A Yoruba adage says, “Aponle ko si f’Oba ti o l’Olori”, meaning ”there is little honour or respect for a King without a Queen”; so is the story of the great monarch, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II.
Oba Ogunwusi is one of the most respected kings in Yoruba land, by extension Nigeria at large and rules over an estimated 500,000 people in Ile-Ife, a southwestern part of Nigeria.
The accountant and estate mogul turned monarch has by far been the most learned of all the Ooni’s that have ever ruled the city of Ile-Ife.
It is worth noting that a clash between the religious and traditional sentiments the king upholds, might have been a deciding factor in his two previous marriages which ended in divorce.
The unexpected disregard for the crown could have been avoided if he had chosen the polygamy lifestyle accepted by a monarch in this part of the world.
It is a popular myth that the ‘Yoruba king’ is not a one-wife monarch as he has every grace and power to marry many wives as dim fits.
However, the last two Olori that graced the palace could not keep up with the demands of being the Queen to one of the most revered monarchs in the country.
Ooni of Ife and Weekly Wives
The first Queen of the Ooni after his ascension to the throne of his fathers, Zaynab Otiti Obanor, got married to Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi in march 2016, a marriage that did not last for more than a year.
Reports suggested that the Edo-born queen could not stand the fact that the Ooni might relegate her as there were rumours of discord in the palace over the king taking another wife.
In 2017, the Ife monarch moved on to another woman and took Prophetess Naomi Silekunola as a wife, a marriage which produced a prince Tadenikanwo.
The marriage hit a block in 2021 after Queen Naomi took to her Instagram page to announce her divorce from the King; a move many find disrespectful to the crown.
Since the last divorce, the King has gone ahead to take 6 wives and still counting, while some sources revealed that there will still be more marriages in the coming days.
A committee was set up to see into the choice of the Olori for the King since the decision to stick with monogamy in the past has boomeranged.
A section of the media believes that the crown has been disrespected by the previous queen, hence the move to take as many wives as possible.
Others believe it is a move to tame the spate of divorce that keeps rocking the royal palace and that Ooni decided to marry more wives this time around and keep them in the palace to prevent a repeat of Queen Naomi’s saga.
A day before his 48th birthday, Ooni of Ife married Mariam Anako on September 16, 2022. A few weeks after, the monarch married another wife from Ondo state, Elizabeth Akinmudai.
On October 9 2022, Oba Adeyeye welcomed Tobiloba Philips as the third wife in 3 weeks while Ashley Adegoke also joined the list of queens on October 14, 2022, with Ronke Ademiluyi following suit on October 20, 2022.
On October 24, 2022, then he married a sixth wife, Temitope Adesegun, in a private ceremony in Lagos.
The late Alaafin of Oyo, Alaiyeluwa Oba Dr Làmídì Oláyíwolá Atanda Adéyemí III, is recorded to have married 18 wives, most in their 20s with history noting many monarchs with many wives.
Will Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi beat the next Solomon of our time? Your guess is as good as mine as we await more news, however less shocking, from the traditional town of Ile-Ife.