The Patriot Institute of Journalism and Arts (PIJA), Lance Magazine is a public-centric independent media organisation dedicated to fighting injustice, fostering social justice and community development through the telling and retelling of the marginalised-oriented stories.
How Yoruba Fought the longest Civil War and Lost Independence to Britain
A society which lacks the knowledge of history is not sane and lucid!
From the Editor:This is a clear narrative of how ethnics that constitute Yoruba today fought and lost their independence to British colony.
One would have thought of the Ilorin to be a Fulani town, but I said, no, Ilorin was a Yoruba town dominated by the muslims!
When Afonja loosed the throne to sheu alimi(a Fulani) in Ilorin, Alaafin Oluewu of the Oyo empire emerged with many other volunteer armies from other towns and led an army to retrieve back the throne for the Yoruba, outside Ilorin, the troops had a clash of interest, But the Alaafin insisted that even if no one is fighting with him, he would fight the battle alone, he and some other units within the troop forged ahead and embarked the battle, along the line, Alaafin oluewu’s son who was with him in the battle galloped to his father and said, father! The battle is not looking good, but we are the Yoruba, the Alaafins! we don’t look back! Baba mi! I may never see you again, his father nodded and he turned back, the battle went on.
But the worse happened when the prince fell, the Alaafin Oluewu himself also fell but did not died, he was badly injured, he was dragged to the head chief who unfortunately was a Yoruba chief,the emir alimi was observing the situation and he sent one of his Fulani extract to the scenario, but the chiefs drove him back, that it is not for the foreigners but the Yoruba people.
The head chief wanted to subject the great oluewu to fullest disgrace imaginable, they bound his legs and hands and the leading Yoruba chief at Ilorin beheaded the Alaafin Oluewu of the the Oyo empire! The Ibadan boys who witnessed the Ilorin Yorubas did the acts, managed to flew the scene to ibadan.
The boys were part of those who defeated the Ilorin who invaded osogbo later in 1840!
Consequent upon the victory of the Yoruba Ilorin over Alaafin Oluewu of the Oyo empire, the Ibadan boys who safely flew back had harboured a great grudge against the Ilorin Yorubas!
In 1840, Ilorin people whom I had claimed were not Fulanis but Muslims, invaded osogbo to conquer her for Islam, the Ibadan boys who had harboured a long time grudge against the Ilorins emerged in throng to the field in osogbo on full scale onslaught and defeated the Ilorin Calvary, they took into captive the leading officers who incidentally were all Yorubas, there were Fulani only in the lower cadre, but the Ibadan boys released the Fulanis therein, we have no problem with you, Go back! So, one was sent to Oyo empire where he was executed another in Ibadan.
This was how Ibadan became a great city where everyone wants to reside in, a city everyone always wants to align and identify with, as there were so many opportunities appealing to the people in Ibadan! Which made Ibadan gained much strength among the Yoruba communities!
Consequent upon the defeat of the Ibadan over the Ilorin invaders who invaded Oshogbo to conquer her for Islam in 1840, the Ibadan gained political strength and decided to unify the Yoruba land by war.
The Ibadan began a war and ran over places like Osun, Ekiti, Ijesha and created an empire putting Ajeles everywhere, they fought wars with many towns and conquered except from the southern towns like the Ijebus, Ondo and so on that they were unable to conquer.
In 1877, the Ekitis who doesn’t know how to handle the situation for a start made up their mind to revolt against the Ibadan empire, then they created an army called the Ekiti parapo army and began from killing the local Ajele in their territory and the war began, and soon many towns began to send reinforcement to aid the Ekiti parapo army! Soon many town began to revolt against the Ibadan invaders in their towns and the war began!
The statistics of the armies who fought in the battle:
~ Ibadan – 80000 men
~Ekiti – 50000 men
~Ilorin was forcely in Yoruba command supporting the Ekiti parapo with – 15000 men
~Ibadan also had about -34000 army in Oru fighting against the Ijebu.
~Ijebu had in Oru the army of about – 50000 men fighting against Ibadan reinforcement in Oru
~The Ekiti parapo had sent an army to go and protect Ile-Ife under Fabunmi of Oke-Mesi and high chief Arimoro from Ilesha -25000 men
~The Ijebu also sent 25000 men to Ile-ife under seriki ogunsigun.
The war lingered from 1877-1886 September, 23. When a peace treaty was signed and proclamation of peace was made, it was the treaty that ended a old centuries of troubles in our land.
Now I come to think of it If we had put all of this armies together and said “No white man in our land” There would have been no white man, because as of the time the British were interested in empires in Africa and they attacked Ijebu ode in 1892, It was because they knew the rest of us all won’t raise a finger to the defense of Ijebu ode.
That’s the lesson from the Kiriji war, the war from 19th century, that moulded our present, our ancestral short comings in the book of history, a great nation standstill and all sort of smaller nations ran over it!
It is time that we began to take control of our land, a time we should push for love and unity!
Yoruba e ronuuuu!
Bolaji Olaniyi Ezekiel (HOPE) write from Lagos