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Author Topic: Kiriji War
Chopper City
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Any serious Yoruba historian, I believe, will know about the Kiriji war. It was the decisive war that prevented a lot of the Yoruba nation states from being subjugated by the Ibadan bullies (who were working in tandem with the British empire). I believe it also led to the British "checkmate" on the Yoruba people of which they are not yet free even today.

I have read a lot about this war online but I still haven't found once source I could trust as far as facts. I guess it's really hard to get accurate data on it unless we find something that was written down about it around the time (i.e. 100+ years ago).

Does anyone have any sources on this topic?

Here's something:


Chief Jimoh Aliu is arguably a legend in the theatre world and a guru in the film industry. In his career which dates back to several years, he has traversed the length and breadth of the country and has won accolades in various parts of the world. Moerover, this illustrous Yoruba son has stamped his authority in publishing. In view of this, Chief Aliu has completed work on a book entitled: Ojulowo Itan Ogun Ekiti Parapo. In this chat with GBENGA OLUMIDE, he bares his mind on the effort. Excerpts:

W hy did you embark on this project?
Well, I consider it imperative to go into the publish ing of this book because of two reasons. One, the story has a historical importance to the Yoruba nation, as it dealt with a war of unification, which ended all wars in the land. Two, it is in furtherance of my role as a custodian of Yoruba culture and tradition which is sancrosanct, and I want to protect and preserve it.

There had been many angles to the story before your project. How do you see this?
That actually informed my resolve to come up with this project. A war that is very strategic and important to the Yoruba nation cannot, and must not be bastardised. In this project, we conducted a research through the families of the people that participated in the war and they endorsed the project.

What makes your own version different?
As I said, all the families and personalities that participated actively in the war were contacted and facts were gathered from them. They have authenticated this project and they are willing to corroborate it anywhere, any day.

How can you butress your claim?
This project is more of a research work than a mere story writing, and everything is well documented.

Why do you use Yoruba as the medium of expression for this book?
We did this to make it available to all and sundry, particularly people at the grassroots. And we made use of modern Yoruba which makes it useful for our children in secondary schools in all Yoruba-speaking states.

The story is all about Ekiti. Isn't it?
That is far from the truth. It concerns all the major towns and cities of the states in Yorubaland — Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo and Ekiti. All these areas and states played major roles in the historic war and that makes it expedient for indigenes of the states to know the roles played by their forefathers and leaders in the unification of the Yoruba nation. The book will, no doubt, give them first-hand information which they never have before: The authentic facts!

Who are the target audience for the book?
It is meant for all Yoruba sons and daughters in the diaspora. It is also useful for secondary school students, the elite and students of History. We need to have first-hand information about our past leaders and events.

Who are the principal characters in the book?
We have Fabunmi, Latoosa, Ogunmola, Ogedengbe and prominent Yoruba obas. More importantly, this book has succeeded in bringing forth some facts about these characters in the historical war. Note that it was Yoruba war, and not Ekiti war. This is important.

How far did you go in detailing their acitivities?
This is why the book is a must-read for all Yoruba in the diaspora. We have compehensively dealt with the activities of all the actors in the war in such a way that the indigenes of their respective communities need to know, and they are hard facts.

Do you have any different or special thing to say about those characters?
I have said it. This is a research work. If we have not done anything special or spectacular on the role of these characters, then there is no basis for our efforts. We have done what all sons and daughters of Oduduwa will be proud of.

Was Kiriji war truly the war that ended all wars in Yorubaland?
Absolutely. It was a war that put an end to all manners of wars and semblance of wars in Yorubaland. It is a war that restored the dignity of certain parts of Yorubaland. It is a war that exposed some personalities in Yorubaland. However, Yoruba sons and daughters have been fed with funny stories about their past heroes and some of these heroes have (also) been wrongly deified. We have corrected all these distortions and put the record straight. It will interest you to know the historic role that Lagos played in resolving this historic war and not much has been heard about their role. All these and many more facts are contained in this historic book. This is why this project (book) is important and essential for the entire Yoruba, including those in the diaspora.

Is there any arrangement on ground to make it accessible to all the target audience?
Well, within our capacity, we intend to print a reasonable quantity, at least to ward off piracy. Equally, we intend to reach out to governments in all Yoruba states to make copies available to the citizens, particularly students who must know the facts about their past leaders.

source: http://www.modernghana.com/movie/5078/3/why-im-reinterpreting-kiriji-wars-story-jimoh-aliu.html

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Chopper City
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It was a known fact that before Chief Ogedengbe was born, Ilesa and the entire Ijesaland was under the total control of the Alaafin of Oyo, who doubled to be the eldest son of Olofin Ajaye popularly called the Oduduwa of Yoruba hegemony.

There had been several attacks and assaults on Ilesa by the Oyos in orders to make Ilesa, the headquarters of Ijesaland, a tributary territory for the Oyo Empire. All efforts to conquer the Ijesas were not successful because of their strength, fortitude and winning spirit. It was during these periods of war, turbulence and communal disturbances that a Saviour and redeemer, a conqueror and a champion of his time would come.

Before Chief Ogedengbe was born, the Owa Obokun of Ilesa was virtually disturbed and perplexed on the continuous ravaging wars from the Oyos. The Owa Obokun then invited his Ifa Oracle consultants to find ways of quelling these incessant problems from the Oyos. These consultants consulted their ifa oracle and there was a revelation that a ‘great son’ of Ijesa was about to be born was about to be born who would salvage his people from the whims and caprices of the Oyos. In order to actualize the birth of this boy, a black cow and other herbs far and near were to be concoted. The Ifa Oracle then decided where the ‘golden boy’ was to be born. It fell on ‘
Atorin’ a little village very close to Ifewara in Atakunmosa West Local Government.


OGEDENGBE’S BIRTH:- A pregnant women by frame name, FALUPO woke up in her village at Atorin, only to be told to show up at the Town Hall where verification exercise on whom to bear the ‘golden boy’ was to be identified. Lady Falupo amongst other sixteen (16) pregnant women was identified to bear the child. All rituals were performed at Atorin near Ifewara and deposits were taken to a site close to the present Hope Grammer School Bolorunduro, Ilesa for sedimentation.

After twenty-one days of the rituals there areas where the rituals were placed started to spring-up water, later stream and eventually delevloping to a river. The Slogan, “Nya woo oo” ‘come and see’ now river ‘Ayao’ , which is a popular river in Ilesa metropolis.

No one can say exactly the date Chief Ogedengbe was born. Speculations were rife but one would boldly say he was born in the early 19th Century between 1805 – 1815 A.D. This could be decided by his strength and prowess during the last series of battles he fought at kiriji battle front at the Kiriji Battle front. Replying on the records of Captain B. W. Bower, the Resident of the British Government at Oyo, he rated him to be old and avassed in war experience and he would be about eighty years of age Captain B. W. Bower wrote this in his records in 1885

His mother’s town was Atorin while his father`s was OLORISA. He did not grow up in Olorisa because the mother had relocated to Atorin because of predictions and matrimonial problems from the bubbling husband whose personal physique and rotundity attracted several women to his household. His name is Apasan Forijiwa.

The little Ogedengbe grew up at Atorin until he shot a pregnant woman at Atorin. He could not go to school because schooling and formal education was unknown to Ijesaland then. He ran to IIesa to avoid being humiliated and assaulted or even punished. He was at Ifofin, in his Uncle’s house as an abode.

As a bachelor, he befriended a lady who had been bethrowned to one high Chief in Ilesa called Odole Ariyasunle. The Chief was not happy, he ordered his arrest, he was chained and detained at Idi – Ito ( Ijebu Jesa Junction of Ilesa). His peers and friends forcibly released him and he had to escape to Ibadan.


On getting to Ibadan, he could not settle peacefully. He had to enroll into the Ibadan upper Army Unit meant for outstanding soldiers. Aare Latosa gave him the necessary trainings and equipments to make him up. He was at Ibadan when he learnt that the Ibadan’s were waging war with the Ijesas and Igbajo (a district of Ijesas). He hurriedly left Ibadan to assist the Ijesas and Igbajo forces. On the battlefront, he was caught and brought back to Ibadan to face the case of sedition. He was given severe punishments and attempts were made to terminate his life. He was able to escape all the threats to his life.


After several attempts to him failed. The Ibadan Army under Aare Latosa said he should be stoned to death. At this time a women, OLOKUNLARO came to his rescue and he was able to escape. He fraught his way back to Ilesa with great difficulties. Several security men were killed but Ogedengbe was not hurt.

On his arrival at Ilesha, Ogedengbe warned the Ijesas about the imminent wars already planned by the Ibadans against Ijesas. To the Contrary, Odole Ariyasunle who was never happy raised opposing views and advised Ogedengbe to leave Ilesa .Ogedengbe left Ilesa for Igbara Oke where he turned to his headquarters instead of Ilesa.

As predicted by Ogedengbe that the Ibadans would attack Ilesa, they came and pounced on the Ijesa heavily. The Ibadans surrounded Ilesa but could not enter into the town. This was because Ilesa was protected by traditional walls which were seven (7) in number. The height of each wall was over forty (40 feet). Though there were seven outlets into Ilesa then, they were highly fortified by Ijesa forces. The Ibadans could not penetrate despite their might and strength. These walls were called ‘ODI’.

Ogedengbe had about the onslaught of the Ibadans on his kinsmen, he was disturbed and he started to ‘NURSE’ an idea of revenge against the Ibadans if GOD permits. He settled permanently at Igbara Oke where he extended
his authorities over several Ekiti, Akoko and Edo countries. He fought and commanded his soldiers to capture several towns in the present Ekiti, Ondo, Edo and Kware states under the banner and respect for the Owa Obokun of Ijesaland. Through-out his expansionist battles, he did not touch any of the beaded Obas of Oduduwa. He did not fight in Ijero because of the Ajero of Ijero ,equally Aramoko because of the Deji and Owo Because of the Olowo. He was even invited to Benin Kingdom and honored by the Oba of Benin for his efforts in regaining the lost glory of Oduduwa. Towns like Ise-Ekiti,Emure,Somorika, Iyayu ,Ituwo ,Epinmin ,Iboropa ,Oka Akoko and tens of other could not forget Ogedengbe in their histories. These prowesses led to a slogan “O soko Ekiti soko Akoko, Eniti Akoko ndi esin sin lori oke.


Ogedengbe was at Igbara Oke when the Kiriji war of 1870 started. The
causes of the war were numerous and each group involved as parties believed they were right. But, to the Ijesas, we believed that the excesses Ajele (District Overseer) from Ibadan were too much for the Ijeasa and Ekitis to bear. Rumour has it that one FABUMMI a great Ijesaman from Oke Imeji made the history factual. It was true that his wife (FABUMMI) prepared his lunch and was heading to his farm to give him, when the servants of Ibadan Ajele, attacked her and forced her to be raped openly by the Ajele. These actions of the Ibadan apart from been barbaric and rough were alien and taboos to the Ijesas, hence the beginning of the ugly war.

The Ijesas invited their people in Ekiti land like Aduloju Dodondawa, Falowo from Ekiti and host of other war lords. It was then they realized that without Ogedengbe the battle WOULD not be won. The Ijesas contacted their Ifa oracle severally and it reveled on each occasions that it was only Ogedengbe who could conquer the Ibadans. Attempts were made to parliate Ogedengbe to come back to Ilesa and help them fight the Ibadan. Ogedengbe did not take the emissaries serious because of disappointments he did not take the emissaries serious because of the disappointments he had received from the powerful Ijesa High Chiefs. At long last, several rituals were prepared and sent to Igbara-Oke where Ogedengbe eventually conceded to head the Ekiti Parapo Arm. The man who took a white horse fully loaded with charms to Ogedengbe at Igbara-Oke was called Opiliki (aka) Asodedero.

It was when Ogedengbe arrived that the whole Ekiti believed that the Ijesas were actually serious to route out the Ibadans from their vicinity. Immediately Ogedengbe got to Imesi-Ile, he was appointed the “SERIKI MEYAKI” meaning the Commander- in-Chief or Generallissimo of the Ijesa / Ekiti Parapo forces or Army.

Ogedengbe announced the commencement of the battle. It was a fierce one, but after seven (7) weeks of fighting the Ibadans became weary; and Ogedengbe advised them to send to Ibadan and fetch their war lord popular called ‘Are Latosisa’

Are Latosisa arrived for the Kiriji war and settled at Ikirun. He even boasted before leaving Ibadan that he would use only three (3) days to overrun the Ijesas on getting to the battle front, he invited Ogedengbe and reminded him of his (Ogedengbe) oath at Ibadan immediately after the Igbajo war. Ogedengbe rebuffed him saying he was fighting Ijesa National war.

It was then known that the Ekiti Parapo forces were fully prepared to capture alive the Are Latosisa.The battle was time consuming, starting from the dawn to dusk.

When the Ibadans could no longer cope they started to hammer a slogan as thus:-‘Ilu Kereje a ta ni lofa, a ta ni lofa ara a ro ni koro’ meaning ‘Small towns with dangerous weapons to kill their opponets.

During the battle, the Ijesas who enormous influence in West Germany had brought riffles and other sophisticated weapons from Itebu in Lagos to assist the forces. Notable amongst them were the Haastrups Thompson Gureje and Turtons. Initially two (2) riffles were sent, but when they performed very well more riffles were brought; at the end of the war nor less than eight hundred (800) riffles were used. The prices of these weapons were battered, that his slaves were sent to Lagos to liquidate the debt.

By 1884, the Ibandan troops were fidgeting so, from their Igbajo base, Are Latosisa sent to Alaanfin of Oyo to contact the Residents of the colonial British Government, and find means of settlement because the Ijesas in alliance with the Ekitis generally are super difficult to succumb to the Oyos wishes. He said if care was not urgently taken, the Ijesas would ruin and destroyed the Oyos powerful army.

Alaafin of Oyo, contacted the governor in Lagos who directed his resident at Oyo to wade into the communal conflict for immediate settlement.
Captain Bower invited Ogedengbe and Are Latosisa for a truce to the ugly war. Ogedengbe did not immediately agreed for settlement but after several pressures and persuasion from captain Bower he agreed for settlement.

Captain Bower then mentioned the emergency codes for the two (2) warring parties:-

1. No more fighting;
2. No more ritual killing or cannibalism
3. No more slave trade in Yourbaland

On the same date, Igbajo camp was destroyed and burnt, and eventually returned to Ibadan. No one could say he Aare Latosisa returned to Ibadan because any war lost by the Aare of Ibadan would be the last outing for him in or outside Ibadan.

During the war, Ogedengbe Kept the Owa Obokun at Esa Oke while the Ekiti Obas requested Owa Obokun too to come to the battle front, but Ogedengbe technically told them to find another leader for the Ekiti parapo forces then his Owa would appear. They reasoned with him that the son could not be stronger than his father. It settled there.


Ogedengbe finally returned to Ilesa after the Kiriji War. He settled peacefully but his forces popular called the Ipayes because Pugilistics unruly, uncontrollable and causing several threats to the Ijesas. Reports were made orally and openly to Ogedengbe but he could not control then, believing that they were the fingers that fed him during his travails. Efforts were made attempting to terminate his life but all in failures. Then, the Ijesas reported him to the resident at Oyo. It was during the reign of Owa Obokun Elere. The Owa Obokun hesitated in singing his petition to the resident at Oyo, because he was the one who appointed and installed him when Ogedengbe refused to be installed as the Owa Obokun Captain Bower came to Ilesa with twenty-one soldiers to arrest Ogedengbe. On the day he was arrested, there was a mild drama. Arimoro, one of the Ogedengbes lieutenants wanted to prevent Captain Bower to take Ogedengbe away. Captain Bower immediately drew the boyonnet of his gun to strike him, immediately the bayonet broke into seven (7) pieces.

Ogedengbe then appealed to the Ijesas not to fight for him because the British Government would destroy Ilesa Town if only one of her citizen was killed.

The second drama on the same day was when they got to Osunjela, a boundary between Osogbo and Ilesa. It was very difficult to cross the river Osun, but surprisingly, Ogedengbe had crossed the river without any boat or helper with his white horse wailing this tail to him. It was here that captain Bower realized the prowess of Ogedengbe as a great man.

On where Ogedengbe should be exiled he told them that the preferred any town in Yorubaland but not Ibadan but instead he preferred Iwo. Tolls were paid to see him because of their past conjunction with some Ijesas like Gureje Thompson have invade his ANAYE house and removed all the riffles he used at the war front and other valuables. When Ogedengbe heard this, he wept for the first (1st) time in his life, saying Ijesas were very difficult to curtail. There were even rumour that he cursed the progressives in Ijesaland.

Before his arrival, Owa Obokun Elere had died. Efforts were geared to select him for the second time to become the Owa Obokun, he equally refused.


Ogedengbe died in Ilesa in 1910 as the Obanla of Ijesaland. During his period his influence and affluence extended to Akoko in Ondo State; Ekiti land in Ekiti State; and towns like Owena; Ikeji-Ile, Arakeji, Ira; Ipetu Ijessa , Erin Oke and Erin Odo, Efon Alaye, Ido Ajinnare , Aramoko,Oke Mesi, Imese-Ile, Igbajo and Iresi to mention a few.

Seeing the support and cooperation of these numerous towns, he prayed that Ilesa and Ijesa would never witness any war AGAIN.

Before he died, two days to his demise, thunderstorms sounded three (3) times in the sky signaling the home-call of a great man. Owa Atayero invited him to appease the gods and goddesses of Ijesaland to avert the impeding problem but Ogedengbe told him that he was prepared to REST with his fore-fathers. He died peacefully with his children, Kith and Kin after advising them to be loyal, peaceful and law-abiding to a to all the rules and regulations of their fatherland. He appealed to them not to interfere with other Chieftaincies in Ijesaland and beyond except the Obanla of Ijesaland and if they followed their advice, love, prosperity and peace would dominate their lives.

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Chopper City
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I guess this explains the German presence in key Ilesha businesses like the brewery (IBL) for example.

Are we going somewhere or are you going to keep annoying me with your boring lectures professor-warrior??

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Chopper City
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Another reason why I don't trust the facts being thrown about about this war: Once I read somewhere that Ogedengbe was about to stomp on Benin but decided not to because his charms were used against him. Recently though, I read that this wasn't so and that in fact he was very much liked and honoured by the Benin king of his time for restoring honour to the kings of Oduduwa.

Who knows what really happened?

Are we going somewhere or are you going to keep annoying me with your boring lectures professor-warrior??

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