Yoruba History

The Kiriji War (1877-1893)

A group of warriors during the Kiriji war
A group of warriors during the Kiriji war

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.

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)

The kiriji war also strengthened the conflict between Ife and Oyo settlers at Modakeke who supported Ibadan. Ife was later sacked by Modakeke with the help of Ibadan.

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.

Thanks for reading, OldNaija.com


  1. A Textbook Of West African History; E. Ola Abiola- May 1974
  2. Ogunniyi Morakinyo; Ekiti Parapo liberation war: (Kiriji War 1877-1886); Okemesi-Ekiti: Kayegbo Communications; 2006.
  3. 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/


  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. kiriji mean the sound of the British gun when British soldiers came to the war .their gun sound kiiriijiji kirijijii…..and another name for kiriji war is ekitiparapo war.thank you

      1. no that not correct…not brirish gun…kiriji mean is an ife yoruba words…which means storm cold war..

      2. it was son of samuel ajayi crowther who came and settle their fights..not cracker mouse foolani offspring british

    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)

    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!

  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.

  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.

      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. Am happy to have come across this….This epoch period is really worth celebrating most especially because it eventually unified the Yorubas.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. plz I want to know more about this war.. majorly the implications and dynamic on Yoruba nation.. thanks

  12. Thanks for the wonderful insights and clarifications. The story has generated a lot of debate and it will in turn deepen our knowledge about rich Yoruba history. Sharing knowledge is power!

  13. Kiriji War started in Okemesi Ekiti. The main promoter was Fabunmi, Okemesi. The picture you show here is that of Fabunmi Okemesi and not Ogedengbe. The group picture is also Fabunmi and his warriors. His picture used to be at Baba Owa House, Okerena Compound, Okemesi Ekiti.
    The Ajeles, That is the Ibadan agents in Okemesi had become uncontrollable. In one occasion, one of the Ajeles, had touched Fabunmi woman while going to the river to fetch water. As if that was not enough, few days later, the Ajeles had insisted going to the Igbo Ehinle, where the priestesses of Ehinle bath alone. Men were not allowed to enter the bush, but the Ajeles insisted to follow the women to the place.
    The information got to the town what the Ajeles were doing at Igbo Ehinle. Fabunmi mobilized some young men and got the Ajeles. There he cut the head of the lead Ajele and sent to Ibadan. This angered the Ibadan and sent “Aroko” to Okemesi to produce the head of FABUNMI in a calabash sent to the Oloja Oke of Okemesi. Fabunmi again cut the head of one of them and put in the calabash and sent to Ibadan. THAT WAS THE DELCARATION OF WAR!
    When the Ekiti warrior came to Okemesi, the did not believe that Fabunmi could lead the war because Ogedengbe who was captured by the Ibadan earlier had made covenant not to fight the Ibadan and so did not early respond to the clarion call from the Ekitis.
    At Ita-Ode, Okemesi Ekiti, Fabunmi then demonstrated his prowess and readiness to the Ekiti, when they were weary of qualified leadership. He hosted 200 pegs on the ground and shot his local dane gun. Each of the 200 pegs equally shot guns as if they were warriors! This convinced the Ekitis of Fabunmi ability to lead the war. he led them to Igbajo to meet the Ibadans.
    In one occasion, Fabunmi had offered his first daughter as sacrifice and used the blood to make “moimoi” for the warriors to eat! Fabunmi engaged the Ibadans and their general for long time before Ogedengbe agreed to join the war.
    FABUNMI, akatakoro, ganmuganmu kose lu oju ibembe, oko Aderin. (Fabunmi, a sharp object can not be use to beat the “Ibembe” drum, the husband of Aderin)
    OKEMESI, ibi okunrin ti raun oya. (OKEMESI, where men lament about their wives). That is when the Ekiti warriors, depert from Okemesi to Igbajo, some cried and lamented about their wives at home.

  14. my comment is more of a question I’ll like to know if they were by any chance female warriors in the Ekiti parapo or were they all men

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