𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗢𝗡𝗟𝗬 𝗙𝗘𝗠𝗔𝗟𝗘 𝗤𝗨𝗘𝗘𝗡 𝗢𝗙 𝗜𝗙𝗘.
Ooni Lúwòó Gbàgìdá was the 18th Ooni. She was a paramount ruler of Ile Ife, the ancestral home and dispersal point of Yoruba ruling dynasties and civilization. She was a descendant of Ooni Otaataa the 15th Ooni from Owode compound, Okerewe.
According to oral traditions from Ife, it was under Luwoo that much of the inner streets of Ife were tiled and paved with potsherd pavements, hence why these pavements are called ‘Apaadi Luwoo’ in Ife. According to the story, she was a queen very concerned about detail and cleanliness. During Ife’s classical period of development, she went out on an official royal outing in full regalia one day in the rainy season and her robes and coral accessories became soiled with mud and dirt with her feet getting stuck in it. Because she was a fastidious queen, this made her ordered the paving of all the most important roads in the ancient town.
The occurrence of potsherd pavements in virtually every part of the area within the Inner to Outer Walls of ife and beyond indicate that the city was densely populated. It is estimated that the city of Ilé-Ifè had a population of 70,000–105,000 during the mid-fourteenth century.
Luwoo was married to one of the high chiefs of Ife known as Obaloran and gave birth to a son named Adekola Telu who went on to found the Yoruba town of Iwo. She was the first and the only female paramount ruler of Ile-ife known to be the origin of Yoruba civilization, succeeding Ooni Giesi. Ooni Luwoo’s reign remains the only one by a female in Ife to date. Archaeological work is still being carried out in Ife and its surroundings today to find out more about the size and extent of ‘Apaadi Luwo’ and the legacies of this charismatic Oba.
In Yoruba history, several kingdoms are recorded to have had female Obas, including but not limited to; Ife, Ondo, Ijebu, and Oyo.