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Idanre hill is presently the most popular tourist centre in Ondo State. The site has been accorded topmost by the state government in her tourist development programs since the year 1998 to date. The hills divide Idanre into two segment namely old settlement at the top of the hills while the new settlement is at the base of the hills, it is about 3000 feet above sea level

The historic town of Idanre was formerly located on the hilltops, where the people lived for about 800 to 1000 years. The town was later relocated to the base of the hills on the 14thday of October 1928 with about 11,648 people. The town relocated as a result of reduction in inter-tribal wars and a need to expand their territory and have access to modernization

The hills are awe-inspiring, it offers a beautiful view of Idanre settlement down the hills. “Oke Idanre” consists of unique peculiarities, ancient wonders and beliefs, various attractions to tourists. This includes

  1. “Ibi Akaso” The Steps
  2. The 17th Century Kings Palace.
  3. Strange written words on the rock
  4. Intriguing ‘Agboogun’ footprints on the rock.
  5. The wonderful mat
  6. “Omi Aopara” Aopara Water
  7. 7. Arun River
  8. Guest Chalets which once served as accommodation to the colonial masters

The ancient king’s palace is believed to have been built in the seventieth century. The palace commands unique features, which possesses architectural value. Within the palace are the ancient clangs and designs of various types which symbolize customs and culture of ldanre people and the Yoruba at large. The footprint of a great ruler of ldanre known as “Oba Agboogun” is also on the top of the hill.

The Oba then invoked his power into the foot on soft eruption (Lava flow). This left behind a footprint on the rock. It is widely believed that any size of foot, either big or small is bound to be accommodated by the print (it is believed that when any put your foot, it automatically becomes your size of foot). It is believed that the footprint changes invisibly in shape and size but anyone whose foot could not be accommodated in the footprint are categorised as either a witch or wizard. The position of this print on the hills is not easy to locate. The writing on the rock is strange and clumsy that no one has ever understood it’s meaning, even when it is conspicuous. In the recent time, those letters are becoming invisible to the naked eye. It was also gathered that Archaeologist believed that the writing must have taken place before the eruption. This is a symbol widely believed by the people of Idanre to be the famous Ark of Noah in the Bible. History is yet to ascertain or denies the authenticity of this believe. However, the awe inspiring object is fascinating enough to attract first time visitors for a second visit to the tourist centres.

Idanre Hills as generally known has provided shelter for the people of Idanre for over 800 years, however Western civilization was introduced to the ancient city when a team of missionaries led by Rev. Gilbert Carter arrived in the year 1894. The missionaries built the first primary school in the year 1896 of which the clay building still stands strong till this day and has been affirmed by UNESCO as a valuable place of tourism rich in culture. Idanre hills have being a source of income to individuals and employments to many people.

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Adubi was of 1918 was fought in Egba land, it is to this end that it is imperative to have a quick view “who are the Egba?” and how they have emerged, thereafter the fore happenings that resulted into the war.

The Egba people are a subgroup of the Yoruba People, an ethnic group resident in present day western Nigeria, a majority of whom form the central part of present day Ogun State. Prior to colonial economic dominance, the Egba engaged in blacksmithing, carpentry, and cloth dyeing.


However, the Egba having a trace to Yoruba linage proves a trace of origin to Ile-Ife and Oyo Empire respectively, by 1800 Oyo Empire was beginning to wane in prominence, different happenings among the vassal state breaking off from the central (Oyo Empire). A warrior named Lishabi played a prominent role to the secession of Egba away from Oyo Empire. Thus having their independence.  Furthermore, it is expedient to note the idea of a paramount ruler for the Egba people, was not so from beginning. The Egba people operated semi-autonomous small states who operated their government separately. Thus, the idea of a paramount chief in the land of Egba was a later development. The paramount ruler is known as Alake.

Lekan (1999), stipulated that “to fit-in into the colonial administrative structure of indirect rule by 1914 established by Lugard, the British showed their true friendship with our grand and great grandparents by merging our sovereign land with the rest of a country called Nigeria thus ended our independence. This period coincided with the First World War 1914, which was mainly between European and British affair but our men lost their lives too. Local wars took place in Egba and coincidentally about the same time the Ijemo massacre in 1914”, it also coincide with the period of Nigeria Amalgamation and indirect rule (See indirect Rule). The need for a single paramount ruler to ease government for the administration of Lord Lugard was thus a necessity, and the chief reason for the merging of this autonomous Egba states that had operated independently to be one. However, Toyin (2009) posit that prior to 1914, a treaty signed by the governor of Lagos and Egba chiefs in 1893 granted the Egba semi-autonomy under the Egba United Government. Egba authorities were not able to contain the protests at the merger by 1914. Hence, invited troops from Lagos for assistance, which resulted to Ijemo Massacre. Lives were lost, this violent outburst resulted in the Egba losing their independence to the British colonial government.

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In no time space after four years the Adubi War came up, it’s also referenced to as Ogun Adubi or Egba Uprising came up, this was a conflict in June and July 1918 in the British Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria ostensibly because of the imposition of colonial taxation on the people of Egba, which has been the purpose behind the merging of these autonomous Egba states. Direct taxes were introduced by the colonial government along with existing forced labour obligations and fees, this lead to revolts by the Egbas and on 7th June 1918, the British government had arrested 70 Egba chiefs and issued a decree that all resisters should lay down their arms, pay the taxes and obey the local leadership.

On 11 June, some sets of soldiers, recently returned from East Africa and were brought in to help police the area and keep the peace. On 13 June, Egba rebels pulled up railway lines at Agbesi and derailed a train in respect to the abnormal tax placed on them by the Colonial government. Other rebels demolished the train station at Wasinmi and murdered a British agent; the Oba Osile. Hostilities between 30,000 rebels and colonial troops continued for about three weeks at Otite, Tappona, Mokoloki and Lalako but by 10 July 1918, the rebellion had been put down and the leaders killed or arrested.

About 600 people were killed, including the British agent and the Oba Osile. The incident led to the abolition of Abeokuta independence. British soldiers who repressed the revolt were also honoured with a medal.

1. Lekan O.A (1999) “In Search Of Justice (Events in Egba History”), To Mark the 10th Year Coronation of Kabiyesi Alaiyeluwa Oba Adewale Adedapo Tejuoso
2. Toyin. F et Ann. G (2009) “historical dictionary of Nigeria”, Published by Scarecrow Press, Inc. U.S.A


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The Real Story Behind Kiriji War



Kiriji as a term is not native to the Yoruba speaking people, from the perspective of its epistemology . It was said to have been derived from the onomatopoeic booming of the cannons echoed by the rocky terrain of the war field; the cannons which were acquired by the Ekiti Saro merchants in Lagos through their trading with the Europeans.

The Kiriji war was researched to be the first civil war among the Yorubas to herald the usage of weapons of precision, such as the cannons. It’s been a war of bow and poisoned arrows; cutlasses and swords with knives and black power in the previous battles.

It is generally believed that a war is staged to solve issues, or display superiority over another entity; issues being power, people or economy. It had sometimes been wife or gods that had caused the issue of war in some cases. But oft times, otherwise is the case, as it brews more intractable problems than it intended solving.

According to E. A. Ayandele, “the Kiriji war can not be analyzed in isolation, seeing that the Ijaye war (1860-1865) broke out partly because the Owu war (1820-1827) had settled nothing but brewed more problems, just as the first world war. The following problems remained unresolved after the wars before the Kiriji war: The Egbas had strengthened there war fort through contact with the Europeans; There was no edifice to replace the traditional Old Oyo Empire; The Egbas were partly dismembered and dislodged from their original homes; The emergence of Ijaye and Ibadan from the defunct Oyo empire changed the political map of the Yorubaland. The Kiriji war in turn acquired the problems not settled by its predecessors. There were a number of other fresh problems created in sequel to the previous wars. The principal of which was: the Irredentist movement among the educated Egbas and Ijebus to free their fatherland from the imperial yoke of Ibadan. What can be said to be the major cause of the war: the Kiriji war which many historians refered to as the longest civil war ever fought by an ethnic group in the world was a major dispute between the Ibadans and the Egbas. This made the formal declare a war that would stop subsequent civil wars in the Yorubaland.

Following the account of Johnson; the Oyo historian in his popular book titled History of the Yorubas It can be deduced that the Owu and the Ijaye wars were preludes to the Kiriji war. Many historians hold the fact that the Kiriji war was a war of revenge by the enslaved-librated Egbas and Ekiti people. Quoting an online source, the writer upholds that “The Kiriji war was a decisive war that prevented the Ijeshas and the Ekitis from being subjugated by Ibadan bullies” the source claimed that excesses of the Ajele (District Officer) from Ibadan in Ijesha/Ekiti territory was too much to bear. This led to the fierce killing of the Ajeles and the establishment of an alliance called Ekiti Parapo (confederate of Ekiti), to challenge the suzerainty and hegemonistic stance of Ibadan.

A reliable source by Johnson and Ayandele (in 1978) gave the straight cause for the war: “the Ibadans who were denied unrestricted access to Lagos by the Egbas were importing ammunitions from Porto Nono. Then, the Egbas that had denied trading ammunitions with them interfere with her convoy. In 1877, the Ibadans exercised patience until a convoy carrying a large number of ammunitions had arrived successfully in Ibadan. The latter then attacked the Egbas settlements. Both states began to waylay each other in farms and highways.” In concise, Johnson’s account relates the cause to The Are Onakakanfo (the Imperial commander). He was the stir behind the war. He ordered the war on these three casus belli:

• That they (the loyal neighbors) only performed an act of loyalty to the king by sending to Porto Novo to bring home ammunitions the king had bought there, when the Egbas refused to sell to them.

• They never trespassed on Egbas’ territory, nor gave any cause of offense to any, yet the Egbas resented their action by closing their roads against the Oyos forbidden all trade and intercourse with them.

• Hundreds of our people who went to Abeokuta for trading had been kidnapped and sold into slavery which alone gave us the right to demand redress.

Upon the declaration of this, an ambassador called Leasu was sent by the Egbas. He rather aggravated the problem my disrespecting the Aare Ona kakanfo.

Upon the declaration of this, an ambassador called Leasu was sent by the Egbas, rather aggravating the problem by disrespecting the Are Onakakanfo.

In order not to analyze this war out of focus, it is pertinent we communicate that it was not the entire Yoruba land that participated in these wars. Taking note of the three major was: the Owu war of 1820 – 1827; the Ijaye war of 1860 – 1865 and the Kiriji war of 1877 – 1893 everything making a total of 28years. The Ondos and the Mahins did not participate in the wars. The Ekitis and the Ijesas did not involve themselves in the first two wars, while the Oke Oguns and the Egbados were passive spectators in the wars.

On the personality of the warlords: Ogedengbe – Agbogungboro – Adikakaka L’ojuogun, the Seriki Meyaki of Ijesalasnd and the Generalissimo of the Ekiti parapo (Ekiti Confederate), it’s the same person that is being referred to be different titles. His skill and bravery at war earned him this, though his full name being Saraibi Ogedengbe. He was a man of valour who saved his people from the suzerainty of Ibadanland. He was said to have been sold as a slave to Ibadan, where he got his military training. Eventually, he came back home to be the hero of his fatherland.

Latoosa was the Are Ona Kakanfo of the then Ibadan. He was the warrior who declared the war on the Egbas on what he termed “the war that will halt every other war” in the Yorubaland. It was believed that he usurp the “Kakanfo” title by might over right.

The Kiriji war was fought in different fronts simultaneously, Ibadan faced the Ekiti Parapo in the east. In the south it faced the Egbas and the Ijebus. The Ilorins joined the Fulanis in the north while Ife joined the war in 1882

The war lasted 16 years, from 1877-1893. An armistice was signed by all the Yoruba kings on September 23rd 1886. It is believed to be the end of epic wars in the Yoruba land.

This war did not only bring desolations and disorderliness on the Yoruba land, there were some positive development brought by the war: there was increase in commercial activities with the Europeans; it brought about the making of path across the coasts by foreign observers; the appetite of the Yorubas for European products in return for theirs increased; improvement and development of rivers and roads to increase commercial activities. It equally makes us understand the complexity of the Yoruba political power; the diplomatic skill of the leaders; the unbound ambition of individuals and dedication to community freedom; with the sanctity of immemorial customs and traditions to the Yoruba people.

Source:- TheLifCaf

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The Oyo Empire had a centralized and well organized political system of government, the head of the political structure was Alafin, who was regarded as semi divine and next to the gods in theory, but in reality the Oba had no absolute or complete power, the Ilari served as civil service in charge of central administration, palace officials include Osi-efa (minister of finance) while Otun-efa (chief priest) Ona-efa (chief justice)

The system of government in Oyo was based on the principle of separation of power and checked and balance, next to the Alafin who was the paramount ruler, was a group of 7 elders or council of chiefs called the Oyo-Mesi which is headed by the Bashorun (prime minister), these body of seven made decision on most matters affecting the state, they are the king makers, who elected a new king, they could also force a king whose action was not satisfactory to commit suicide, by presenting to him an empty calabash and with the pronouncement “the gods rejects you, the earth rejects you, the people rejects you”

Next was the Ogboni cult headed by the Oluwo, just as the Oyomesi checked the excesses of the Alafin, likely the Ogboni acted as check on the Oyo-Mesi, this is because any decision on important matter or removal of the king must be sanction by the Ogboni, it should however be noted that the Ogboni institution was not initially in place but was later introduced to act as check on the excesses of the Oyo Mesi, when the institution started to portray unconstitutional acts, by disposing Alafin’s at will e.g Bashorun Gaha. More so one of the Oyomesi had to die with the Alafin, this acted as a check on the Oyomesi, and members of the Ogboni cult, were drawn from representatives from the various lineages. The Ogboni offers sacrifices for peace and acted as a middle man between the king and the chiefs.


  • OYOMESI; administration
  • OGBONI; religious

The Eso was the next, the Eso was a war council consisting of many army captains, and it is headed by the Are-ona Kankan-ofo. The Eso served as another check on the Oyo-Mesi and the Alafin, as it could refuse to carry out wars, e.g Kankan-ofo Afonja and Alafin Awole, concerning attack on Ewere ile in Ife the maternity home of Alafin Abiodun and on Apomu Market.

However to check the Are-ona Kankan-ofo not to hijack power, he is not to reside in the capital town with the Alafin but to stay at the outskirt of the town, also he is expected to win all war, in face of defeat at war he must not return to the EMPIRE. The Age grades comprises of people born at the same period (peer), they also help in enforcement of law, they acted like modern day police, and carry out community development project building, road and market constructions.

The vassal provinces and villages were govern by Iyaloja and Baale, who are responsible to the Alafin and who were elected among their own people, they pay tribute to the Alafin, settle minor cases among their subject and refer serious cases to the Alafin at the centre.

Question: – 

  • The Oyo political system was based on the system of check and balances discuss”
  • Discuss the vitality of the political system of Oyo Empire in relations to contemporary Nigeria Democracy.


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