Friday 7 June 2024


The Benin people always make a claim that no Yoruba king was called "Oba" until 1950's because  it was their king that gave Yoruba the word Oba.

The evidence  that Oba is a Yoruba word is Overwhelming.

(1). The word Oba in Yoruba literally means " to rule  over". Oba in Benin literally  means"light" according  to the Benin people while Ogiso means King.

(2). Yoruba  Orisa carries the word "Oba"

Obatala: Oba-tala is important  in Yoruba belief  , Because  Obatala  is the creator of Ori in Yoruba. 

If Yoruba started to use the word oba in 1950's as claimed  by the Benin, it means Yoruba doesn't have the story of their creation until 70 years ago.

Obaluaye: The British  actually  ban the court of Oba-lu-aye in 1907.

Obalufon:  A former King in ife . Obalufon mask is dated to 1300's, which  makes it around 700 years old.

Orun Obaado:A location in Ife where Benin kings head was buried.

 " Orun Oba Ado was from the works of Jacob Uwadaie Egharevba where he claimed "The head of the royal corpse was subsequently exhumed and taken to the royal ancestral grave at Ile-Ife; but this was only done in every third reign." reference J. U. Egharevba, Benin Law and Custom, (CMS Niger Press, Port Harcourt 1946), p.72."

(i) If Egbarevba published  his book in 1946; it  means the word Oba predated the claim that Yoruba started using the word Oba in the 50's.


Iyan funfun lele

Oba ninu ounje (The king of food)

Ijoye atata lawujo okele

Osupa abe iti

Aran ma dele ole

Ore ila olobe egusi

There is so  much evidence  to suggest that Oba is a Yoruba word.

Yoruba bible was translated in 1850, and when you read the Yoruba translation, you will often see the word " Oba Ogo" used for the English word" THE KING OF GLORY".

Benin did have a wonderful history, but  it's a wild  claim to say Oba was introduced  to Yorubaland. 

Can I add that Ogun,Osun, and Olokun, which are Yoruba Orisa are  venerated in Benin.

When we say Yorubaland  , we aren't talking about a city state  we are talking  about the homeland and cultural region and group of people in West Africa that  spans the modern-day countries of Nigeria, Togo and Benin, and covers a total land area of 142,114 km2 (54,871 sq mi).

Yoruba isn't a perfect  nation, but its cultural influences  are felt beyond  its geographical  location.  The only Africa culture  that survived  in the new world despite  that slaves were taken all over Africa. 

In modern  times, Yoruba culture (Food, music, language, religion ) is one of the greatest  cultures  of Africa. 

Image: Ade Oba(King's crown)

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