Osemawe is the paramount traditional ruler of the Ondo, often referred to as ‘Egins’, a Yoruba people with a sub-ethnic identity dating back to the 16th century[i]. Osemawe genealogical tree shows an astonishing completeness. It names every Oba and the duration of their reigns since Oba Pupupu about 1510. Starting with Oba Pupupu in the early 1500s, Oba Kiladejo is the 44th Osemawe of Ondo and the third from the Jilo line of Okuta Ruling House. His predecessor in that line, Jilo II, otherwise known as Arojojoye Oba Pupa, ruled between 1926 and 1935. The Okuta Huling House descended directly from Oba Luju, one of Oba Pupupu’s sons, who reigned between 1561 and 1590. Oba Luju’s four sons ruled after him in order of seniority, each establishing a ruling house. However, one of the four ruling houses, led by Oba Liyen, terminated in 1702 because there was no male child to continue the ruling house.
There have been highly charged competitions for the throne across and within the ruling houses. In more recent times, those competitions have led to protracted legal tussles. However, the Ondo throne has held its own over and above competitions and tribulations. Over time, the Ondo throne became a beacon of hope for traditional institutions thought[ii]. Respect accorded kings was in consonance with the culture inherited from their forebears, so goes the Ondo folklore; Oba me sooi ghun o, Oba o o koko, meaning, The king cannot be hidden[iii].
[i] Westerner March 2, 2009
[ii] Punch July 5, 2010
[iii] The News December 30, 2002