The Jalumi war, also known as Ogun Jalumi or Battle of Ikirun was a bloody war fought by Ibadan on the side of Ikirun against the allied forces of Ilorin, Ila, Ekiti and Ijesha on November 1, 1878 in the northeastern part of modern day Osun State. The Jalumi war was among the 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 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 the armies returned on October 14, 1878, they were instantly dispatched 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 the two 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 Ikirun with his soldiers. He saw the condition of Ikirun and immediately began planning and working. He shared command with a co-warrior named Osi Ilori. The rebel forces attacked Ikirun in three groups. The Ilorins under Ajia attacked from the northeast; Ogunmodede and Ayimoro led the Ijesha armies and attacked from the east and camped in the town of Iba, while the Ekitis under Fabunmi Okemesi 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 fighting the Ilorins. Ogboriefon successfully defeated the Ilorins 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. The Fulanis were pushed into the river by the Ibadans and drowned en masse; thus the war was named Jalumi which literally means “drown in the river“. Hence the 1878 Battle of Ikirun was also called 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 warriors left Ikirun, there were some discussions/agreement”.
A water cannon monument marking the end of the Jalumi war is located at Odo Otin River bank in Inisa till today.
Thanks for reading,
* Johnson, Samuel; The History of the Yorubas: From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the British Protectorate [Accessed 2017-07-19]
* Omipidan, Teslim; OldNaija; Historical wars in Yorubaland [https://oldnaija.com/tag/historical-yoruba-wars/]
* Smith, Sydney, Robert; “Kingdoms of the Yoruba”; 3rd ed.; 1987; University of Wisconsin Press [Accessed 2017-07-18]