Obatala is known as the Sky Father of the Igbos who were the Aborigines of Ile Ife. He was the priest-king of these Lucumis.
Obatala is not just one king, but the Dynasty of kings that ruled Ife before Generalissimo Oduduwa’s ascendancy. Today, Ife is ruled by the Oduduwa Dynasty, a Yoruba Dynasty, and the Aboriginal Igbo Order has been replaced a the Yoruba Order which incorporates the Igbos that didn’t leave.
In Igbo language, one word for king is Igwe. Igwe is also the name of a deity called Igwe Ka Ala or Igwe Ka Ani, which means ‘The sky is greater than the land’.
The Obatalas, also had the titles Oba Igbo and Osere Igbo among others when they ruled Ife. Today, Osere remains the title of priest-chiefs in Oguta, an Owu community in Igbo Land.
Interestingly, Nri in present day Igbo Land, where the Igbo Aborigines of Ile Ife are said to have come from have Oba as a powerful chieftaincy and priestly title. This is different from their Igwe who is also a priest-king.
Also, in Ogbaland, in the Igbo part of Rivers State, they have the title Oba. Ogba Land (not the Ogba in Lagos in today’s Yoruba Land) are descendants of Eze Chima Obatala, who was an Aboriginal prince of Ile Ife.
Today, the head of the Igbos still in Ife is Obawinrin, and there is admirable peace, understanding and cooperation between the reigning Oduduwa Dynasty and the Aboriginal Obatala Dynasty who still function as priest-chiefs.
This is mainly as a result of the foundation laid by Oduduwa when he and his Igbo ally Obameri reconciled with Obatala after the war.
Oduduwa went one step further and gave his first child Princess Okanbi Iyunade to Obatala as wife. He thus joined the House of Oduduwa to the House of Obatala in a deft move for peace.
Their offspring form the successful Owu Empire you find all over Yoruba and Igbo Lands today.