Since the stool of Ooni was established, the kings did not leave their palace because of the highly revered position in Yoruba race. Ooni was and still is regarded as one of the gods and as such respected as one. Modifications to some traditional beliefs changed with civilization and education especially with the coming of the Europeans.
Ooni Adelekan Olubuse I was the first Ooni of Ife to travel out of Ile Ife. His port of call was Lagos in 1903 on the invitation of the then Governor General of the Southern Protectorate Sir William MacGregor.
Because such a journey had never been undertaken before, all the Yoruba kings that had their domain along the route the Ooni will pass before getting to Lagos were said to have vacated their palaces.
This is said to be because there cannot be two kings in a town and at the same time, since the Ooni is the paramount ruler, lesser kings cannot occupy a throne when he is around.
It was documented that all Yoruba kings including the Alaafin of Oyo vacated their respective thrones as a mark of respect for the Ooni. They went to hide outside their royal palaces.
On getting to Lagos, the Governor General asked the monarch about the welfare of his people and he told him that they were not happy. He said they were in tears because he left them and that many of his people accompanied him to the river and vowed to wait there till he comes back.
The kings only returned to their places after the Ooni had returned to Ile Ife from his sojourn to Lagos.
The first visit of Ooni of Ife to Lagos was documented in the government gazette for the colony of Lagos published on Saturday, February 28, 1903.
Sir William MacGregor was governor of Lagos Colony, Nigeria, from 1899 to1904 where he instituted a campaign against the prevalent malaria, draining the swamps and destroying mosquitoes as far as possible. Other important works in developing the country under him were roads construction and building a railway. His efforts to improve the health of his community led to his being given the Mary Kingsley Medal in 1910 by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
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