The King lost his Authority

But it has been discovered in Odu Ifa that Orunmila is the true owner of the land.

Ile gbogbo ni ile Orisa
Obatala lomu ile waye

Every land belongs to deity (Orisa)
It was Obatala who brought the earth into the universe

That is why the king must work together with Orisa in all engagements but when he refuses to honor the latter in the name of modernization, he loses his respect and honor gradually.

Yoruba people select their king from a lineage in alliance with the advice of Ifa so as to make a perfect choice because the ruler must be capable of ruling the entire kingdom with a good head (or Ori); otherwise, all inhabitants within his territory face the consequence.

Eniti ko lapa ape
Eniti kolese abebe
Enitiko lori ti won pekun si
Toba poun ni joba iya ni yoo je

Those who does not have strong arm
Those who does not have flexible leg
Those who does not have a head that they salught her leopard into
If he want to become a king
He will suffer for it


Coronation Ceremony

There were so many people that were richer than the king, but the respect was given to the Oba was immeasurable compared to that given to a rich businessman but modernization created a great problem when some Christianity-inclined selected candidates for the post of Ob refused to go through ritual coronation ceremony.Some even refused to wear the traditional sacred crown.The modern world now allows the king to go out publicly as different from the past when the Alaafin was restricted from going out just anyhow.

O nroyo o nknju
Alaafin ko re bi kan

You want to travel to oyo in haste
But Alaafin is always in his palace


The first public appearance of the Alaafin was in 1937 when he attended the meeting of all the Oba's of Yorubaland at Mapo Hall in Ibadan. All the Obas who were said to have followed the ways of the modern world by ignoring the sacred rituals eventually lost their respect as recorded in Odu Ifa (Irosun Meji)

Itakun poolo
Adifaa fun Oofua atewonro ni'fe
Eyi ti Olodumare oo ko okun aye le lowo

The strong mighty plant
Ifa divination was perform for oodua the one who 
use descend with a chain at city of ife
The one that Alimghty olodumare order him to rule the world


The almighty God, known to be Olodumare gave Oodua the power and authority to rule the world and control everything in it. Oodua then sent for an Ifa priest who advised him on how to use the power without misbehavior and dethronement. Those who wanted to become a king must be strong and courageous and must be able to withstand a leopard.

The Yoruba culture allows the king to select any young lady of his choice from any compound within his territory who shall be his queen (or Ayaba or Olori). The inhabitants presented isakole (or tributes) in cash or kind weekly and yearly to their ruler. These comprise food animals and cloths among others. The fabric makers would give the best cloth to their king while the farmers brought farm products like yam, banana, etc., as the hunters brought bush meats to the king.

According to John Henry Drewal, Ase (authority) was given by Olodumare to the gods, ancestors, spirits, humans, plants, rivers and to songs, prayers, praises, curses and everyday conversations. The powers given to the Obas by Oloduamre are not only to dominate but to lead their community selflessly and honorably. To enjoy such opportunity, the new Oba must go through propitiation, initiation and ritual ceremony. The Ifa priest (or Babalawo) prescribed all necessary elements of sacrifice for the king. At a point in time, Ifa warned Olofin Oodua to keep a close watch on those who worked forhim so that they don't become instruments of destroying his reputation as the head of the Yoruba kingdom. Eventually, he became a successful man and progressed all through the end.

Ope was a slave to Edu. Arubi was aslave to Oodua. Both slaves used to tap raffia wine for their masters. The wine was used for certain appeasement. One day, Arubi went to Edu's farm and stole some wine from his raffia tree. This continued for several days until Edu had discover it as he was surprised at this. Hence, the forces (Ase) which Oodua had given the raffia tree became ineffective and several attempts to know who had been behind this went futile. Ope then decided to consult Ifa and was told to appease Elegbara and he did. One very day, as he was going though the forest, he met Arubi tapping some wine from his raffia true and he challenged him to come down from the top of the tree if he was the owner of the wine or remain there but Arubi had refused to come down. All the citizens of Ootu Ife trooped out en masses to see the thief and a message was sent to Oodua on what had happened as Oodua in turn sent for Edu (or Orunmila) to appease the gods. Arubi was then allowed to come down as Oodua was made know that Arubi's misdemeanor act was the reason for Oodua's loss of his mandates in the kingdom.

This is to teach our present monarch to pay attention to culture and the rituals involved in it as it is also pertinent to appease the owners of the land (awon Alale) so that one lives a happy and fulfilling life. The political ambiance of modernization and Western civilization has changed the position of our Obas. If now a days, the Obas live on salary, do the inhabitants need to stop paying tributes (or isakole)? The king's initial power to choose a choice wife from any compound has lost. The king now has to find a way to survive since salary is no more adequate. The king lost control over the land. The government now controls the land. Any individual can now challenge the king or take him to court if he steps on their clan's land. The king has now become a businessman who owns companies whereas he is supposed to be less gregarious.

E sun m'oba
E rin m'oba
E jina s'oba lebe meji
Nitori arobafin l'oba pa

Get closer to the king
Walk with the king
Leave a gab between you and the king
Because if you are disloyal to the king, he may possibly eliminate you

The power like that of a deity can only be retained by the monarch that respects the culture and tradition of his lineage.

Written by
Araba Ifayemi Elebuibon



2015 - 2017 Yoruba Kalendar

The 2015 - 2017 Yoruba Kalendar will be available soon in the store on www.oosaala.com. Learn about numerous Egúngún, their characteristics and roles in society. Recipes for making Egúngún foods are an added highlight of this kalendar.