Sunday 28 April 2024


Benin revisionists have been propagating the erroneous claim that prior to 1937, there was no king referred to as an ọba in Yorùbá land. Here, we will present textual evidence to refute and dispel this fabricated misinformation and assert that the term "Ọba" rightfully belongs to the Yorùbá culture, not Benin. As previously stated, within the Yorùbá language, the term exclusively signifies a king and carries no other connotations.

In 1845, a French publication documenting the conflict between Owu and Ijebu, and the subsequent sale of slaves from the affected communities, refers to the ruler of the Òwu people as Ọba Òwu. This historical documentation corroborates the usage of "Ọba" in Yorùbá contexts to denote royalty.

Additionally, the 1927 Benin dictionary authored by Hans Melzian asserts that the Bini word for king is "Ogie," while "Oba" is acknowledged as a loan word from the Yorùbá language. This aligns with the historical narrative of the Ogiamien family, an esteemed indigenous group in Benin, who affirm that "Ogie" is the proper term for king in the Ẹ̀dó language, distancing it from the borrowed term "Ọba."

Moreover, oral traditions among the Yorùbá people are preserved in the Ifá literary corpus, transmitted orally across generations. Ifá tradition recounts the existence of ọba contemporaneous with Olúfẹ̀ Ọbàtálá and Oòduà in Odù Ìrẹ̀tẹ̀ méjì:



Gbogbo oba ní ti ńję. (Note)

Afi Obatálá, Afi Obatáàşà;

Afi oba patapata

Tíí máaá gbóde Îranjé.

This further reinforces the historical and cultural significance of the term "Ọba" within Yorùbá heritage.

Please see the screenshot of the publications in comment section.

Textual evidence courtesy Yoruba Nostalgia Project. Follow them for more authentic history of Yorùbá.

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