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Alaafin Adeyemi Alowolodu



The succession struggle was a tricky affair, although the Oyomesi wanted Adeyemi, the candidate did not want to usurp the right of his senior brother of the same mother, Adesiyan. He entered the race fully, once he was assured of Adesiyan’s support who disclosed that his frail disposition would not match the exertions of the high office.

Lawani, Adelu’s crown prince, was expecting a repeat of his father’s form of succession, while he rejected Oyomesi’s instruction that he should die, he made an elaborate plan to supply weapons to his supporters in Apaara, Ajagba, Iseke and Akeetan. He had started a feasting spree of the palace officials with daily supply of bullock and ass meat. Possibly, to protect the real candidate, the Oyomesi proposed the Asipa and persuaded Lawani not to resort to arms so that he would not destroy the edifice erected at great cost by his father. The official intimation of the result of the contest was within the purview of duties of Baba Iyaji who cautioned him to leave the town forthwith. he got his slaves and some relations that had moved to his Agodongbo farm, a distance of about two miles to Oyo town, to salvage and carry his movable belongings to Ibadan where Aare Latosisa accepted and gave him quarters in Yemetu area of the town.

Adeyemi I was the fourth son of Atiba. As the Oyomesi rejected Lawani and Adesiyan, the antecedent of Adelabu did not commend him to such appointment. Adeyemi was revered by both Oyo people and traders from Ijebu, Ibadan and Abeokuta. Most of these had got occasion to share his largesse. He drank moderately and was well disposed to entertain his friend with drinks. The populace hailed his accession.

In the rite of crowning an Alaafin, Ile-Ife still retains two functions-the dispatch of Igba-Iwa (a rite of divination) and the sword of justice. The former is made up of a set of two covered calabash bowls in which separate articles are put. In a calabash, cowries, cloth, beads, etc. would be enclosed to portraying the omens of war and instability. When the two identical calabashes reached Oyo, the monarch would be asked to make his own choice in addition to the sword. In the case of Adeyemi, his choice fell on the calabash with miniature spear, knife, etc. The royal diviners knew straightaway that turmoil waited the reign in its domestic and external policies. The importance of the sword centred on the crux that an Alaafin, before the advent of the British, could not order the execution of any offender without the dispatch and possession of the sword from Ile-Ife.

What prevented the slithering of the dynasty and the monarchy in new Oyo were the common characteristics exhibition by all the Alaafins that reigned between 1838 and 1905. In the main, not only that the kings were direct descendants of Abiodun, they exuded his statesmanship, firmness, a taste for a decent lifestyle, justice and success in combating opponents. They were all practical rulers with talent for diplomacy, administration and industry. They were all achievers. These qualities gave Oyo and district stability and tranquillity in the period.

It will be recalled that from the time of Ijaiye war, the Egbas and Ijebu’s had prevented arms and ammunitions from escaping to the interior, particularly Ibadan. To unblock the route, late Ogunmola, (the Basorun), had opened a line of communication through Oke-Igbo, Ile-Ife to Benin. Further, late king Adelu had purchased a large quantity of gun powder from Porto Novo which was brought as far as Bokofi, but the movement could not be advanced for fear of Egba’s confiscation or Dahomean molestation.

In 1877, Ilori, the Osi, late Ogunmola’s son and Iyapo, Seriki, late Ibikunle’s son, were despatched under the elderly Bada Olupoyi to go and retrieve the gun power. They were to steer clear of Egba territory, molest no one and should wend their way via Okeiho, Iganna and Imeko. A prior message was sent to the Egba’s to ensure the expedition was not viewed with a sinister motive. The Aare Latosisa also hoped  the young war chiefs, Ilori and Iyapo, might be eliminated in the dangerous expedition, he being envious of the Reverence with which the two houses were held in Ibadan.

The expedition was successful, and 800kegs of gun powder, a few Dane guns and casks of rum were brought. The commodities were sent to the Alaafin who took a few kegs, but returned the remainder of the gun powder to Ibadan.

There were two aspects to the grand design of the Aare:

  1. a) To subdue Abeokuta eventually; and
  2. b) To eclipse the famous houses of Ibikunle and Ogunmola so he could perpetuate authority and fame in his lineage.

We should now study the antecedent of the Aare. Aare Latosisa arrived in Ibadan a private man, a dresser of palm trees from Iloraa near Oyo. He experienced a long period of bachelor life, participated in most raiding operations of Ibadan, but fortune took some time to shine on his effort. He got his first wife in the turmoil of a civil war in Ibadan. Experience or early poverty had taught him to eat and spend frugally. He served as captain when Ogunmola was Otun and was able to demonstrate his valour in Iwawun campaign. When his eldest son died in Ijaiye war, the several attempts to propitiate Ifa oracle so he could have children were fruitless. But when he got converted to Islam, his new faith matured steadily because of the birth of Sanusi. In Ilesa, while he took charge of the campaigns in the rural area, Ajayi Ogboriefon cleared the armies of Ijesas in the township. he forcibly usurped the office of  Aare Ona-Kakanfo from Ojo aburumakuu of Ogbomoso and obtained Ojiko and two slaves from the Alaafin. Like in the case of Kurunmi, whose head slave (Abogunrin) always wore the Ojiko, Latosisa’s head slave, Idagana, wore the leopard skin military cap of his master. He personally led the battles at Ado and Aiyede in Ekiti region. He rose quickly in Ibadan affairs and eventually the ruler ship of the town devolved on him. He succeeded Baale Orowusi.

When Adelu confirmed the appointment of Orowusi as Baale in 1870, the latter as ruler of Ibadan installed other chiefs as follows:

Office                    –              Holder

Balogun                –              Ajobo

Otun                      –              Latosisa

Osi                          –              Ajayi Ogboriefon

Asipa                     –              Ali Laluwoye

Seriki                     –              Lawoyin

We must recall that in 1867 Ogunmola, the Basorun; Abayomi, the Osi Balogun; and Tubosun, the Otun Balogun – all died between February and April of that year. The death of Ogunmola could be natural, but there were unsavoury exchanges between him and the Alaafin. He needed aayan wood and bere grass for his ‘kobi’ gables in the house and so when the asked his sovereign, the Alaafin for these, the latter tied up the aayan wooden posts like corpses in shrouds to be presented to Ogunmola. The warrior also coveted a piece of silk cloth from an Ekiti king; and it could firmly be inferred that the acceptance of the gift and the use of the cloth were the cause of small pox which killed the Basorun.

A profile of Ogunmola is interesting. He had arrived on the scene from the small town of Odogbo near Ikoyi; and had served apprenticeship as a veteran under great Ibadan generals. He too rose to become one. He obtained from the Alaafin the title of Basorun which Oluyole had held for the province when Gbenla assumed the post for Oyo town. He then got the Alaafin to send him all the paraphernalia of the office, which he successfully obtained. The Alaafin explained his gift as a reward for him for services performed for the nation during Ijaiye war. His chiefs as Basorun were:

Holder                  –              Title

Akere                    –              Balogun

Tubosun              –              Otun

Abayomi              –              Osi

Ali Laluwoye       –              Ekerin

Ajobo                    –              Seriki

Latosisa                –              Otun Seriki

He introduced the chieftaincies of Owota and Gbonka for the first time in Ibadan.

Generally, Ogunmola was generous, just and fearless. as a warrior, he possessed valour and courage. He preferred a military man to a farmer. His death which followed immediately by that of Balogun Akere resulted in the incumbency of Orowusi who ascended the Baaleship of Ibadan in 1870.

Earlier around 1850, one Esu, an Ilorin slave and a native of Iye, was redeemed by one Lalaye. His former captors, the Ilorin’s, by seizing thier citizens.because he had warmed up himself with Oluyole, the Basorun protected him.

After the death of Oluyole, Ilorin contacted Ibadan for assistance to capture Esu at Opin. Because Ilorin also allied with Ibadan during Batedo war to attack Ogbomoso, Ibadan had to yield. Ibadan contingent was led by Koloko, a minor war chief; while Ali, (Balogun) led Ilorin in the attack on Opin, the base of Esu. Aganga Adoja led Opin. Due to an explOsion of gun powder in Opin’s magazine and the death of Adoja, Opin’s resistance was broken. one by one, Isan, Oye and Ikole were captured, the places to which Esu fled. The battle ended successfully for the allies. But Ali, the Ilorin commander, had died; and his place was taken by Hinna-Konu, the Balogun Fulani assisted by Alanamu, the Yoruba Balogun of Ilorin. Koloko, too died at Osogbo.

Secure at home, Baale Olugbode was formally installed as the ruler of the town; and he too made the following appointments:

Holder                  –              Title

Ibikunle                –              Balogun

Ogunmola           –              Otun

Osundina             –              Osi

Akere                    –              Asipa

Orowusi               –              Ekerin

Ajayi jegede       –              Seriki

Sunmala               –              Otun Baale

Tubosun              –              Osi Baale

Abayomi              –              Ajiya Baale

Aijenku                –              Aare-Agoro Balogun

This was a formidable team that led Ibadan to the height of its military glory in the 19th century.

When the Ibadan’s checked successfully the southward conquests of the Jihadists at Osogbo in 1840, the superintendence of that town came under her. In the fifties, the Ijesas were molesting Osogbo farms in a ceaseless manner. The raider came from Ilesa, Ilase and Ibokun. Olugbdo then despatched his chiefs the Otun, Ogunmola; the Osi, Osundina; Orowusi, Ojo Orona, and Okunla on an expeditionary mission to curb the Ijesa incursions. This ended in Ijebu Ere war. Ijebu Ere, a big town, was besieged by Ibadan; but Ogunmola left Ilesa road section free for the inhabitants to escape. Many cities were sacked in the district before Ilesa, too, surrendered. The pillage by Ibadan was extended to cover Ogotun and Igbara. the campaign ensured the whole of Ijesa was subjugated by Ibadan. The slush and marshy land between Ijebu and Ikeji in the arena of war gave name to the campaign. This was in 1851.

The Ijebu Ere war had its ripples in an encounter which followed at Koro. While the Ibadan’s were at Otun at the close of Opin war, an Alara of Ara that was deposed by his people for dealing in slaves with his subjects, invited the Ibadan’s to reinstatement, but when the Koro’s under Ajero of Ijero refused provision of food to their army in the district and the Koro’s were defeated; the Ekitis sent a message round which produced an alliance of Ekiti towns against Ibadan. While the reinstated Alara opposed the alliance, his townsmen defiantly joined their kith and kin.

The Ilorin’s were still in Otun in pursuit of Esu, their enemy, and so Ibadan siege did not spare them. The most powerful chief in Ara was Lejofi. He was neutral: he supported neither side. Ibadan’s authority had then covered the whole of Ekiti, Ijesa and Efon. The pastime of the Ibadan chiefs was raiding and pillaging; and the escapades of Ayorinde inOgbagi and Irun, Abayomi and OlunlOyo at Ise around 1857 and beyound, were great exploits.

It was the announcement of the news of the death of Ogunmola which encouraged the Ijesa’s to rebel, having been instigated by Ogedengbe who was trained in the art of war by an Ibadan Bada. Caught fighting against Ibadan in the siege which Ilesa laid against Igbajo, he was handed over to Ogunmola for execution; but Latosisa, one of Ogunmola’s war captains, pleaded for him and so he was spared. having escaped back home, he headed the Ijesa resistance against Ibadan.

The Ibadan had spent a year in the siege of Ilesa without success. The moat around Ilesa was some 30 to 40 feet deep, but with hunger and the Ipaiye boys of Ogedengbe who were behaving like Ilorin Jamaa’s, the Ijesa people started negotiating for peace. This affair was terminated by the death of Akere, the commander-in-chief of Ibadan.

This was how power was thrust on Orowusi. But his rule was short. Although he promoted wise administration, he died in September 1871, shortly after Ajobo’s expulsion from the town and the burning of his house. Orowusi originally came from Ogbaagbaa near Iwo. An elephant hunter, he rose quickly under Ibikunle and Ogunmola who were senior veterans. The Ijesa’s thought they were safe behind their town moat, but Akeredolu, Orowusi’s son, discovered its terminus, scared away the few sentinels around; and with the help of the whole of the Ibadan army trailing after him to prevent his being overwhelmed by the enemy, the Ijesas were rushed and defeated. Latosisa and Ajayi OgborIfefon were other Ibadan chiefs who displayed singular valour in these campaigns. In the end, the Ijesas saw that further resistance was futile, and Ogedengbe had to arrange for terms of surrender. While he was allowed safe conduct with his war captains, the main army of Ibadan entered Ilesa to pillage for loots and slaves.

The scenario above had made Ilesa to look to Ibadan for direction and protection. Thus, when a dispute arose over the filling of Owa vacancy, and Ajobo, (the Balogun), did not allow the presents sent to him by Ogbedengbe to be shared, the Ibadan war chiefs installed their own candidate and detained Ogbedenge’s candidate, Odigbadigba, with Ogundepo, the Baale’s brother.

The story continued to unfold with its sad consequences. Orowusi, the Baale, would prefer a weak Balogun, but the young aspirants like Latosisa and Ajayi desired promotion which would upgrade them next to the Baale. The seed of antagonism had been sown by the issue.

When Ogedengbe learnt that his candidate for the Owa throne had been murdered in Ibadan, he came down from his hiding; sacked Ilesa and expelled the protégé of the Ibadan’s on the throne. Ajayi OgborIfefon, the Balogun, was despatched by the Aare Latosisa to reinstate the Owa immediately; but Ajayi was only hunting for slaves. Futhermore, Ogedengbe did not wait to give battle to him, and so the Ibadan war boys were able to help themselves more easily with loots. theBalogun was unfaithful to the Aare by employing every guise to obtain slaves. And this displeased the Aare who wanted Ilesa relieved, not sacked. Ogedengbe eventually escaped to Alawun forest in Ikere where he gave battle to the Ibadan’s. While he stationed his army at Ita Ogbolu, the Ibadan’s camped at Ogotun. In the battles that ensured, Ogedengbe’s men defeated their opponents flatly.

The Aare Latosisa took over office in October 1871. His preference of title was Aare Ona-Kakanfo because he argued, as a Muslim; none of that faith had ascended Ibadan Baaleship; and Ojo Amepo, an earlier Muslim, assumed the headship of the town as an Aare. The history of Afonja and Kurunmi, to mention only two troublesome kakanfos, were sufficient to chill Alaafin’s desire for this appointment. The Ibadan chiefs were also disagreeable; but in the end, Latosisa convinced his opponents; and was duly installed. His assumption of office was a usurpation of Ojo Aburumaku’s office. The latter was the head of Ogbomoso town. But earlier from Ibadan, Ogunmola had taken on the title of Basorun when the aged Gbenla of Oyo was still an incumbent. Might was dictating the tempo and course of these chieftaincy events; and yet the Alaafin as the sovereign, was forced to accede to the request of Ibadan chiefs.

While the Aare had commended the policy of installing younger elements into chieftaincies, instead of mature and elderly members of the renowned families as enunciated and practised by Baale Orowusi, he developed an obsession of finding excuses for liquidating them physically as well.

In 1873, the Ife’s invited the Aare Latosisa to come and capture Modakeke. But on a second thought they realised that in punishing their enemies, the Ibadan war boys might extend unsavoury incursions to Ife, there no walls of separation between the two settlements. Thus, when the Aare arrived, he was begged not to intervene any longer. The Aare then remembered how his brother was killed in Ado in Ekiti during Agbado war. he subsequently directed his army to Ado and made a short work of their conquest. But the king and his chiefs were well treated and so the warrior returned to Ibadan triumphantly.

The Aare had then been displaying the dreadful traits of all Kakanfos. He lacked mercy, encouraged intrigues, murder, usurpation of titles and all forms of arbitrariness. In 1874, he got Efunsetan, the Iyalode of Ibadan, to be murdered; and installed Ola, her Otun, in her place. Through cunning, he got chiefs like Seriki Iyapo, the son of late Ibikunle, to hound Aijenku who committed suicide and his property was looted. By this incident too, a ruse to get rid of Iyapo was planned. The Aare accused him of keeping a basket of beads that he recovered from Aijenku’s house, when the latter’s was looted.

Aare kidnapping raids against the Egba’s, an incident that followed the expedition which brought the Alaafin’s gun powder from Porto Novo in 1877, did not meet the consensus of Ibadan chiefs. With all the different objects of discontent raked up against the Aare, a secret meeting was held in Ogboni house in Basorun’s market in 1877 to assassinate him. When this plot leaked, it was Iyapo who was forced to commit suicide. Then Akintola succeeded him as head of Ibikunle house. Also in Jalumi war at Ikirun, Ilori was killed by the Ilorin’s; and since it was the Aare who goaded Ilori to engage in constant rebellion with his Balogun, Ajayi Ogboriefon, the death of Ogunmola’s only surviving son, became an indictment for Latosisa.

Throughout 1877 and 1878, Ibadan continued armed conflicts with the Egba’s in one guise or another. The Ekiti’s then took this respite to compact an alliance to get rid of Ibadan’s yoke. The Ibadan answer to the alliance resulted in Jalumi war.

The war was so named because the battles took place in October when the rivers Oba, Osun, Oti and others in the arena of war in great floods; and many of the combatants from all the sides – the Ibadan’s, the Ilorin’s and the Ekiti’s – got drowned in the course of either fighting or escaping. A prince of Ila Orangun, Adeyala and two prominent citizens of Oke-Imesi, Fabunmi and Odeyale, united together to raise a rebellion against Ibadan and Oyo agents in thier district. In Ila, about 1000 Oyo’s were killed. Although Ayikiti, the Ooni of Ife, installed by the Aare, pillaged Ipindun, Ifewara and Osu to recoup himself of expenses of his installation; the Ijesa’s realising the consequences of offending Ibadan, accepted theindignity without joining the alliance. in 1878, the Ekiti allies besieged Igbajo and repelled the contingent from Ibadan that would have given succour to the former. the aim was to strip Ibadan of all its dependencies and ensure it had no town to administer beyond river Oba. In this encounter which in history is referred to as Jalumi war, Ibadan came to the rescue of Ikirun and the town was successfully liberated. Although the Osi, chief Ilori, was slain, the war was not lost.

However, Ajayi Ogborifon (the Balogun) died in 1879 and Babalola, his eldest son, replaced him as head of the house. He was the hero of Jalumi war. He took fields of battle at Iwawun with Ogunmola, and with Latosisa at Ilesa. He originally came from Ejigbo, his betrayal of his colleagues on the attempt on the life of Aare and his complicity in the death of Ajobo who bore the expenses of his installation as the Osi Balogun were a slur on him. His name was derived from his beheading of a sharp shooter at Efon, Ajayi Ogboriefon.

Ilorin wanted to destroy Ofa after Jalumi war, even though the refugees of the former received good treatment in thier escape bid. The fact that Ofa cut the bridge over river Otun to weaken the survival rate of the Ilorin’s angered them, but king Alihu of Ilorin wanted peace with Ibadan so that he would be able to ransom his chiefs caught in Jalumi war. The Aare then sent to Alihu to raise his Ofa siege if he wanted his chiefs. Already, an Ibadan contingent had been sent to succour Ofa.

At the end of Jalumi war, Ibadan’s position with its neighbours was precarious. The Egba’s had blockaded the routes to the coast through their territory. The Awujale rebuffed the approach of the Aare to resume friendly relations. The Aare’s presents of slaves were returned. The Ijebus supported the Egba’s and the Ekitis. While Ogedengbe refused to lead the Ekitis, Fabuni of Oke Imesi headed the alliance. The Ekiti Parapo included Ijesa’s, Efon’s and Ekiti’s. The death of Balogun Ajayi invigorated the members. The Lisa of Ode Ondo sent to the Aare that although the allies invited and gave him presents, he would be neutral. The Aare then urged the Lisa to keep his promise and ensure free access on the route. While the fundamental cause of Kiriji war a desire for freedom by Ekiti, Ijesa and others, the immediate causes were:

1) An intermittent antagonism between Igbajo and Ilesa;

2) Fabunmi, the eldest son of Oba Oloja Oke-Imesi, appealed to the Aare of Ibadan so he could secure the marriage of a woman called Fasola already in traditional wedlock with an Igbajo man. Although the Aare had taken money and a horse, he did not support Fabunmi; and rather the Aare’s messenger, Orimagunje, committed an obscenity in the palace of the Oloja Oke which led to a widespread riot in which many Oyo’s were killed. Odeyale, the eldest son of Orangun Ila, supported Fabunmi immediately.

When the Aare got the help of the Ijebu’s living in Ibadan to mediate on the issue of peace between Ijebu-Ode and Ibadan, the Awujale only catalogued his grievances, as follows:

1) That Ajobo was expelled from Ibadan and his corpse was not allowed to be brought into the town; and

2) That in the disagreement with Efunsetan, Aijenku and Iyapo, Ijebu’s mediation was rejected. If the Aare wanted support, he should settle with the Egbas first and then commit suicide to pave the way for peace. Ibadan was also asked to withdraw its troops from Ofa and Ikirun. The Ondo’s kept their neutrality.

The hostilities from the Ekiti Parapo started from Ikirun where they engaged Ibadan in battle. Fabunmi of Oke-Imesi led their army. Ogedengbe found it difficult to support the Ekiti alliance at first because he had received a war standard from the Aare, who also assigned him some of his thought war boys. But with persistent calls to him at his Ita Ogbolu base and Ogedengbe fought near Imesi Ipole and there were three battles.

From the time of Balogun Ibikunle and Ogunmola, the practice of having bands of a few hundred boys undergoing military training under each chief had been in vogue. These boys, all dressed in red, were positioned near their chiefs and were like Spartans in their upbringing. Babalola, Ajayi Ogboriefon’s son, who among others was a general in this war, lost many of his boys. Ojo, late Opeagbe’s son, was another general.

The Aare had become unpopular. His performance on Egba front, where Ibadan’s were being kidnapped frequently, was unpatriotic. His war chiefs had seen through his scheme to eliminate many of them. He, too, was therefore invited to the Ekiti war front to face humiliation. The Aare took traditional permission from the Alaafin to go to war and the monarch released him. He was expected to take the field and return home in seventeen days. He quickly recalled Ali, the Otun Balogun and Akintola, Iyapo’s brother from Ofa front so he could appear on the field with a crushing force.

The war chiefs from Ibadan having been alienated, they decided not to capture any town so that the Aare’s position might not be strengthened. The Ekitis had the advantages of:

1) Ilorin alliance through which the Ijesa’s sent Ogunmodede in exchange for one Lasebikan from the Ilorin war camp;

2) Knowledge of both the terrain and the neighbourhood;

3) Provision of food, ammunitions and arms;

4) A strong determination of fighting a war of independence;

5) Ogedengbe’s support who had received military training from Ibadan; and

6) A fertile ground for recruiting soldiers from areas like Ijesa, Ekiti, Efon, Yagba, Akoko and Egbe.

When the Aare’s camp was shifted to Elebolo, the Ekitis’ too, left Imesi Ipole to move near him, both surrounded by craggy hills. Yet casualties were mounting on all sides. An Ijesa chief, olubayode, was slain and Kupolu, Ibadan’s commander of the infantry, also numbered among the dead. From the booming of guns and their Reverberations, the encounter was called Kiriji war.

As blockades continued on Ijebu and Egba sides, while the war dragged on, Derin Ologbenla, the Ife prince, the Baale of Okeigbo got an excuse to close the Benin route against Ibadan. He then joined the Ekitis. Similarly, in 1881, the Dahomeans sacked Ijilo, Obasunwa, Ilaji, Itasa, Okele, Iwere, Ayetoro and Iganna – all in the west. The Aseyin Lawore who went in defence of te region narrowly escaped death. In 1886, Ketu, Idikumo, Iselu and Dain were taken by the Dahomeans. In 1887, Ilesan, Ibise, Oke-amu, Ago-Iluku, Gbagba, Ago-Sabe, Irawo, Owo and, for the second time Ilaji, were pillaged.

We must note the attitude of the Alaafin to Ibadan in its difficult position. It was a situation that called for tact. Adeyemi knew if the Ibadan’s could defeat the Ilorin’s, the Ijebu’s, the Egba, the Ijesa’s and the Ekitis, his throne might be challenged. Already the head of Ibadan town since the time of Oluyole had always dictated the title wanted to assume, either Baale kakanfo or Basorun. Ogunmola went to the extent of asking the Alaafin to send him bere grass as well as aayan wood posts for his kobi. He was persuaded not to demand Gbanla’s suicide when he got appointed in the lifetime of the Oyo incumbent. Lawani was also given comfort and refuge at Ibadan.

The Aare Ona-Kakanfo Latosisa usurped his office from Ojo Aburumaku of Ogbomoso as stated earlier and there was no end to his ambition and schemes. Many chiefs in Ibadan had succumbed to his treachery and were killed. So, the Alaafin was happy that the Ijebu and Abeokuta routes were closed. He could not have been unhappy about the attack from Ilorin and the success of the Ekiti Parapo. But while wishing the latter success, he openly sent some food, soldiers and Ifa priests to the Ibadan’s. Ibadan’s were a good judge of the situation and so drove away from their camp the Ifa priests. But what Ibadan wanted was the king’s mediation to stop the war. The monarch only glossed over the main issue and complained of their harbouring Lawani, his nephew, in the city.

Over Ile Bioku in Oke-Ogun district, the Baale Oyedokun sent to both the Aare and Ogundipe to come and destroy a sister town founded by a splinter population from his. The Aare was for peace and, with war in Ekiti area, routes in Ijebu, ondo and Egba closed, he could not recommend an armed solution contained in the invitation. Ogundipe, the Balogun of Ikija, was the leading chief in Egba at the period. With a view to see if he could retrieve his wife and child lost in the area during the Ijaiye war, he accepted to intervene; and so the opposing settlement to Ile Bioku was destroyed. The remnant of the population had survived as Lanlate.

Around 1890, the Dahomeans attacked the western district again; Berekodo, Oke Tapa, Ayete, Bako, Gangan, Igbo Osa, Idofin, Idire, Papa and Gungigun were sacked. It was not long after this when the French extended colonial rule to cover Dahomey.

Endangering life on the way to Eruwa market were two high-way robbers – Kurakura, anHausa slave of chief Ogundeyi; and Gata, an Ilorin man. One Ogunefun was sharing the spoil with these evil men. Though the sales of arms were prohibited, it was a major market for salt, cloths and other merchandise.

The Ijesas at Lagos had banded themselves together and brought sneider rifles for their people. Thus, the Ibadans faced a more dangerous situation. With their magazines empty and the enemies acquiring supperior weapons, they could not defeat the Ekiti’s. The leaders of Ijesa’s from Lagos were Labinjo, Gureje and Apara. The Ibadan’s suspicion that the British government at Lagos was assisting the Ekiti’s was unfounded. Equally, the attempt by Derin, of Oke-Igbo, the Ooni elect, to mediate between the two sides ended in object failure. With constant losses of men by Ibadan and lack of progress in the course of the war, the Aare wanted to commit suicide. But he was persuaded to take heart.

From 1881, the Alaafin had become convinced that the Kiriji war or Ekiti Parapo war must be stopped. The western subjects of the Alaafin at the border with Dahomey were distressed with invasions and had hinted they would desert the towns. TheIbadan’s were the Oyo’s who could stem back the invaders. Thus, Alaafin extended contacts to Rev. D. Olubi of the C.M.S., Ibadan, and Mr. Samuel Johnson of Oyo C.M.S. church to guide him on how to go about securing the mediation of Lieutenant Governor W.B. Griffths at Lagos. The C.M.S secretary, Rev. J.B. Wood, was also employed to explain the situation further to the governor. The governor took time to find out more information from Mr. Samuel Johnson who brought the Alaafin’s letter in addition to what he could gather from the Oyo’s and the Ijesa’s at Lagos.

The governor sent back his envoys: Messrs D. Kester and Oderinlo Wilson to the Oyo’s; and to the Ijesa’s – Messrs P. J. Meffre and J. Haastrup. By way of broadening his appreciation of the issue, chiefs in Oke-Igbo, Ife and Ondo were also to be contacted by the governor’s men. the Alaafin was able to explain to the delegates that he wanted peace and since the combatants were equally powerful, the intervention of a higher authority was the only thing that could be purposeful. The governor’s men left Oyo for Ibadan camp and the spokesman for the Aare was chief Maye. He explained Ibadan’s case that they were defending Oyo borders and that their connection with Ekiti and Ijesa was by invitation of the people. if they did not fight the war, their borders would be encroached upon. As in Oyo, a messenger and the emblem of the Aare were despatched to Lagos to convince the governor, though the Owa’s man was boastful. Since the seat of administration was in the gold coast, Lieutenant-Governor Griffiths briefed his boss, the Governor-General fully. The Governor-General dismissed rumours that the British government would annex the neighbouring country to Lagos and expressed his inability to dictate term to the belligerents. The attempt had failed. Then fighting continues unabated.

The Ijebu’s had increasedtheir menace of kidnapping at Isoya. Out of resentment for the imposition of Ayikiti as Ooni on Ife in 1877, although the Ifes were supposed to support the Ibadans, thier loyalty lay with the Ekitis. They actually revolted in 1882. But Modakeke, Gbongan, Ikire, Ipetumodu,Edun, Abon and Apomu did not join them. Although the Aare’s plan was for the Ifes and the people of Modakeke to settle theirdifferences and put to death the ring leaders of the Revolt, the Ifes demurred. With all the tact that the Aare employed to avoid an armed conflict, the Modakeke front had to be reinforced with armies under Akintola, Sanusi, Bamgbegbin and Aturu, because the loss of the town would weaken the rear of the Ibadan at Kiriji front. The magazines of the Ibadan’s too started to improve in stock. Aare’s son, Sanusi and Omosa, the daughter of late Ogunmola (for her nephew, Kongi), had purchased sneider rifles and some ammunitions. The strenuous effort of Rev. J.B. Wood to persuade the belligerents to agree on peace terms failed woefully because, while the Ekiti’s wanted the Modakeke’s to move from their present site and retain Igbajo, Ada, Otan and Iresi as part of Ijesa territory, Ibadan could not compromise their right in the regard. This was in 1884.

In 1885, Aare Latosisa died. He had been accused of the deaths of many young chiefs. The Ibadan’s were not convinced of the soundness of his statesmanship. His sons and slaves took licence and behaved in very irritating manner – stealing, confiscating and raping. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was when one of his slaves seized the food provision meant for Ajayi Osungbekun, the Seriki, from the letter’s messenger at Igbajo. The Seriki reported the insult, but instead the Aare only allowed the culprit to put up excuses for his affront. The Seriki, thus enraged, severed the head of the slave before the Aare. The other chiefs in attendance raised no objection and when the Aare sent money gift to the Seriki as a traditional message to convey to him that the Aare viwed the act as a usurpation of his authority, the Seriki did not show any regret, but accepted and kept the gift. Since the other chiefs did not put in a word of mediation, the Aare knew what would follow. He called Sanusi, arranged the settlement of affairs of his property and household; and then his demise was announced. In actual fact, there was very little fighting in 1885 and 1886. Aare’s bones were preserved and taken to Ibadan for burial. Early in life, he was kind and amiable. He was faithful to Ogunmola as a captain. He ate little and fed on dry food.

The leadership of Ibadan and the conduct of the war devolved on Ajayi Osungbekun who assumed the tittle of Balogun. He was able to direct the conduct of the war on the fronts: Ofa, Kiriji and Modakeke. The Ijebus under Ogunsigun were assisted by ex-Awujale’s men from Epe, but the whole of Ekiti Parapo alliance found adequate match in Akinola, Apampa and the Balogun.

In January 1886, captain A.C. Moloney took over the autonomous administration of Lagos and started his contributions to promote peace in the interior. He enlisted the services of Messrs Samuel Johnson and C. Phillip, both C.M.S. agents. These Reverend gentlemen were despatched separately to Ibadan and Ekiti camps with definite instructions and terms to negotiate. The governor, among other points, expected the belligerents:

  1. a) To make real effort to achieve peace as it characterised their relationship earlier;
  2. b) To suggested voluntarily willingness to suspend hostilities for about six months, i.e. an armistice.
  3. c) To be willing to give influential persons as hostages to any arbitrator appointed by (the British) government; and
  4. d) Should be able to place themselves to abide by the settlement the governor may make.

The Awujale objected to the governor’s message for coming to him through his Balogun at Oru camp; the Alaafin received the message without enthusiasm while he acted as if he was well disposed to the idea; but the Ibadan’s welcomed the peace move. The Ekiti’s, too agreed to the terms; and kind intercourses had ensured on account of the governor’s message between the two camps. The Ilorin’s response at Ofa was couched tersely that the Balogun on the battlefield should take a decision. The Balogun played to the gallery and instigated his Ekiti allies to oppose the idea of peace. In this he was assisted by earlier exchange of personnel. But some consensus had materialised between the Ibadan’s and Ogedengbe of Ilesa, and this was being nursed seriously.

The Ibadan’s suggested the belligerents should meet on the battlefield every with message from their war generals, as this would ensure the suspension of hostilities was not violated. A small ceremony of joining of hands of the messengers of the Alaafin, the governor, the Owa and those of the opposing sides and breaking of kolanuts was performed. The war generals of the sides were grateful to the governor for his intervention. The same messengers took the evidence of the Modakeke’s, too, to be placed before the governor.

The plan Rev. S. Johnson and C. Phillips adopted was to bring the envoys of the warring camps – Obas and chiefs- envoys represented Oyo, Ibadan, Ijebu, Ijesa, Ekiti, Ijebu and Ondo. On the basis of information from them, her majesty’s representative drew up a treaty which contained essentially an amplified form of the terms over which Rev. Johnson and Phillip were instructed to seek agreement, thus:

  1. a) The region should have peace;
  2. b) Ibadan and Ekiti confederation should respectively have independence;
  3. c) Ibadan should retain Otan, Iresi, Ada and Igbajo as part of their territory;
  4. d) The Alaafin’s relationship with the Owa should revert to independence;
  5. e) The Kiriji camps should be disbanded in a manner that would bring no ill-feeling or danger to anyone. The dissolution of camps should include Isoya, Modakeke and Ofa;
  6. f) The city of Modakeke should move elsewhere when and how the governor might decide after consultations with the Ibadans, Ifes and the Modakekes themselves
  7. g) The parties should covenant to promote peaceful trade and commerce, and eschew strife;
  8. h) That any outstanding disagreement would be referred to the governor at Lagos;
  9. i) That the belligerents would cease all war-like operations but promote peace in Isoya and Kiriji; and
  10. j) That the belligerents would be willing to hand over as hostages to the governor as many of their leading chiefs as the former would stipulate.

Between June and July 1886, this treaty was signed by representatives from Oyo, Ilesas, Ibadan, Otun, Ijero, Ido, Ife, Modakeke and Ijebu.

From the terms of the treaty and the salient nature of intervention assigned to the governor, an intelligent observer would note that the principal actors had bartered away their political independence, and were precipitously drawing the noose of colonialism on their necks!

We have seen that the signing of the peace treaty in June and July 1886 had reduced tension and hostility, a trend that brought armistice. Although governor A.C. Moloney went on leave, Mr. F. Evans, who officiated in his absence, appointed a few commissioners to supervise the execution of the terms of the treaty signed by the belligerents at Kiriji and elsewhere. This action included the signing of the proclamation of peace which disbanded the soldiers, burnt down the war camps and settled the little details that remained as differences. For instance, the issue of the removal of Modakeke became intractable with Ibadan’s support.

Several assignments contained in the mission of the commissioners impugned on the independences of the belligerents. For instance:

  1. a) Chiefs Mosaderin and Fakeye of Ibadan and aAsipa of the Ekiti Parapos were detained until the camps were broken up.
  2. b) Although this was socially desirable, immediately the Ekiti kings and the Owa were made to sign a treaty abolishing human sacrifice, they thereby lost the power to give capital punishment.
  3. c) the commissioners were supported by fifty Hausa soldiers each supplied with 50 rounds of cartridges for their martini henry rifles and the whole contingent was also reinforced by a 7-pounder gun and a rocket trough with adequate ammunitions. Thus, a force that the belligerents could not dismiss or conquer had been invited by themselves to a location which not only threatened their survival but had equipped the foreign operators for subversion of their independence. Chief Ogunsua of Modakeke put up every ruse not to meet the commissioner. His messages or arguments were presented by his other chiefs or Ibadan. The roles of Fabunmi and Ogedengbe were commendable and the same could be said of the Ibadan chiefs. They wanted peace, and in the main, they worked for it.

We must note that at the height of hostility between Ibadan and the Alaafin, and before the signing of the treaty, the Alaafin contemplated the invasion of Ibadan with the help of Saki and Borgu, but wiser counsel prevailed and the plan was dropped. The king of Busas invited the Alaafin to come to his assistance against the Gbari and the Saki army led successfully in the campaign.

An unhappy incident had occurred in the early 1880s. One Tela Agbojulogun, a prince, had escaped to Egbado, constituting himself into a rival authority in the neighbourhood. he diverted the tributes due to oba Adeyemi from Dahomey; and when challenged, he escaped to Aha where he got involved in the chieftaincy dispute of the head of aha town. in the race for the filling of the vacant stool of aha, Oba Adeyemi installed oyewumi, but his crown prince, supported by renegade Tela, had imposed one Adelakun in the post. the Alaafin then summoned Saki, Lawore, the Aseyin; and Oyo army under the Osi-Efa to crush the Revolt. Tela had enlisted the support of Tede people who stopped the Oyo army near river Awuja. The Aseyin narrowly escaped death while several of his allies ended up as captives in the defeat that folowed.

while the Alaafin had wanted peace between the Ibadans and Ekiti Parapo during the incessant raids of the Dahomeans, by early 1886, the French had extended their empire over Dahomey and the threat to Adeyemi’s dominion from the west had ceased. But Rev. Samuel Johnson continued his mediation and consultations; and by enlisting the services of Rev. D. Olubi and J.G. Wood, the agreement of the Alaafins and the intervention of the governor at Lagos were obtained. the Ilorin army did not allow any settlement in Ofa front.

The Alaafin was addressed ‘your majesty’ up to this point of Oyo history. The indifference of the Alaafin to the issue of peace could be discerned from the name of the Ilari (envoy) that persistently represented him in any negotiation on the issue for over fifteen years. Adeyemi always sent Obakoseetan, i.e., “the king’s efforts are inconclusive/incomplete”. The high degree to which protocol in relation to Alaafin’s dignity was adhered to could be seen in a little incident on 25 June, 1886, when the treaty of peace was signed. the governor’s envoys to the Alaafin, Mr. H. Higgins, wanted to dash to the Alaafin on the throne for a handshake; but before he could make a few steps forward, the princes and the courtiers – two huge Ilaris (Alaafin’s official messengers and envoys) – blocked his way and shouted on him: ‘Whiteman, please don’t dare it’. As the representative of the governor, Mr Higgins thought he could be so honoured. But the Alaafin is: ‘Iku Baba Yeye, Alase Ekeji Orisa’ (Death, the Absolute, Lord, Companion of the gods).

The treaty did not avail Ofa the necessary peace. The exchange of military contingents between Ogedengbe and Balogun the son-in-law of Basorun Ogunmola, was captured by the Ilorins, a repeat performance of how Ilori, the warrior’s son, was killed in Jalumi war. Kongi, the grandson, and Ilori’s son had to flee to Ikirun for safety. the insistence of Karara on war was based on the fact that he had offended the Emir and, therefore, he must show a sign of invincibility to terrify his lord.Karara was Ali Balogun’s son. Eventually, while Ibadan was unwilling to enter the war and Karara refusing Ogedengbe’s mediation, the continuation of the war in Ofa was imminent. But both Ibadan and Ogedengbe wished to withdraw their contingents safely.

By this time, the issue of filling Olofa’s deceased Olofa’s son was installed; but other Ofa people preferred his elderly uncle or a cousin. theOlofa headed all the kings in Ibolo province covering Iwo, Ede, Osogbo and their districts. Olofa Adegboye, his family, supporters and the Ibadan contingent were then secretly abducted to safety at Ikirun under the cover of night. The majority of these people eventually settled at Ofatedo. On hearing of the capitulation at Ofa, Karara and his Ilorin soldiers entered the city and slaughtered most of the important people. Ilorin then extended occasional military forays to Ikirun to embarrass the Ibadans.

We have noted that the treaty of cessation of hostilities signed by the parties to Ekiti Parapo war included the Alaafin. TheFrench occupation of Dahomey and the unruly behaviour of Ibadan to the Alaafin had jointly convinced the monarch that he should not seriously encourage peace that would disengage the Ibadans from a war that had taken them away from home and had made it impossible for them to scheme a design of domination for his throne. The intermittent tributes of slaves and loots from the Ibadans were also welcome.

Thus, when the Ilorins, returning via Oke-Ogun, were way-laid and robbed by the Ibadans in Egba territory, and with the sending of parts of the booty to the Alaafin, the Egbas complained to the governor at Lagos. To arrest the situation, the governor of the colony of Lagos got the Alaafin to sign another treaty in 1888 in which the king promised to promote peace and trade and eschew discriminatory import duties on goods entering the territory from the British traders.

Under Governor G.T.Carter in 1893, the end of Ofa front of Ekiti Parapo war was adjucated and another treaty was drafted which was designed to compromise the independence of Oyo, Ibadan and Ijebu. The Alaafin was made to sign the treaty on 3rd February, 1893, as sovereign authority for a greater part of the western bend of the Niger. The terms provided for:

  1. a) Freedom for the British to trade and own property;
  2. b) Alaafin’s positive effort to promote trade and protect missionaries;
  3. c) Stoppage of human sacrifice;
  4. d) Promotion of peace; and
  5. e) An obligation to deny association in form of treaties with other European powers.

Governor G.T.Carter included in the treaty the obligation of the British Government to pay the Alaafin two hundred pounds a year. The signatories were the Alaafin and the governor.

In 1895, Captian Bower had occasion to enforce the compliance of the treaty by the Alaafin. the Oba had punished one of his subjects for inducing one of Aseyin’s wives (Ayaba) to commit infidelity. Captain Bower was not pleased with the brutal treatment which subjected the culprit to a loss of maleness and the attempt of Alaafin’s men to rise up in arms with their dane guns. In November 1895, the Aafin was bombarded with rockets, principally to terrify the monarch: the trick worked. the Alaafin was struck by a missile from the gun and after five days in Owinni farm, he re-emerged in the Aafin for the final settlement which was both a reminder to keep the terms of the treaties and to acknowledge that his people and fellow heads of towns and cities had entered an era of loss of their age-long independence. Orders and interventions would have to issue and be welcomed respectively from the British officers at Lagos and elsewhere.

With the restoration of peace and abolition of both human sacrifice and slave trade, the country was set on a course of orderly progress in the field of education, commerce, agriculture and industry. Although, the railway lines which started from Lagos were extended into the interior, no line passed through Oyo town, but with Ibadan, only thirty-two miles away, the beneficial flip for the evacuation of the products of the area to the ports and the new imports that were changing both the taste of the individuals and the pattern of commerce at the turn of the 19th century.