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 between the Ooni and the Alaafin of Oyo.


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 paramount ruler in the Yoruba culture.

There are many Obas in Yoruba land ruling various Kingdoms, towns and even villages. For instance, the Olubadan of Ibadan is the traditional ruler of Ibadan, the Oba of Lagos is seen as a first class king but rules in Lagos, and so on. These respected monarchs are often seen as custodians of the Yoruba culture and people, and represent the gods.

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 and he recently married Queen Morenike Naomi Oluwaseyi, a prophetess.

2. Alaafin of Oyo

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

The Alaafin of Oyo is dead at age 83. He was the longest serving Alaafin in history.

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.

6. Olubadan of Ibadan

He is also a first class powerful Yoruba traditional monarch that is well respected. The current Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Adetunji died recently.

Who Is More Powerful Between Ooni Of Ife And The Alaafin Of Oyo?

In terms of influence in Yoruba land, it is a fact that the Ooni of Ife is the most powerful king in the whole Yoruba kingdom. He is seen as the custodian of the culture and tradition of the Yoruba speaking people.

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 superior paramount ruler of the Yoruba speaking people.

This doesn’t mean that other Yoruba monarchs aren’t powerful or influential. Based on hierarchy, the Ooni is first, followed by the Alaafin of Oyo before the others. The Oba of Lagos throne looks more political than traditional since the line of succession was broken and politically influenced.

The Original List of 54 Obas Entitled To Wear Royal Crowns in Yorubaland

Aside ranking the above Yoruba traditional rulers, a list which was gathered in 1931 showed the royal kings of the Yoruba kingdom, with over 54 Obas entitled to wear the crown in Yoruba-land. Note that this list of all Yoruba Obas was published in the Nigerian Tribune on the 6th of June, 1987.

Full List Of All Obas Of Yorubaland

  1. Ooni of Ife (The source).
  2. Olowu – Abeokuta.
  3. Alaafin – Oyo.
  4. Oba Ado – Ado Bini.
  5. Oore Otun – Otun Ekiti.
  6. Orangun – Ila.
  7. Awujale – Ode.
  8. Apero – Ijero.
  9. Olojudo – Ido Ogundaru.
  10. Ilara – Ara.
  11. Elekole – Ikole.
  12. Owa – Ijesa.
  13. Oloye – Oye
  14. Alake – Abeokuta.
  15. Ewi – Ado.
  16. Alaaye – Efon.
  17. Ologotun.
  18. Akarigbo – Shagamu.
  19. Oloyi Ife – Oyi Ife (Jebba).
  20. Agura – Abeokuta.
  21. Ogoga – Ikere.
  22. Oshemowe – Ondo.
  23. Oshile – Abeokuta.
  24. Elemure – Emure.
  25. Onigbajo – Igbajo.
  26. Olowo Oko – Owo.
  27. Olowo Ile – Owo.
  28. Ewusi – Shagamu (Onimakun)
  29. Onise – Ise.
  30. Olojudo – Ido Efon.
  31. Owa Idanre.
  32. Alajogun – Ajase.
  33. Oba Dada – Dahomey.
  34. Onibara – Abeokuta.
  35. Onire – Ire ti Oye.
  36. Oloton – oton Koro.
  37. Owa Igbara – Igbara
  38. Olojudo – Ido Oshun.
  39. Oniseri – Iseri.
  40. Oloja Oke – Imesi I.
  41. Oloja Oke – Imesi II (Now Owa-Ooye of Okemesi).
  42. Ologere -Ogere.
  43. Ologun – Obagun.
  44. Elepe – Shagamu (Alupon).
  45. Owalubo – Ubo.
  46. Onilawe – Ilawe.
  47. Onipokia – Ipokia.
  48. Onitede – Tede.
  49. Olohan – Ohan (Ara).
  50. Alapa – Agbonda.
  51. Oloba – Akure.
  52. Oniro – Iro.
  53. Olota – Otta.
  54. Onitori – Itori.
  55. Olubadan – Ibadan
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Oluchi Chukwu

Oluchi is a seasoned Information blogger, content developer and the editor of Nigerian Queries. She is a tech enthusiast who loves reading, writing and research

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4 Responses

  1. Ambassador David says:

    Olomuo of Omuo Ekiti is also one of the paramount king in Yoruba land

  2. Ambassador David says:

    Ayangbure of Ikorodu kingdom in Lagos

  3. Aya OmoOba Omolara Adeyemi Abimbola says:

    Iwo kingdom came into existence before Ibadan, so how come that Ibadan king should come before Iwo.
    Secondly Ibadan use to be bale and not Oba. Correct me if I’m wrong

  4. Olukade says:

    Olofin Adimula Oodu of Ado Odo in Ogun number 3rd in Yoruba land.
    Please go for more research.

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