Prince Adeyemi Adeoye Aderibigbe Ologbenla, a retired professor of economics, from Giesi Ruling House, one of the ruling houses in Ile-Ife, is versed in economics and the history of the cradle of Yorubaland. In this interview, he speaks on how his ruling house was denied the Ooni stool when the late Oba Okunade Sijuwade ascended the throne in 1980. He says, in this interview, that it is the turn of his lineage to present the next monarch of the town.
Chronological order of previous Ooni of Ife from 1930
My father, the late Oba Aderin Ologbenla, who came from Giesi Ruling House, was the Ooni of Ife in 1880 and he was succeeded by Olubuse, the late Ooni’s grandfather, who ruled till 1910. When Olubushe died, he was succeeded by Osinkola. Osinkola reigned for only two months. After his death, Ajagun Ademiluyi from Lafodigo Ruling House ascended the throne. Naturally, he should have been succeeded by the Giesi Ruling House, but the elders at that time waded in. They said since Osinkola spent only two months on the throne, the ruling house should produce the king. That was why the late Oba Adesoji Tadeniawo Aderemi became king in 1930 and passed on in June 1980.
1957 declaration on rotation
During his (Aderemi) reign, I like to believe that it was a pang of conscience that prevailed then and, in 1957, he proclaimed a declaration that set up the ruling houses orderly. Osinkola was to be the first, followed by Giesi and then Ogboru Ruling House.
In 1976, during David Jemibewon regime, there was a Commission of Enquiry that was set up and led by Justice Adenekan Ademola, a retired Supreme Court Justice, and that commission changed the declaration of 1957. That declaration led to Ogboru coming to the throne.
Oba Aderemi refused to sign revised declaration
Before Aderemi died, he refused to sign that renewed declaration; he told some of us, Giesi children, that he had refused to sign because he saw nothing wrong with the initial declaration made in 1957. When he died in 1980, we heard that it was Ogboru’s turn again. That was why I went to court in 1980. Justice Falade of Ife High Court then ruled that I had no locus standi and I contested his decision in the Court of Appeal and there was an injunction that the court granted which restrained Oba Sijuwade from coming to the throne. But, when some elders stepped in, even though I was winning, I listened to their wise counsel.
In 1976, they swapped positions. They made the number one ruling house number two and that was the position that subsisted until Ooni Sijuwade died.
I am aware that there can be no declaration during interregnum. So it is Giesi Ruling House turn to present next monarch.
I have never been told from history when Ifa oracle rejected a candidate presented by the ruling house whose turn was it to present the king. I have also heard that a number of people have been presenting themselves or making claims that they want to be Ooni. I am in a position to know who the true Giesi children are and we are willing and ready to present a candidate or candidates whenever we are told to do so by the kingmakers, local and state governments.
I read in your newspaper that somebody has been parading himself as having been anointed by Oba Sijuwade. It is the greatest falsehood ever peddled. He also claimed that Sijuwade was anointed by the late Oba Adesoji Aderemi and that Aderemi was anointed by Ademiluyi Ajagun. Nothing can be farther from the truth. It never happened because Ooni can never name his successor. The 1976 declaration is there and I am appealing to government to stick to that declaration to avoid problem from our ruling house. All those who are parading themselves have no claims to the throne.
They are not even members of Giesi Ruling House. Giesi will present a candidate when called upon to do so. Since it is Ifa oracle that selects who becomes the new monarch according to popular belief, there is no way the late Ooni could have anointed any man. Sijuwade could not have presented or anointed him. Another thing is that Ifa oracle will certainly choose a candidate from the ruling house whose it is it to present the king. Ifa will never choose a candidate from outside the next ruling house. The person who talked in your paper has no claim to the throne.
Confirming that Prince Ramon Adegoke Adedoyin is not from any ruling house in Ife, he handed over his biography which was published in 2006 asking the reporter to read a portion from it.
A portion of Adedoyin’s biography:
On page four of the biography, entitled, “The untold story of a great achiever”, it is stated that he was born into the family of the late Alhaji Saka Adedoyin of Lukoun-Obalaaye Ruling House in Ile-Ife. The late Alhaji Saka Adedoyin was born by late Pa Adedoyin and late princess Omiwenu Adedoyin from Adogbodo Obalufe Ruling House in Ile-Ife.
Aderibigbe faults Adedoyin’s claim
Obalufe is never a member of the ruling house. He is the highest among the chiefs but has no right to the royal lineage. The man just lumped the three ruling houses together in that interview. In Ife, you can only come from one ruling house. If you read that interview and his biography, how do you reconcile the two.
Now, you said it is the turn of Giesi to present the candidate for the throne. What happens if the Ifa oracle does not pick a new king from your ruling house even though it is your turn to produce the next king?
No, such thing has never happened in Ile-Ife since its inception centuries back.
Warning from last meeting
Yesterday (Tuesday), my ruling house, Giesi, met with the chiefs in the palace and I told them that they should realize that it is our turn to present the Ooni this time around. Jaaran(one of the chiefs) said that they were aware of the fact but warned that somehow some people were creating division within the ruling house and they have split into three different parts. He further warned that if I did not put my house in order, we stand the risk of losing our chance again. That I assure you will never happen this time around. Ifa won’t reject anybody and the chieftaincy law states that if there is a division, they would go into voting. When we are told officially, we will respond promptly.
Consequence of imposing a candidate on Ifa
Ifa will not reject anybody and say the candidate is bad so far he comes from the ruling house. Ifa oracle will say if you present somebody not chosen by it, there is likelihood that some things will happen during his reign. Since choosing a candidate outside the ruling house whose turn it is to present a candidate has never happened in the history of Ile-Ife, we are not going to import that in 2015.
Does Ifa consider age in its choice?
Ifa’s choice does not have anything to do with age. But we must follow the law. The law says nobody above the age of 30 should be prevented from becoming the Ooni. But, because of the world in which we are, it will be putting a wrong foot forward to put a man of 30 or 40 on the throne of the Ooni. There is a Yoruba proverb that says,”Omo ese agba, iwonba ni asise e mo”, meaning a mature person who heeds elder’s counsel hardly makes mistakes. Once a bad habit is cultivated, it will be difficult to correct. The ruling house will be well advised to present the right candidate and should not allow money to guide its choice.