The Jalumi war, also known as Ogun Jalumi and Battle of Ikirun, was a bloody war fought by Ibadan and Ikirun against the allied forces of Ilorin, Ila-Orangun, Ekiti and Ijesha on the 1st of November, 1878, in the northeastern part of modern-day Osun State.
The Jalumi war was one of many devastating civil wars that plagued the Yoruba nation in the 19th century. Others are: Osogbo war, Ekiti parapo/Kiriji war, Ibadan-Ijaye war e.t.c.
In June 1878, Ikirun, a town in modern-day Osun State, called for the help of Ibadan to join her in fighting the armies of Ekiti, Ijesha, Ila-Orangun and the Fulanis of Ilorin who had laid siege on Ikirun. Ibadan was unable to send her armies immediately because they went on an expedition to Meko, a town in modern-day Ogun State.
When Ibadan army returned on October 14, 1878, they were instantly deployed to Ikirun under the command of Balogun Ajayi Ogboriefon who was ordered to reach Ikirun within five days. Ibadan armies marched to Ikirun but had a tough time crossing the Oba and Osun rivers because it was rainy season and the rivers were full.
Many Ibadan soldiers drowned while crossing both rivers. The allied forces of Ekiti and Ijesha, (ekiti-parapo) Ila-Orangun and Ilorin had chased the Ikirun armies to their town walls and were gradually winning the war.
On the 31st of October, 1878, Balogun Ogboriefon eventually arrived in Ikirun with his soldiers. He saw the condition of Ikirun and immediately began planning and working. He shared command with another warrior named Osi Ilori.
The Jalumi War
The rebel forces attacked Ikirun in three groups. Ilorin (under Ajia’s command) attacked from the northeast. Ogunmodede and Ayimoro led the Ijesha armies and attacked from the east while Ekiti (under Fabunmi Okemesi’s command) and the Ilas (under Prince Adeyala) lurked nearby.
The battle began on November 1st, 1878. The rebelling forces advanced on Ikirun. Osi Ilori took his army towards the east to fight the advancing Ijeshas while Balogun Ogboriefon fought the Ilorins, Ilas and Ekitis. The Ijeshas defeated Osi Ilori and his soldiers and captured him alive.
The survivors retreated to the walls of Ikirun and reported their defeat to Balogun Obgoriefon who quickly attacked and tactically defeated the Ijesha force. He then returned to his previous position where he was fighting Ilorin. Ogboriefon successfully defeated the Ilorin army and drove them out of their camp, but he was too late, Osi Ilori had already been killed.
He completed the victory by defeating the Ilas and Ekitis. Ibadan soldiers chased the Ilorin survivors to Inisa, a town between Ofa and Ikirun. When news reached the people of Ofa that the Ilorins were retreating towards Inisa, they cut the bridge across the Otin River in the rear and left the retreating Fulanis of Ilorin devastated.
Ibadan army pushed the Fulanis into the river and drowned en masse, thus the war was named Jalumi which literally means “hit the river“. In history, this war is also called the 1878 Battle of Ikirun or Battle of Waterloo.
After the war, Ibadan armies stationed in Ikirun but left after an agreement between Ikirun and Ibadan. This birthed the statement “Kí ogun ó tó kúrò ní Ìkìrun, ọ̀rọ̀ ló tẹ́lẹ̀” which means “Before war left Ikirun, there was an agreement”.
A water cannon monument marking the end of the Jalumi war stands at Odo Otin riverbank in Inisa till date.
Thanks for reading, OldNaija.com
- Johnson, Samuel; The History of the Yorubas: From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the British Protectorate
- Omipidan, Teslim. (2018). Historical wars in Yorubaland. OldNaija. https://oldnaija.com/tag/historical-yoruba-wars/
- Smith, Sydney, Robert; “Kingdoms of the Yoruba”; 3rd ed.; 1987; University of Wisconsin Press