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.

Obas in Yorubaland

Ooni of Ife on his throne

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.

Ooni and Alaafin who is superior and powerful

The Alaafin of Oyo bowing to the Ooni of Ife

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.


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 March, 1987.


  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

The Author

Chizoba Ikenwa

Chizoba is a seasoned Information blogger, content developer and the founder of Nigerian Infopedia. He is a tech enthusiast who loves reading, writing and research


Add a Comment


  2. Prince Adebowale Adesida

    This is not absolutely correct. The Ooni is the father of the Yoruba kingdom and the most superior but the order after him is wrong .

    Prince Adebowale Adesida

  3. This Ranking might wrong. What is the position of Owa of Ilesa, Orangun of Ila and other defendants of Okanbi?

  4. Oòni ís number 1, Alaafin is number 2. Now, the problem is that there is no number 3. By that, I mean, there are a number of Obas that falls into number 3. Orangun Of Ila, Oba of Benin, Awujale of Ijebu, Alake of Egba, Ewi Of Ekiti, Osemawe of Ondo, Owa of Ijesa…and some others all fall into number 3.

  5. According to the history Oòni is number one alaafin of oyo number 2 awujale of ijebuland number three OBA of Benin 4 alake of egbaland 5 according to the history ijebu I’ve been exist 14th century

  6. Deep down the historical facts, if Ooni is taken as number 1 then Olowu should be recognised as number 2 because Owu kingdom was originated after the creation of Ile Ife. Read histiry please.

  7. Fact is sacred, opinion is free…Alake’s ranking was premised on the Government Gazette of the Colony of Lagos dated February 20, 1903, page 100, paragraph 16.

  8. Oh my God it looks like history is being distorted the Ooni is not among the children of Oduduwa the Ooni is just a traditional priest that ascended the throne when there were no longer any prince to take the throne the Alaafin remains the number one in Yorubaland cause he is the direct descendant of Oranmiyan who inherited his father’s lands and all his elder brothers who are kings pays tribute to him.

    1. Very correct sir.

    2. Oonirisa!!!!! Yes you’re right but do you remember Oranmiyan went back to ile ife and sent forth his sons from ‘tapa’ kogi to take over the throne.. Besides Oodua trusted Ooni ,

    3. A normal person will know that there is no way that all princes will leave/ left home or died at a time? No argument. Change your mentality and follow the right thing

    4. akintola A Ibrahim

      How will Ooni be number one when he is not among the list of children of oranmiyan. Ooni was the chief priest who ascended the throne when there was no prince to ascend the throne
      It’s not possible to take Ooni as number 1 when Alaafin who is the direct descendant of Oranmiyan is on ground

      I perceived this history is not in the right manner.I can even notice that, this was composed after the death of Alaafin Lamidi Adeyemi, otherwise how will his death date be captured here? I’m seeing politics here but history can never be rewritten. No wonder Alaafin and Ooni Sijuade were not in good terms during their life time. Alaafin never agreed to this. Ooni may stay and be ruling in the source, but the space of a direct descendant can never ever be occupied.

      This will be a life time controversy, because I don’t think another Alaafin will also agree to this

    5. Akintola A Ibrahim

      I agree with you
      History is being distorted, they just created.See how they captured Alaafins death

  9. Thanks 😊😊😊😊😊😊

  10. This list is grossly incomplete, where is the Soun of Ogbomoso?…

  11. Where is Olubadan in this list?

  12. Comrade ehinfun akinyemi

    i can’t even believe this, how olubadan will be the among of top ten oba’s in yoruba land, while such of orangun of ila wil nt their



  14. alasi adeniyi abideen

    Kindly tell us the position of oluwo of iwoland.

  15. Prince adeola falade

    The alani of idoani is one of the first class oba
    In yoruda land but his name can’t be found here

  16. Your list is not accurate,Olufon of Ifon was not mentioned,go and study Yoruba history very well;Olufon is Obatala’s generation and Obatala does not do charms but very powerful,if you enter is house with charm it will fail,Olufon is among the kings in Oyo Empire that does prostrate for Alaafin,he has the most powerful crown after the Alaafin of Oyo ,their is Ifon in Osun state and also in Ondo State

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