Yoruba believes that marriage should be a life-long journey, but in some cases, it may not be; therefore, marriage dissolution might be necessary.
Divorce is allowed in a royal house in the Yoruba kingdom for the following reasons: Adultery, Stealing (thievery), laziness, other abominable conducts, impotence, or unknown family problem before (marriage) but now known, which may bring problems in future.
We may not have it in the record that a Yoruba king divorces his wife due to no documentation of activities in the olden days. However, in this modern Yoruba kingdom, we have the case of Yoruba kings that divorce their wives.
In 2017, the great Ooni of Ife kingdom Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi in Yorubaland divorce his wife, Queen Wuraola, who has now changed her name to Zainab on her social media. In April 2020, ’The igba keji Oorisa’ the great Alaafin of Oyo kingdom in Yorubaland sent his 22-years old wife, Olori Badirat Adeyemi packing for allegedly committing adultery with the Mayegun of Yorubaland (KWAM1).
It is believed that Yoruba traditional rulers are representatives of the gods on earth. That is why they are referred to as ‘Igbakeji Orisa,’ that is, second only to the gods. Why divorce? Are the gods sleeping?
The Ooni of Ife and the Alaafin of Oyo are the custodian of Yoruba culture. If they divorce their wives, should we say they go against Yoruba culture? Should we say the gods are sleeping? Should we say Yoruba lost its prestigious cultural value?
Do not be surprise seeing kings divorcing their wives, it’s not new in Yoruba kingdom.
NB: This write-up is not to belittle kings and the culture of Yoruba people.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Akanji Abdul Azeez is a political scientist, an Educationist, an advocate of humanitarian activities and a Public Administration student of ABU, Zaria.