The old dynasty dates back to the old Oyo Empire which with Aláàfin as the emperor.
However, there are powerful women who controls the kingdom. They include among others:
1. Iyamode: Iyamode is the only person in the entire world the Aláàfin is permitted to kneel down before. He kneels before no one else except Iyamode. Iyamode occupies a role deeply respected that the king call her ‘Baba’ (father).
Whenever the Aláàfin goes on his knees before this powerful woman, she also returns the salutation by going down on her knees but never recline on her elbows while doing so as this is the custom of women in saluting their superiors. She resides outside of the palace and she is the superior of the celibates living in Bara (the royal mausoleum). Once a woman becomes Iyamode, she becomes celibate and stays away from sex for life. She is one of the most senior priestess inside the Aláàfin’s royal court.
2. Obagunte: She represents the Aláàfin in the Ogboni fraternity and enter Ogboni chamber on all occasion and at will.
3. Eni Oja: She is the head of all the Eshu worshippers in Oyo and she is in charge of the king’s market.
4. Iya Naso: The Aláàfin of Oyo is worshipped as the living incarnation of the Sango, the god of thunder. Inside the palace, the Aláàfin has a private place where he worships Sango. Iya Naso’s is in charge of this spiritual room. She has to do with Sango Worship generally and she’s the one responsible for everything linked to it. The worship and rituals.
5. Iya Kere: Iya Kere is the person who places the crown on the head of the king at the coronation. She is the only one in charge of the treasures and paraphernalia Of the Oyo kingdom, including the crowns. Iya Kere is also the mother of all illari (male and female eunuchs) who are kept in the palace with half their heads shaved off). Iya Kere exercises full power over the feudal heads like Aseyin, Oluwo and Soun of Ogbomoso. Once she assumes the office, she remains a celibate for life.
6. Iya Oba: Iya Oba is the official mother of the king. After the demise of the Queen mother, any other lady of the palace is then made the Iya Oba and she is one who plays the role of a biological mother to him. Iya Oba is the third person in the room when the Alaafin and Bashorun worship the Orun in the month of September every year. Iya Oba is the fedual head of the Bashorun.
7. Iya Monari: it is the role of Iya Monari to execute by strangling any Sango worshipper who has been condemned to death. Sango worshippers condemned to capital punishment cannot be killed by the sword. She is also the second-in-command and assistant to Iya Naso.
8. Iya-Fin-Iku: She is Alaafins devotee to the Sango mysteries. It’s the normal practice for all Sango worshippers to devote one of their children to the worship of Sango and that is the role Iya-Fin-Iku fulfills for the Aláàfin. She is also in charge of the Sango ram which is allowed to go everywhere and around the market without anyone molesting it and the ram can also eat with impunity anything it so desire from traders.
9. Iya Lagbo: She is the mother of the crown prince (Aremo) in a case where the mother of the crown prince (Aremo) is deceased, then another woman is promoted to that office and she becomes the mother of the crown prince (Aremo). Iyalagbon enjoys massive Influence and privileges and controls a portion of the kingdom. The Alaafin’s agunmu (medicinal powders) and agbo (concoctions) are placed in the care of Iya lagbo, the king’s private attendant who is in charge of his private pharmacy.
10. Aare Oriite: She is the Aláàfin’s personal attendant. It the Aare-Oriite who sees to it that the royal meals and royal bed is properly made. She also makes sure that the royal chambers are neatly arranged when an Aláàfin is enthroned, it is the Aare-Oriite who places the umbrella over his head as a canopy and she is constantly by the side of the Aláàfin to see to his needs.
These influential and powerful women communicate with the spiritual realm and guide every single step of the Aláàfin and they encourage and support him during periods of challenges and defend him from all forms of evil both physical and spiritual. They educate him on what he can eat and what is forbidden for him to touch. They are the ubiquitous brains behind the kingdom.
As only a mother can give birth to a son, only the great mothers can make a king.
Oriki awon Iya:
Iba eyin iya awirere aboju sinsin,
Mo se iba Akoda Aye,
Mo se iba Olodumare,
Mo se iba eyin Iya mi Olokiki Oru anomo lai fowo kan,
Mo se iba ba yin o.
Iba eyin iya