When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. But when those two elephants also happen to be royal fathers, and no measly village royals either, but two of the most respected monarchs in Yorubaland, then what suffers is much more than mere grass. There is no gainsaying that the Ooni of Ife HRH Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and his counterpart king regnant of Ugbo Kingdom, Oba Frederick Obateru Akinruntan aren’t best chums. The two of them are always looking for one reason or the other to fight.
They were at it again recently, like the proverbial boxers that do not surrender until one is knocked out cold, they have taken their game of one-upmanship to new levels. When one goes south, the other must go north. When one walks the left path, the other will turn around and move to the right. Such is the depth of animosity between the duo; as each of them claims that their respective domain is the authentic cradle of the Yoruba nation.
During the recent Aje Festival in Ile-Ife, the Ooni had linked the beginnings of commerce in Yorubaland to the economic daring and commercial enterprise of Igbo traders. Not only that, Oba Enitan who recently remarried following his acrimonious divorce with his former queen Zainab, went ahead to ascribe Yoruba ancestry to the Igbo. He bluntly referred to them as the lineage o Obatala—a venerated figure in Yoruba mythology and legends.
Expectedly, this development did not go down well with the Olugbo. He came out all guns blazing and lambasted the Ooni for playing fast and loose with Yoruba history in a bid to score cheap points with certain quarters. The irate Oba Akinruntan claimed Oba Ogunwusi, in an effort to avoid admitting the status of the Ugbo indigenes as the original aborigines of Ile-Ife, substituted Ugbo with Igbo.
The shocking salvo has further stoked the flames between the two kings who treat each other with disdain. The claim of Oba Akinruntan that the Ugbo kindred are the genuine custodians of the Yoruba race remains a sore sticking point with the Ooni who regards it as an affront and challenge to the status of his own kinghood, widely considered paramount in Yorubaland.