OSOGBO WAR OF 1840:
After the Fulanis systematically captured Ilorin via the treason of AFONJA,the field Marshal of the Oyo Empire,the Fulanis together with Malian and Hausa immigrants made Ilorin their territory. They had immense assistance from some Yoruba Ilorin Muslims which led to the sacking of the old Oyo Empire in 1835.
For Administrative reason,the fleeing Oyo citizenscrelocated the Oyo administrative centre from Oyo Ile to the present Oyo Ago. The Alaafin devolved the military power of Oyo army to the hands of Garrison commander like Ogunmola,Kurumi,Timi and Soun.
The Fulanis had sworn to dip the sword of Jihad in to the Atlantic ocean and they were still not satisfied with their victory; they wished to extend their rules deep in to the heart of Yoruba land and annex the whole coastal cities of Yoruba land in to Sòkòtò caliphate: Thus in 1840,they set to capture Osogbo,a Yoruba town.
The Fulanis,under the commander of Ali,the Hausa Balogun of Ilorin,laid siege on Osogbo.
The Fulanis got help from Sòkòtò caliphate and other Arab/Tuareg mercenaries from across the Sahel. The major war agenda of Sòkòtò caliphate was to destroy Oyo mornachy and civilization completely before destroying all other Yoruba Kingdom for total subjugation just as the way they destroyed the Hausa civilization.
The Fulanis army could not pass through Ogbomosho axis and Oke Ogun axis because the Ogbomosho army led by the Soun and Kurumi Ajadi of Ijaye had blocked and sealed off that route making it impossible for them to launch any attack from the rear.
When the King of Osogbo realized that the Ilorins were too strong for the Osogbo army,he summoned the Ibadans for help. Ibadans immediately sent some auxilliaries to Osogbo under the command of Obele alias Mobitan,and Alade Abipagun. As this force could not stop the Ilorins,another contingent was sent to Osogbo under a more experienced leader. But still the Ilorins won every battles and gained more ground.
The Fulanis controlled Osogbo for two years before the Oyo army led by Ibadans came to the battle field.
When the Ibadans realized that the Ilorins were becoming more threatening to Yoruba land,they sent a very large and stronger force under Balogun Oderinlo to crush the intruding force and Jammah of Ilorin.
When Oderinlo and his men arrived at the battle field,they realized that things had gone worse than they thought.
They could not show their faces in the open field for the fear of the Ilorin horses,and for about twenty days,after their arrival at Osogbo,they could not fight outside the town thickets. Oderinlo suggested that Elépo,a brave Ibadan warrior was badly needed at the war front.
Elépo had been rejected by the war chiefs of Ibadan for his actions at the late Agbamaja expedition.
As soon as the message from Oderinlo reached Ibadan,the Bashorun wished he could send Elépo to Osogbo but could not go against the wishes of other war chiefs. The Bashorun gave Elépo a cow to worship his God,Ori, and prayed for the victory of Ibadan at the war front.
At the war front,the Ibadan could not attack the Ilorins during the day because Osogbo was practically in a plain and Ilorin horses might have advantage of them with disastrous results.
They decided to attack at dust when the Ilorins would no longer be able to use their horses. About 2pm,the well prepared Ibadan army left the gate of Osogbo for the battle field. They were to keep a strict watch and arrest anyone suspected to be a spy.
About a mile from the Ilorin’s camp,they halted and arranged the order of the attack.
The Osogbo army and the earlier auxilliaries were to handle the centre of the battle field, chief Abitiko and Labuju were to command the right wing, Balogun Oderinlo and the rest of the Ibadan war chiefs were to form the left wing of the army. The Ilorins camp were then attacked at the midnight. The watchword was “Elo ni Owo Odo” (How much is the ferry fare?).
The reason this watchword was chosen was because the river Osun had to be crossed in entering Osogbo from the South,and anyone who could not tell this was likely to be an enemy.
Stampede engulfed the Ilorin camp as the Ibadan army set it on fire.
The Ilorins could not offer the slightest resistance; they were smoked with the gunpowders of the Ibadan guns, thousands of the Sòkòtò caliphate soldiers were slaughtered that day and thousands sold in slavery.
This attack was successful for the Ibadans. Some Ilorin war chiefs were captured in the attack. Prominent ones were:
(1) Jimba,the head slave of the Emir;
(2) One of the sons of Ali,the commander in chief.
(3) Chief Lateju
(4) Ajikobi,the Yoruba Balogun of Ilorin.
The first two were released while the latter two being Yorubas by birth were regarded as traitors and were executed. This was a huge victory for the whole of Yoruba land.
After the Osogbo victory,Ibokun and Ijesha towns not far from Osogbo was taken by the Ibadan for being an ally of Ilorin. The Ibadan accused the Ijeshas,Ekitis and the India for giving the Fulanis free passage for their army and infantry in attacking another Yoruba towns. The Ibadan then placed Ajeles on this Yorba enclaves for the roles they played during Osogbo war.
The violent imposition of Ajele on Yoruba Kingdom led to the Ekiti Parapo civil war several years later.👇
Aare Kurumi Kakanfo.