African Female Monarchs (1)

By: Oluwalaanumi Blessings

The African king is believed to be the spiritual head of his people and Chief custodian of their culture and cultural heritages. Tradition considers men only for this position, therefore you will rarely find a woman dreaming to fit into the sacred royal shoes.

Well, history walked us down the lane , took us back into the pages of our past and reveal to us that ‘once upon a time’ we had exceptional women who broke the rule and made it to the royal seat of their respective kingdoms. Or what do you call a constituency ruled by a female monarch?


Ile-Ife happens to be one of the most populous towns in Nigerian history. It is situated in the southwestern area of Nigeria and believed to be the origin of the Yoruba tribe. Just like every other African tribe, the Yorubas hallow royalty and Ile-Ife is definitely not an exception. The people of Ile-Ife call their king “òònī”.

There was once a female ooni in Ile-Ife. She was the 21st royal head. An offspring of Otaataa from öwódé compound. Married to Chief Obaloran of Ilode and the proud mother of Adékólá Telu ( founder of Iwo town). She was Luwoo Gbagida. Luwoo was a woman with a ravishing beauty. She derived much pleasure in good looks and clean environment, therefore, environmental sanitation was a consistent practice in her time. Discrimination did not find a voice during her reign for she was said to have treated “slaves” and “children” equally.

Queen Luwoo Ggbagida was greatly feared by men. Her shadow spoke disaster to the lazy man and her appearance was a nightmare to slackers. She detested walking on bare ground, so this made her the pioneer of baked clay tiles( on which she treaded all through her reign)in Yoruba history. She dished this task as punishment to miscreants or offenders. The elders of the felt she was “uncontrollable” and “highhanded”.

Amidst different opposition that confronted her, she assisted her son Adékólá Telu in creating the city of Iwo and he consequently became the first king of Iwo land.

She took over from Ooni Gesi, the 20th ruler of Ile-Ife and was succeeded by Ooni Lumobi.

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