The Kiriji war, also known as Ekiti parapo war, was a sixteen-year war that broke out mainly between Ibadan and the combined forces of Ekiti and Ijesha.
According to Latoosa, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Ibadan “the kiriji war ended all wars in Yoruba land”. This war is unarguably the most protracted war that plagued the Yoruba nation.
Causes Of The Kiriji War/Ekiti Parapo War
The Kiriji war broke out because of the unaccepted policies and the type of administration Ibadan established after her significant role in the 1840 Osogbo war and her victory over Ijaye in 1962 which indisputably pronounced Ibadan as the competent successor of the fallen Oyo Empire.
Ibadan had stationed its administrators in other parts of Yoruba land, especially in Ekiti and Ijesha which upset both towns who were not ready, like every other town, to accept Ibadan as the stronghold of the Yoruba nation.
The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the ways the administrators handled 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 towns 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 fought five fronts.
On November 1 1878, Ibadan clashed with the allied forces of Ekiti, Ijesha and the Fulanis of Ilorin in the northeast of modern-day Osun state. The allied forces were 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 ammunition through her routes, 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)
How Kiriji War Got Its Name
It should be noted that ‘Kiriji’ was an onomatopoeic name given to the war. This was derived from the thunderous sound of cannons the Ekitis and Ijeshas, under the command of Ogedengbe, purchased in abundance. These cannons gave them advantage over Ibadan.
However, in 1886, Governor Carter started a peace move between the two dueling factions which was unfruitful 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 Ibadan and Ekiti army to return to their homes.
They were made to sign a treaty which formally turned the mighty Yoruba nation into one of the British protectorates Britain skillfully annexed in West Africa.
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- 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.
- Omipidan, T. O. (2019a, January 6). Jalumi War of 1878 (Battle of Ikirun). OldNaija. https://oldnaija.com/2017/07/21/jalumi-war-of-1878-battle-of-ikirun/