight children's descendants are known as the Obalades (crown chiefs) of Yoruba land.
They are the Onipopo of Popo, (Benin Republic), Onisabe of Sabe, (Benin Republic).
And the Alaafin of Oyo (Nigeria), Oregun of Ile-Ila (Nigeria), Alake of Egbaland (Nigeria), Alaketu of Ketu (Nigeria), Owaoboku of Ijeshaland (Nigeria), Owa of Ilesa (Nigeria) were the true heir to the throne.
“It is believed that Ogun purposely sent all Oduduwa's children on different journeys to effect Yoruba territory expansion.
But historians have argued that Ogun had followed Ifa oracle's advice and Ogun did nothing malicious.
One of Orunmila's sons, Eweka, became the first Oba of Benin. Oranmiyan's son, Ajaka, became the second Alaafin of Oyo after his father. Another, Osile, of Oke-Ona Egba. Ooni Lajamisan, another descendant of Oranmiyan, is often said to have opened the modern Ife history.
The four actual Ruling Houses are named from Ooni Lafogido, Ooni Osinkola, Ooni Ogboru and Ooni Giesi. The first three were sons of Ooni Lajodogun, and the later a maternal grandson of Ogboru. The current Ooni is Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II (born October 17, 1974).
The primary sources for the history of the Yoruba are from oral tradition. Since there were not ceremonial recitations of the list of the Oonis (at burial or at crowning), there are in fact several oral traditions, that have generated an unusual number of different written transcriptions. In what follows, #nn is the index of the Ooni in the A list (see table, column LA).
Books and research papers
- Ojo Bada 1954 quotes 15 names for the Oduduwa to Lajamisan period. See column 5.
- Chief Fabunmi 1975 quotes 7 names for the same period. See column 6. Chief Fabunmi is known for his Historical notes.
- Chief Fasogbon 1976 quotes 12 names for this period. See column 7.
- Chief Awosemo 1985 quotes 22 names from Oduduwa to Giesi. See column 8.
- Eluyemi 1986 quotes 41 names from Oduduwa to nowadays. See column 9.
Sources for the 50 items A list
- Awoyinfa, Dele, 1992  pages 30–35.
- Prince L. A. Adetunji 1999, pages 70–77. The prince, from the Giesi family, was one of the contenders for the 2015 designation. See column LA.
Sources for the 50 items B list
- Ologundu 2008, pages 58–59. Lists 48 names, that are the B list, except from Obalufon Alayemore (#5) and Aworokolokin (#12). Moreover, Osinkola (#18) is at #25 (strange place)
Araba Adedayo Ologundu was a native of Ile-Ife, Nigeria. See column Og.
- Lawal 2000, page 21 (nevertheless, this book is Google described as a 19 pages book !). See column LB.
- Source 2015.
- Leadership.ng 2015., 2015. No references are given. One typo: Ademiluyi Ajagun (1930-19800).
- Ooni Ojaja II web site, 2016 quotes 51 names. Same as list B, differs only by the diacritics. No references are given. This list was already in use before 2015.
Influence on king making
The filling of the stool of a deceased Ooni of Ife is not a simple local affair as it may seem but has national ramifications. Since Ife is regarded as the cradle of the Yoruba, this town has always been the leading religious center of the Yoruba people. But other roles are also involved. Especially, the Ooni of Ife is often presented as the highest ranked Oba or, even more, as the natural chairman of the Council of Yoruban Chiefs. The rules to fill a vacant stool are the Chiefs Law Cap 25 Laws of Osun State (modified 2002). And the Declaration made in 1980 by the traditional Chiefs under Section 4(2) of this Chief Law. In 1957, the former Declaration recognised four ruling houses and established the following order of rotation:
- The Oshinkola House, Iremo (present) [as of 1957]
- The Ogboru House, Ilare
- The Giesi House, More
- The Lafogido House, Okerewe
In 1977, references to locations in Ife were suppressed. And the January 1980 Declaration confirmed everything just before the death of Adesoji Aderemi. These families are tagged in column desc, as sourced from Vanguard for Lafog, Osink, Ogbor, Giesi. And Newz for the rest. (Both sources don't give their own sources).
In 2015, it was the turn of the Giesi Family, as confirmed by the Ife kingmakers. Nevertheless:
- Olakunle Aderemi (leader of Osinkola) said that, despite having produced Adesoji Aderemi (1930-1980), Osinkola house deserved to produce the new King because the family produced the fewest of the Ooni among the four ruling houses. Ife Chieftaincy Declaration of 1980 technically throws open the contest for filling the stool of Ooni, he added.
- The Lafogido house went to court, describing the Chieftaincy Declaration as unfair. Lafogido house had been constantly marginalized in chieftaincy reviews in Ife since 1957 they said. 14 Oonis have been enthroned from Lajodogun and only 8 from Lafogido ruling house they added.
- Adetowo Aderemi (of Osinkola) got even further, faulting the 1957 and 1980 Ife Traditional Council Declarations, describing them as a fraud. That they are against the customary law of succession of the Ife people, he said. He also faulted the inclusion of Giesi Ruling House among eligible royal families to fill the stool of Ooni, saying that Giesi was only invited to complete the term of Ogboru, not being from the male lineage with right to the stool as the grandson of Ogboru.
Avoiding original research when consolidating the various lists
Consolidation at the price of the diacritics
The Yoruba language is written nowadays with an alphabet that uses many diacritic signs. But this alphabet was not strictly codified before being integrated as one of the components of the modern Pan-Nigerian alphabet (1981). Like for the McCune–Reischauer system for Korean, many authors of the West have used this alphabet with some laziness, omitting many of the diacritics for various reasons, or even ignoring all of them. But, while poor romanizations of Korean can be fixed by comparing with the hangul/hanja original text, this cannot be done with the Yoruba oral sources of the past. The romanizations of the proper nouns became dependent the pronunciation of a specific speaker and the skill of a specific transcriber, leading to large variations in spelling. Some examples are (diacritics removed):
|Odidimode Rogbeesin||Odidimode Rogbesin|
|Luwoo||Luwo (Female)||Luwo (Female)|
|Ojelokunbirin||Oje Lokunsinrin||Ojee Lokunsinrin|
|Adegunle Adewela||Adegunle Abeweela||Abewela|
Also note that, in the aggregated table, differences that clearly come only from pronunciation have been ignored.
Consolidation at the price of the obvious discrepancies
Printing fixes everything, even the typographic issues.
- The two printed quotations of the printed Ojo Bada have discrepancies: Otaataa=Otasasa, Arirereokewe=Arirekewe, Lajamusan=Lajamisan.
- When Awosemo 1985 (quoted by Sina Ojuade) says Giesi before Ogboruu, this is probably a typo. Indeed, all other sources are saying that Ogboruu #23 was the maternal grand father of Giesi #24.
- The quotation of Ademakinwa (p158) uses Kworokolokun: this is probably Aworokolokun.
- In column x86, Lagunja is repeated. How to correct ?
- Perhaps Ologundu 2008 ranging Osinkola #18 at place #25 is also a typo ?
- In list A, Lajamisan is ranked #11. This can be tracked to the 1973 Daily Sketch kinglist (p158). This is strange since a list from start to Lajamisan should end by Lajamisan. Moving this one just before Otujabiojo #17 would synchronize the ordering of all the kinglists from Oduduwa to Lajamisan. This should be checked in detail.
- While list A sources put both Aworokolokin and Ajuimuda Ekun before Lajamisan, most of the list B sources are saying that Aworokolokin, Ajuimuda and Ekun were three descendants of Lajodoogun. We can only underline the discrepancy. Moreover, Ologundu don't quote Aworokolokin at all in his lists. (green in the table).
- The same occurs with the only woman that became Ooni. Most of the time, she is quoted as "Luwoo Gbagida" #18 and placed before Lajodogun #19. But also as "Luwo (Female)" and placed after Giesi #24. (green in the table).
- Efon Ayioye #6 in Awoyinfa is quite surely the same person as "Ayioye" in Bada and Fasogbon. But they are not ranked the same by the sources relatively to Ajimuda Ekun #7. Perhaps this was the reason of the comment no matter how ripe the okra is, it cannot be older than itself.
- 9 names aren't part of list A or list B.
"At least, it can be said that the existence of numerous variants requires explanation, and an interpretation can be assessed according to how satisfactorily it accounts for their existence. The method might be described as one of reductio ad non absurdum."
|LB||Og||86||85||76||75||54||LA||date||name||desc (nwz)||nickname ||comments |
|1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||Odùduwà||Founder||Founder of the Yoruba country|
|2||2||2||1.2||Ogun||See for more details about the 16 Elders|
|4||4||2||2||2||2||2||2||Ọbalùfọ̀n Ògbógbódirin||S Oduduwa||Elder son of Oduduwa. He lived and reigned for an unusually long period of time.|
|5||5||3||3||3||3||3||3||Ọbalùfọ̀n Aláyémọrẹ||S Obalufon I||Became the Ooni after his father's death while Oranmiyan was on sojourn. Fled when Oranmiyan returned.|
|6||5||4||4||4||4||4||Ọ̀raǹmíyaǹ||9Son of Oduduwa||Odede=title ?||Said to have lived between 1200 and 1300 A.D. Eweka, the Oba of Benin and Ajaka, the Alaafin of Oyo were his sons.|
|4.5||4.5||Ọbalùfọ̀n Aláyémọrẹ||Back to the throne after Oranmiyan's death. Reigned at the same time as Dada, Alaafin of Oyo.|
|6||4||4||5.5||5.5||Lajuwa (usurper)||Okoo olori-ko-yun-ajo (A king's wife, called olorì is forbidden to travel)||Head messenger. Said to have usurped the throne at the death of Aworokolokin.|
|6||7||6||6||Ẹ̀fọ̀n Ayíóyè||Ogbolaajuree (no matter how ripe the okra is, it cannot be older than itself).|
|8||8||Láamórò Ògìján||From Molodo compound, Ilode.|
|9||9||Ọ̀sẹgànderùkù||(turns the forest into dust).|
|8||7||7||10||12||7||15||11||11||Lájẹ̀misìn||S Aiyetise||From Ilare. Descendant of Oranmiyan. Modern Ife history began with his reign which was unusually long.|
|7||9||11||12||12||Lárọ́ọ̀ká||From Moore. Descendant of Ọ̀ranmiyan and Ancestor of Giẹsi. There is one common saying: Larooka built the town hall and Giẹsi constructed a support for it at the bottom.|
|9||15||15||Ọtaataa||Ọtaataa-kiran||From Owodo. Alade yokun-saayo-lorun.|
|17||17||Otújàbíòjò||(who scatters the market like rainfall)|
|9||18||18||Lúwo Gbàgìdá||Ayare, Akọsulogbe||From Owode compound, Okerewe. Descendant of Otaataa (#15). She was married to Chief Ọbalọran of Ilode and became the mother of Adekola Telu, the founder of Iwo town. Was the only woman Ooni. .|
|9||8||19||19||Lájódogun||S Lajamisan||From Igbodo, Okerewe. Descendant of Lajamisan.|
|20||20||Lafogun||From Igbodo. Descendant of Lajodoogun.|
|10||9||8||11||21||21||Láfogído||D_Lajodogun||From Igbodo. Descendant of Lajodoogun. Prominent among his children were: (1) Otutu biosun ? (2) Okiti #26.6 (3) Olojo Agbele #30 (4) Adagba #36.4 (5) Wunmọnijẹ #41 (6) Lugbade #26.7 (7) Lumobi #24.2 (8) Yeyelueko, mother of Singbunsin Yanningan ?|
|15||13||10||13||21.2||Gboo ni jio||D_Lajodogun|
|18||14||17||22||22||Ọ̀sińkọ́lá||D_Lajodogun||Descendant of Lajodoogun.|
|19||16||19||21||23||23||Ògbórú||D_Lajodogun||Descendant of Lajodoogun. Ogboruu was deposed after reigning for 70 years. Six princes were appointed successively within a year and all died without completing the coronation. Finally, Ogboruu agreeded to bless Giesi, a son of his daughter Mọropo|
|20||17||20||22||24||24||Gíẹ̀sí||D_Lajodogun||Maternal grandson of Ogboruu|
|25||25||Adéjinlé||Descendant of Owodo #13 and ancestor of Abeweela #42|
|24||21||21||26.3||Ojee lokun binrin||D_Lajodogun|
|34||32||25||27||27||Aríbiwọsọ||D Lafogido||Aribiwoso-lode-Akui||From Akui.|
|28||28||Ṣojuolu Ọ̀gbọnsẹ̀gbọndẹ||From Owodo compound.|
|23||20||22||29||29||Agbẹ̀dẹ̀gbẹdẹ||D_Lajodogun||Descendant of Giẹsi.|
|31||29||26||30||30||Ọlọ́jọ́||D Lafogido||Agbele-wojuorun-yanmongi||From Okerewe.|
|34||34||Odidimọdẹ Rogbẹṣin||Ancestor of Mọlodo, Awura and Lami (?,?,?)|
|29||27||23||35||35||Ajílà Oòrùn||D_Lajodogun||From Moore. Descendant of Agbedegbede #29|
|35||33||27||31||35.5||Ọ̀sinínladé Òtutùbiọ̀ṣun||D Lafogido||Descendant of Lafogido.|
|37||35||28||37||37||Òjìgìdìrí||D_Lajodogun||Lambuwa.||From Akui ward, Ife.|
|38||36||29||38||1770−1800||Akínmóyèró||D Lafogido||Iriko dunle biojo (the mist cannot wet the ground like rain).|
|39||37||30||39||1800−1823||Gbániárè||D_Lajodogun||Gbadioro at x86||From Ilare ward, Ife.|
|41||39||32||41||1835−1839||Wúnmọníjẹ̀||D Lafogido||Wunmo-nije-soogun||A descendant of Lafogido.|
|42||40||33||42||1839−1849||Adégúnlẹ̀ Abewéilá||D Lafogido||Abewe-ila gberengedẹ (spread out like the leaf of the okra plant).||He is said to have died at about 35 years of age.|
|43||41||34||43||1849−1878||Degbin Kùmbúsù||D Lafogido||The first fall of Ife occurred during his reign in 1849.|
|44||42||35||44||1878−1880||Ọ̀ráyẹ̀gbà Ọjaja||D_Lajodogun||Ayikiti-ninu-aran (rolls around in velvet fabric).||Imposed by the Ibadan.|
|45||43||36||45||1880−1894||Dérìn Ọlọ́gbénlá||D Giesi||Ooni-elect, who never came to be crowned at Ife before he died at Okeigbo. During his reign, the second fall of Ife occurred in 1882.|
|46||44||37||46||1894−1910||Adélékàn Olúbòse I||D Ogboru||Eriogun, Akitikori, Ebitikimopiri||First Ooni to reign in Ile Ife after the end of Ekitiparapo war. The evacuation of Modakeke occurred during his reign.|
|47||45||38||47||1910−1910||Adékọ́lá||D_Lajodogun||Lawarikan, Agbejanla-bofa.||From Akui. An Ooni-elect for only two months, June–July 1910.|
|48||46||39||48||1910−1930||Adémilúyì Àjàgún||D Lafogido||He was a descendant of Otutubiosun #31. During his reign the Modákẹ́kẹ́ people returned to Ifẹ̀ in 1921.|
|49||47||40||49||1930−1980||Adesoji Aderemi||D Osinkola||Ainla, Ọmọ Adekunbi Ipetu||From Akui. death=3/7/1980. Was a descendant of Ojigidiri Lambuwa (#37)|
|50||48||41||50||1980−2015||Olubuse II||D Ogboru||Grandson of Adelekan Olubuse. death=28/7/2015. Communal clashes between Modakeke and Ife people was reignited during his reign.
Sijuade Olubuse II banned the sale of the Adetunji's book in ife town because it included a story pertaining to his grandfather Adélẹkàn Olúbùse, which he did not want publicized
|51||51||2015−||Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II||D Giesi|
- I. A. Akinjogbin (2002). Milestones and concepts in Yoruba history and culture: a key to understanding Yoruba history. Olu-Akin Publishers. p. 167. ISBN 9789763331392. (not read)
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