List of Obas in Yoruba land (Ranking of Yoruba Monarchs)

The ranking of kings or Obas in Yoruba land is a topic that has caused series of controversies as to who is the most powerful Yoruba King in Nigeria. In a report, the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, declared the answer to that question that the Ooni of Ife remains the number one monarch in Yoruba land and should be given the honour as the number one king in the Yoruba culture.

ooni-of-ife-net-worth

This post will list the ranking of first class traditional rulers in the Yoruba Empire as listed by the Alake of Egbaland. He identified ego and pride as the sole reason behind the disunity among Yoruba traditional rulers and people in Yoruba land, and called for peace for the progress of the Yoruba speaking people.

Below is a list of the ranking of five principal monarchs in Yoruba land according to their order of superiority.

1. Ooni of Ife

The Ooni of Ife is the most powerful king in Yoruba land. The current Ooni of Ife is Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi. According to the Alake of Egbaland, the Ooni is the first of the five principal Obas in Yorubaland just like the Sultan of Sokoto is the highest ruler in the northern part of Nigeria. This is because his supremacy dates back to the origin of the Yoruba tribe. He is also one of the most influential figures in Nigeria.

2. Alaafin of Oyo

He is the second in line in the ranking of Yoruba monarchs in Nigeria, Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III  was born 15 October 1938 and he is the current Alaafin, or traditional ruler, of the Yoruba state of Oyo and righful heir to the throne of its historic empire. His dynasty dates back to the old Oyo empire which recognizes him as the emperor of the Oyo empire. He is among the list of the richest Yoruba king in Nigeria.

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3. Oba of Benin

Some say that the Oba of Benin, or Omo N’Oba, is the highest traditional ruler in Nigeria as he wields influence over the Edo people and is a popular figure in Nigeria. He heads the historic Eweka dynasty of the Great Benin Empire. It is also said that the Yorubas in Nigeria descended from the Benin people, hence the tittle Oba is being used to mean a king. The title of Oba was first created by Oba Eweka I, Benin Empire’s first ‘Oba’, who ascended power between 1180 and 1300. His son, grandson and now his great-grandson, Ewuare II were traditional rulers of Benin in modern-day Nigeria.

4. Alake of Egbaland

Fourth on the list of ranking of obas in Yorubaland is the Alake of Egbaland. He is the paramount Yoruba king of Egba, a city in Abeokuta, Ogun State, southwestern Nigeria. Egba consists of Egba Alake, Owu kingdom rule by the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oke-Ona and Gbagura. He was the one who cleared the air concerning how the monarchs in Yoruba land should be ranked starting from the Ooni of Ife to the Awujale of Ijebuland.

5. Awujale of Ijebuland

He is the least on the list of 5 powerful obas in Yoruba land. His kingdom, Ijebu (also known as Jebu or Geebu) was a Yoruba kingdom in pre-colonial Nigeria. It was formed around the fifteenth century. According to legend, its ruling dynasty was founded by Obanta of Ile-Ife. The current Awujale of Ijebuland is Sikiru Kayode Adetona.

There is a recent tussle as to who is superior between the Oba of Lagos and the Ooni of ife (Yoruba Emperor). This should not be so as history backs the Ooni as the most paramount ruler of the Yoruba speaking people.

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Chizoba

I am simply known as Ikenwa Chizoba. A Nigerian seasoned blogger and the Assistant admin of Nigerian Infopedia. I write for one of the most outstanding Newspapers in Nigeria. A very simple person who loves writing, reading and research. "Talents comes from God alone"

39 Comments

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  1. Sikiru Shaibu

    Don’t start what you cannot finish.
    Ranking of Obas in Yoruba land will never consider the last two, because they are never part of the original Obas in Yoruba land.
    That apart you need to do more research.

  2. Usman zainab

    What of Oluwo of Iwo. Is he not a first class king.

    1. KUOLEXA

      OLUWO OF IWO IS A FIRST CLASS OBA.THIS IS BECAUSE THE OBA HAS DIRECT LINEAGE TO ODUDUWA THROUGH LUWOGBADA,DAUGHTER OF ODUDUWA .

  3. Usman zainab

    What of Oluwo of Iwoland. Is he not a first class King. Try to do more research. Iwo is also an ancient city in Yorubaland

    1. ok, will look into it. Thanks for pointing it out

  4. Anjola

    All these kings are boring what good have they done

    1. Thats the same question i ask myself as these obas only think of themselves. Thats why they are all rich at the expense of the people

    2. KUOLEXA

      It is because you are not informed in history,paticularly yoruba history.

  5. Ayobami

    To get the real top 10 you have to get the 7 oduduwa son which the last two is not part off

    1. KUOLEXA

      ODUDUWA SONS ARE VERY MANY,FAR MORE THAN SEVEN.THOSE SEVEN ARE JUST THE MOST POPULAR AMONG THEM.IN THIS PRESENT GENERATION OF MORDERNITY YOU SEE AN OBA HAVING SEVERAL WIVES.HENCE YOU EXPECT MANY MANY,CHILDREN.NOT TO TALK OF ODUDU THE ROLE MODEL OF OBASHIP IN YORUBA LAND .WITHOUT DOUBT HE LAID THE PRECEDENCE.MORESO ,IT DOES NOT APPEAL TO COMMON SENSE TO EXPECT ODUDUWA TO BE A MONOGAMIST,OKAY.

    2. Raphael Obadina

      You’re right that Odua has plenty children. Even Olufe is part of his children being the child bore to him by his maid, but he appointed some of them to rule the sub kingdoms including some areas in Benin Republic there is Onipopo and Onisabe. But he made the last born the Oranmiyan the heir to ife throne. Oranyan was also appointed to follow the Igodomido people who came to seek the political and spiritual will from Ile Ife on getting to Uselu, he was opposed by the factioned Igodomido people and waged war against them and took over the kingdom. Then known as Ile Ibinu (Land of war or vexation), or just Ibinu, later evolved to Ibini by the people of Igodomido due to language pronouncement and to Benin by the Portuguese that came for trade . Oranyan left the throne for his son Eweka to be the Oba of Benin where he left for Ile Ife but stopped at Oyo as his palace and requested for the power in Ile Ife annexed to the Oyo empire which was so. He waged war against the Nupe and suceeded and took over the territory where he married Torosi that gave birth to Sango. Today’s Nupe is Kwara and some parts speaking Yoruba in Kogi state.

      For Ijebu people were said to be migrated from Ethiopia, the Jebusites and the ojude oba people met them their but ruled over them.

      Lagos was discovered by Benin’s Ado, but annexed to the Oba of Benin kingdom known as Oko (farm); but trade started there by the Portuguese with the Ado who was the minister of trade for Benin. Ado named as Ido market today and Oko is Eko. After the death of Ado, the palace was built by the Portuguese inside Isale Eko, known as Iga Idugaran.

      Do the ranking of the Yoruba Obas by yourself. I am tired.

  6. Peter

    Admin please what, where and who are your refreshes on this sensitive topic.
    Even though am not Yoruba and you are not. ..will advise you talk about something else.
    Even among seasoned Yoruba historians it’s a no-go area.
    The Bini”s will even tell you the Oba of Benin is the highest in rank

    1. I am aware of these tussle between mortal kings as to who holds superior power in Yoruba land. The source was from the Alake of Egbaland who gave insight to the history of these kings. As for calling it a no go area, i don’t think so because Yoruba’s and every Nigerian of people of the world have the right to know who is the most powerful king in Yorubaland

    2. KUOLEXA

      Whatever,your position may be as to who rank highest among the Obas in Yoruba land bini inclusive.The fact remains indelible , undistortable and unchangeable that.Once upon atime,when administrative intelligence was lacking in benin.They went to a more superior kingdom to search for administrative acumen in the person of Oduduwa.Who assisted them by giving Oranmiyan to go and rule them,after they[bini]had satisfied certain condition .The condition of which He Oduduwa gave them seven lies to go and nuture for seven years.Beleiving that if they can nuture the seven lies for seven years.Then His son ORANMIYAN will be safe in their hands.Oranmiyan did not stay long with them.He ORANMIYAN said people He was ruling were quarrelsome,canterkerous,maybe toublesome for his liking.He therefore left the place .But before leaving the place EDO,he married one of women.Who had a child for him.HE ORANMIYAN gave them the name ILE IBINU,land of quarrel.Which was laterchanged toBenin by colonial master.His son was made king and called OBA.It was OGISO that they normally called before the advent of ORANMIYAN.Hence ow can OBA of benin be number ONEOBA IN YORUBA LAND.In the real sense chronologically,OBA of Benin should be Number 2.while ALAAFIN OF OYO should be Number 3.This is because ORANMIYAN first went to Benin before going to ESTABLISH OYO.oyo WAS NOT IN EXISTENCE BEFORE ORANMIYAN .IT WAS ORANMIYAN WHO ESTABISHED OYO — PERIOD .SO OONI OF IFE FIRST,OBA OF BENIN SECOND,ALAAFIN OF OYO THIRD,ALAKE OF EGBA LAND FOURTH AND AWUJALE OF IJEBU LAND FIFTH.THIS IS MY OWN OBJECTIVE RANKING .

  7. Samuel

    What of Ajero of Ijero

  8. Is Benin now part of Yoruba land???
    I think the ranking of the Oba of Benin here is coming from the arguable position that the Oba of Benin is the number one Oba in Nigeria… this can be inferred from even the Alake’s presumption and submission.

  9. AKINWANDE KOLAWOLE

    Admin you are till online put on ur explain until final stagd.

  10. Ebiwanno Omolade Kingsley

    Ooni is widely regarded as the paramount king in Yoruba land but, they are controversies over it. because of the recent claim of, ugbo people, in ilaje local government in Indonesia state. being the aboriginal inhabitants of ile ife before the arrival of oduduwa. honestly speaking, oduduwa was not the progenitor of Yoruba race. He was a stranger, if truly oduduwa migrated from mecca and he met people in ile IFE how can he become the progenitor of Yoruba race. in order for us to settle supremacy battle among Yoruba obas. we must go deep into pre-oduduwa history. to me I don’t regard Ooni of ife as the number one monarch in Yoruba land

    1. GERALD OMAGHOMI

      ONI OF IFE IS NOT AN ODUDUWA DESCENDANT, THE ALAFIN ,THE OLU OF WARRI AND THE OBA OF LAGOS ARE. ITS THAT SIMPLE

    2. KUOLEXA

      YOU ARE BEING SENTIMENTAL.THE THRONE IN ILE-IFE IS THE OLDEST AND MOST SUPERIOR.SO WHOEVER SITS ON IT IS THE HIGHEST.-COMMON SENSE

  11. Folagbade

    this post is nonsense u just give dem rank according to their Richie’s

    1. No we did not as this list is according to a renowned yoruba ruler

  12. Folagbade

    we can’t just give them the rank because they are rich but it should be by their date of existence and their important role in Yoruba land

    1. Are they not important and is their seats not the oldest in Yoruba kingdom

      1. Jenje Akinshola

        In OgunState we have some kings thoere like the oni of lemode land is he not a first Class king to.

  13. faisal garba

    what of oba of offa kwara state

  14. Solahudeen Rasaq

    Hello my pals: all this issues is not something that must involve by cutlass. Everybody knows that ooni is surely number 1 in Yoruba monarch because that place particularly call ife is only in full of real powerful yoruba ancestors which can’t be seeing in other state!

  15. GERALD OMAGHOMI

    The OLU of WARRI KINGDOM WAS LEFT OUT BECAUSE OF IGNORANCE. THE FIRST GRADUATE KING IN NIGERIA WAS OLU ATUWATSE 1 OLU OF WARRI, WHO ATTAINED A UNIVERSITY DEGREE IN COIMBRA UNIVERSITY PORTUGAL AS FAR BACK AS THE 17TH CENTURY(1600), I DONT THINK ANY HONOR COMES BETTER THAN THAT. ON WHAT CRITERIA DO YOU BASE KINGSHIP SUPERIORITY IN NIGERIA ? . I THINK EARLY EXPOSURE TO WESTERN CIVILIZATION,TERRITORIAL WEALTH,ETHNIC TOLERANCE ,FLEXIBILITY IN ACCEPTING SOCIETAL CHANGE OUGHT TO BE CONSIDERED AND NOT ARCHAIC FEATS OF DENYING GRAVITY OR ANCIENT SORCERY. ITS A LOAD OF CRAP.

  16. Taibat Bakare

    hello pals, all what is required is to include what is not included. Every one will include and list his or her OBA in it as bin the richest and first class, and mine is among as well,OBA MUFUTAU GBADAMOSI ESUWOYE THE OLOFA OF OFFA

  17. Olamide Adewale Aare

    I can’t believe in this ,Olubadan is superior than some among them if you follow the history. all this small city are deducted from Ibadan, and many of them where coronated from Ibadan.

  18. BRUNO

    OBA OF BENIN IS THE NUMBER KING IN NIGERIA… BENIN EMPIRE IS ONE OF THE OLDEST,BIGGEST RENOWNED EMPIRE IN AFRICA. ….. THE 1ST EUROPEAN SHIP ENTER WEST AFRICA THROUGH BENIN RIVER AND TRADED WITH INDEPENDENT BENIN EMPIRES. OLDEST CHURCH IN WEST AFRICA IN BENIN ARUOSA CATHEDRAL,,BENIN EMBASSIES IN PORTUGAL AND WORLDWIDE,… ART WORKS,EUROPEANS CURRENCY MADE BY BENIN BRONZE CASTER THEN SENT TO DUTCH, ELALADERAN BENIN PRINCE FOUND ILEIFE, WARRI,ONITSHA,LAGOS,GA GHANA,DAHOMEY etc all prince from BENIN EMPIRES

  19. Olutayo

    Please arrange the list of Obas very well. If you don’t know them, please contact those who know history very well. Well done you are doing a good work but research is required.

    I will help you with one since you are not a Yoruba man. Like Oba Orangun of Ila in Osun State

  20. Professor Moluyi Ibitayo

    The first Oni is not even a son of Oduduwa. He is a house servant. Alafin is the first son while Owa Obokun is the last. There is no valid ranking

    1. Siyanbola oladigbolu

      If the owners of this platform need comprehensive history of Yorubaland ?they should meet the right person and anyone who wants to give you any written down history must be a lire, the history of Yorubaland comes to your head spiritually in as long as you are from ALAAFIN offspring.
      Any list you find ALAAFIN second is a fallacy.are you saying if a man dies and all the children are not around, chief cook should become the head of the family? There is nothing to argue about this . Ooni Risa means the chief priest of the deities and ALAAFIN means the owner of the palace.
      We are not saying we have no families in Ife but our families are not the ones rulling .ooni is not even related to oduduwa and when our family becomes oba in Ife.the original name for oba of Ife will be announced.

  21. Odun

    I know one thing for sure that Oduduwa gave his crown to Alaafin of Oyo before he died and Alaafin is still in possession of the said crown till today it’s called “ade sembaye”. so what does this mean?

  22. PRINCE BOW

    OBA OF BENIN
    ALAFIN OF OYO
    OBA OF LAGOS….

    OGISO/BENIN EMPIRE WAS EXISTING BEFORE ALL THIS OTHER KINGDOMS…
    ONI OF IFE IS NOT FROM ODUDUWA ROYAL LINEAGE, EVEN GO CHECK HISTORY THE LATE ONI SIJUWADE WAS INFORMING OBA EREDIAUWA BEFORE TITLE AND SOME OTHER OLD TRADITIONS KNOWN FACTS GO CHECK IT OUT*

    THE FIRST ELEKO OF EKO NOW CALL OBA OF LAGOS IS A BENIN DESCENDANT….
    AKURE KING BENIN LINEAGE, ISSELE UKU., WARRI, AGBOR, IKWERRE, ESAN…. GA OF GHANA, DAHOMEY CHANGED TO BENIN 1976,COS OF THE RELATIONSHIP..ETC

    POLITICS AND BRITISH TRIED TO DETROYED AFRICAN / NIGERIA HISTORY FOR SELFISH REASONS.
    …..
    BENIN OGISO WAS ALREADY EXISTING BEFORE THE WORD *YORUBA * CAME INTO EXISTENCE.

  23. Sir Felix

    pls who is greater among Olubadan of Ibadan and Alaafin of Oyo?

  24. Prince Olugbenga Aqib

    Awujale of Ijebuland is superior than Alake of Egbeland according to History

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