The Kiriji War (1877-1893)

OgedemgbeKiriji Army

The Kiriji/Ekiti parapo war was a sixteen- year conflict that broke out mainly between Ibadan and the combined forces of Ekiti and Ijesha. According to Latisosa, “the kiriji war ended all wars in Yoruba land”. The Kiriji/Ekiti parapo war was inarguably the last and the most protracted war that plagued the Yoruba nation. The war broke out because of the unaccepted policies and type of administration Ibadan established after her significant role in the 1840 Osogbo war and her victory over the Ijayes in 1962 which indisputably pronounced her as the competent successor of old Oyo as the head of Yoruba land.

Ibadan had stationed its administrators in other parts of Yoruba land especially in Ekiti and Ijesha which upset the two towns who were not ready, like any other town, to accept Ibadan as the Yoruba head. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the suppressive way the administrators manhandled the towns. It was said that they harassed young men and had sexual affairs with the women. The Ekitis and Ijeshas who could no longer tolerate the immoral acts of the administrators killed many of them and waged war against Ibadan. Other Yoruba states soon join sides in the war. Egba and Ijebu joined in favour of the Ekitis and Ijeshas, and attacked Ibadan from the south, while the combined forces of Ekiti and Ijesha who allied with the Fulanis attacked Ibadan in the north. Ife also joined the war on the side of the Ekitis and Ijeshas. Ibadan alone was fighting five fronts.

On November 1 1878, Ibadan clashed with the allied forces of Ekiti, Ijesha and the Fulanis of Ilorin in the north east of modern day Osun state. The allied forces were seriously defeated and chased back to their camps. This encounter was known in history as ‘Ogun Jalumi’ (Battle of Waterloo) or the 1878 Battle of Ikirun.

Ibadan blockaded the Ekitis from transporting ammunitions through Ibadan land, but the latter soon discovered another route through Ondo from Lagos. “The Ondo road had been opened up by the British because of the frequent closure of other roads” (Akintoye, 1969). The kiriji war also strengthened the conflict between Ife and Oyo settlers at Modakeke who supported the Ibadans. Ife was later sacked by Modakeke with the help of the Ibadans.

It should be noted that ‘Kiriji’ was an onomatopoeic name given to the war from the thunderous sound of the cannons the Ekitis and Ijeshas, under the command of Ogedengbe, purchased in abundance which also gave them an advantage over Ibadan.

However, in 1886, Governor Carter started a peace move between the two dueling factions which was unfruitful in fact, until the British expedition on Ijebu in 1892 in which Ijebu fell to the British’s maxim guns and seven-pounder rockets. In 1893, Governor Carted was able to successfully impose peace on both warring sides. It was said that Governor Carter trekked all the way from Lagos to the camps of both sides in Igbajo and Okemesi where he persuaded both the Ibadans and Ekitis to return to their homes. They were made to sign a treaty which formally turned the mighty kingdom of the Yorubas into one of the British protectorates Britain skillfully annexed in West Africa.

* A Textbook Of West African History; E. Ola Abiola- May 1974

* Ogunniyi Morakinyo; Ekiti Parapo liberation war : (Kiriji War 1877-1886); Okemesi-Ekiti : Kayegbo Communications; 2006.

Image Credit:


40 thoughts on “The Kiriji War (1877-1893)

  1. Hahaha, what made me laugh is the source of the name of the war. Kiiriiji.
    Do kiiriji have any other meaning in Yorubaland?


  2. Mr Emeka, it also made me laugh too. Kiriji has no other meaning in Yorubaland. Its just an Onomatopoeia, a name from the cannons.
    On the other hand, if we study it carefully, kiriji can be used for “fear”. Thanks for visiting.


    1. Mr. Aladeyelu, are we (all)not Nigerians? and also, one has to know everything in his field and at least you need to know little or more of history of your area (I.e NIGERIA)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s sad to say “what concerns Igbo man with Yoruba history”. I’m not Yoruba but not only are we one Nigeria, your daughter, son or a any other relative will someday marry from there or vice versa and at that time it will more than concern you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi blog owner, do cross check the years in the post. I see 1978 where I believe you mean to write 1878. You also said the war ended in 1993 which I suspect you mean 1893.

    These errors go a long way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. when and where did these war took place because the elderly man that told us this story at ekiti parapo college ido did not tell us where the war took place.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am from Igbajo and I should be there this week after 16 years. I am definitely going with my HD camera to record as many videos and pictures of historical places.


  5. wao have being looking for this history,really helpful.kiriji is now the name of the high school in my hometown Igbajo.


  6. Ibadan had and has continued to be a city of war veterans.This war brought into limelight the might and splendour of Ibadanland.The only unconquered land in the Yoruba kingdom.


  7. I had to search all through google to read something about igbajo because I chose the school to go for HND. the fact that it’s the first tertiary institution in Africa interests me alot and will love it to be on my cv. I found this story interesting and I will like to visit that okuta mewa (10 rocks) as soon as I settle down in the school. thanks for sharing this sir


  8. Dear blogger,

    Nice attempt at depicting the Kiriji war of the 19th century hear. However, I must point out a few of your lapses for the better understanding by u all.
    1) Ogun Jalumi is not the “battle of Waterloo”. The correlation is by historians who are victims of the colonial mindset. Jalumi was so named because in their disorganized retreat from Ibadan onslaught, the Ekiti, Ijesha, Ilorin and allied forces lost many soldiers and auxiliaries to drowning in the Otin river in 1878. The real battle of Waterloo was the allied defeat of Napoleonic forces in the town of Waterloo, Belgium in Europe 63yrs prior! There is absolutely no correlation between both battles except the allusion to water!!
    2) Your short summary seem to misrepresent Ibadan’s situation in the ensuing civil war. A direct cause of the war was the Ilorin Fulani invasion of the former Oyo controlled territories after the fall of Oyo Katunga. Ibadan stood out as the only genuine force to stop the Fulani ambitions after the total sack of Ijaiye. Ibadan’s involvement in fighting Ilorin created an opportunity for Ijesha/Ekiti/Ila revolt which was covertly instigated by the Fulanis. Ibadan ended up fighting on 5 fronts and became vilified as the evil axis but we must note that at the end of the war, only Ijebu were invaded by the British. Needless to say that non of the parties to the war achieved their long term ambitions as they all ended up being subjugated by the British who became the biggest beneficiary of the war.


  9. i would like to thank you for the excellent word you have done here. Just so that you realise, your articles have been found very useful teaching aids for the children of Nigerians in the diaspora.


Kindly share your thought on this post. OldNaija love your comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s