How a War fought for 16 years ended all Wars in Yorubaland

The Ekiti Parapo, also known as the Kiriji war, was fought in the 1800s in Yoruba land. The War which was fought for 16 years was between Ibadan against Ekiti and Ijesa.

The War started as a result of the revolt against the growing oppressive overlordship of Ibadan over parts of Yorubaland. Ibadan arose as the leader of Yoruba states after the fall of the Old Oyo Empire. And similar to all powerful terrories, Ibadan expanded its territories by lording over neighbouring states in Yorubaland.

In controlling these territories conquered by Ibadan, administrators known as “Ajeles” were appointed to rule on behalf of Ibadan in these territories. However, as time went on, these Ajeles abused their powers, and became power drunk, making unreasonable demands.

According to historical sources, these Ajeles sexually assaulted women of the vassal states. This escalated the growing opposition to Ibadan’s stronghold over some Yoruba territories.

The Ekiti and Ijesha who had grown tired of the despot administrators killed many of these Ajeles as well as Ibadan soldiers. The Ekiti and Ijesha formed an alliance, Ekiti Parapo declaring independence from Ibadan. Ibadan would not let this slide in order to prevent other terrories from breaking away and preventing their goal of a Centralized united Yoruba land controlled by them.

Thus, the Ekiti Parapo war began in 1877. The war is also referred to as Kiriji war because of its onomatopoeic sound of the guns (Kiriji from the sound made by the guns.

The Ibadan army at the start of the war was led by Latoosa. The Ibadan army had allies such as Modakeke and Offa and other forces on her side, while the Ekiti-Ijesa alliance included Ekiti, Ijesa, Ife and others.

In 1878, during the Jalumi War, Ibadan won the battle against the Ekiti allied forces (Ekiti, Ijesha, Ilorin and others). The aftermath of the Jalumi war saw Ekiti and Ijesa form a confederacy known as Ekiti Parapo.

Ekiti Parapo later got assistance from the likes of Lagos, Ijebu and Egba who saw Ibadan as a common enemy. It is important to note the contribution of Ogedengbe the legendary commander of the Ekiti Parapo army.


Ogedengbe, General of the Ekiti Parapo Army

Ibadan fought on five fronts, against the Ijebu; the Egba; the centre of the war against Ijesha and Ekiti; against Ilorin; and against Ijebu. However, these five fronts were not strong enough to defeat Ibadan overwhelmingly.

The 16-Year ended in 1893 when Governor Carter waded into the conflict and ended the stalemate conflict. Carter was said to have trekked all the way from Lagos to the camps of warring sides in Igbajo and Oke mesi.

According to Latoosa, the Kiriji war “ended all wars in Yorubaland.” It is important to note that many sources claim that the Kiriji war is the longest civil war in history.

Orim Promise

Posted Aug 30th, 2020



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