Our History

HISTORY OF AARE LATOSA AND HIS VICTORIES

Introduction

Are Latosa was not born rich, but through the dint of hardwork he became wealthy. He was not born a soldier, but yet he attained the highest rank in the force as the Are Onakakanfo. Are Latosa was a motivator and Leader of his own people whether at home as Bale of Ibadan and at the war front as Are Onakakanfo. His death marked the closing of a chapter in Yoruba History as regards war and slavery. the whole of Yoruba would forever remember that great war Lord who made history.

Two rulers of Ibadan came from the Latosa’s family. One was Are-Latosa himself and the other was Bale Situ, who was deposed in 1925 and banished to Saki where he died. They are called Oke Are in Ibadan was named after Are Latosa. The descendants of Are Latosa are scattered all over the federation and abroad. Aare Latosa was brave and courageous; he was a very powerful man. Today, part of the charms is still at the very location at which he left them before going to the Kiriji war.

Aare Latosa’s remains was brought to Ibadan and buried in a bush outside Ibadan as the custom was for the burial of all Are Onakakanfos. Expansion and civilisation of Ibadan has now turned this area to a very popular area of Ibadan township called Bodija. A building now stands on Aare Latosa’s grave in Bodija area of Ibadan and his descendants are planning to turn the spot into a tourist attraction. Aare Latosa was more of an Aare Onakakanfo that a Bale. He loved war and war in return brought him riches in material and human form. Despite some of his failures he was a successful warrior. His ‘achievement’ as Administrator and Bale of Ibadan was an issue to be debated. The strength of the Ibadan army is based on the relationship between Aare Latosa, his war-chiefs and the troops. A cordial relationship was lacking and this weakened the army.(

Aare Latosa’s regime

marked the darkest period in the History of Ibadan and was almost as dark as the period in Yoruba history when the old Oyo kingdom collapsed. The period was gloomy, characterised by wars, bloodshed, civil disturbances and general depression in Ibadan. Yet out of this gloomy period, a new age of progress was born. Aare Latosa’s regime also illustrated the peculiarity of the character of the average Ibadan person who cannot and will not tolerate any form of dictatorship. Even now, Ibadan people still resist with all their might, any sign of dictatorship or autocracy or any measure which appears to them to be arbitrary. It is pertinent to say that the life of Aare Latosa was an eventful one. He was hero in life and death. Whatever his omissions and commissions, he was a shining star among his own people and even beyond.

Jalumi war

Jalumi war was also fought during the reign of Are Latosa in Ibadan. It was a war involving warriors from Ilorin, Ekitiparapo and Ibadan. Are Latosa himself did not take part in the war but he sent his emissaries under the leadership of Balogun Ajai Ogboriefon. Ajayi was assisted by Osi Balogun. Ilori Ogunmola. Before the troops left Ibadan, Are Latosa himself had caused disaffection among his lieutenants. This he did by planning his private army and the private army of the late Seriki Iyapo under the command of Osi Balogun Ilori instead of the rightly chief, Balogun Ajayi Ogboriefon. During the war, the Ibadan troops did everything possible in stopping the enemies from escaping. In describing the incident, Rev Samuel Johnson wrote in his book, “In an effort to escape from the fury of Ibadan troops who were hotly pursuing them, the fleeing Ilorin troops rushed headlong into the swollen river Otin; gave the name “Jalumi war”. Both the Ilorin and Ekitiparapo were defeated at the Ikirun or the Jalumi war. Ekitiparapo consisted of the Ekitis. Ijesas and the Ilas. The defeat of the Ekitiparapo troops at the Jalumi war did not dampen their spirit to free themselves from the domineering control of Ibadans. Ekitiparapo recruited more men to enable face Ibadan troops in another combat.

Several conquests

Several wars were fought during the reign of Aare Latosa and the death of many noble men were recorded. There were also several disturbances in Ibadan as well. According to an author, kemi Morgan, in one of her researches on the history of Ibadan she wrote “some historians have suggested a reason for the state of unrest which prevailed in the Yoruba territory at the time of Are Latosa. They said that wars, civil disturbances and bloodshed always occurred during the reign of any Are Onakakanfo. A military head. They also said that the reign of an Are Onakakanfo usually marked the end of an era in the nation’s history, and the examples of Afonja of Ilorin and Kunrunmi of ijaye were cited. Efunsetan Aniwura was an Egba woman who had settled permanently at Ibadan where she made her home. She even attained the highest chieftaincy title for a woman, Iyalode of Ibadan. She was wicked, cruel, pompous, domineering and self-centred. It was during Aare Latosa’s regime that a final stop was put to all her atrocities. Ibadan people demonstrated against her several times for her evil deeds. Two of her slaves with backing of the power that be, battered her to death to the delight and happiness of all. This was one of the achievements of Aare Latosa. As a result of his dictatorial attitude, Are Latosa’s Chiefs and troops frustrated him during the kiriji war, losing all battles deliberately to the annoyance of Aare Latosa and Sanusi, His son. This delierate frustrating attitudes of the Chiefs continued until Aare Latosa died in Ibadan camp during the Kiriji war on the 11th of August 1885. They planned to attack Ikirun once more and Are Latosa made the mistake of sending Seriki Ajayi Osungbekun to lead a small force to defend the town instead of the whole of Ibadan troops to defend Ikirun. Ekitiparapo requested Ogedengbe to lead them against Ibadan but he declined initially. He had previously vowed not to fight Ibadan again. The main title of Ekiti Leadership then fell on Fabunmi of Imesi-Ile.

Both the Egbas and Ijebus supported Ekitiparapo; Ogedengbe also later led the Ekitiparapo troops after much persuasion. At first Are Latosa did not go to the war front for this Kiriji war, instead him and his family were back home having fun. While his Chiefs and troops were undergoing a lot of problems, he was at home relaxing with his first son, Sanusi. Aare Latosa’s warriors sent a message asking him to send his children to them at the war front to share their experience. Aare Latosa realised that by asking him to send his son, His Chiefs were indirectly asking him to come. He therefore sought permission from the Alafin of Oyo to go to the Ibadan troops camp at Imesi Kiriji, to fight and return home within seventeen (17) days. The Alafin of Oyo granted his request. The Chiefs fought fiercely to show Are that they were able bodied and reliable. They fought the Ekitiparapos gallantly with guns, cutlasses, swords and clubs. It was their intention to demonstrate to the Are that they were not mediocres even though they no longer ready to win any war for Are Latosa. Are Latosa did not receive the co-operation of his war Chiefs. This was war named after the sounds of the guns KI RI JI, KI RI JI, KI RI JI.

It was a matter of regret that very important Ibadan was Chiefs died during the reign of Are Latosa. Balogun Ajayi Ogboriefon died died after the Jalumi war in 1889. Seriki Laluwoye was deposed; Osi Balogun Ayorinde died in 1876; Osi Balogun Ilori (Ogunmola’s son) died in the battle against the Ilorins at Ofa; Alli Laluwoye (Otun Balogun) died in the Kiriji war in 1882; Seriki Iyapo (Balogun Ibikunle’s son) committed suicide in Ibadan after an insubordination charge was levied against him by Are Latosa. There were others who were either killed at the war front or died naturally. When Prince Adeyemi, son of the late Alafin Atiba of Oyo was enthroned as the new Alafin of Oyo after the death of Alafin Adelu his eldest brother; it was his prayers and aim to reign peacefully. One important point to note is that all the wars being fought by the Ibadans were for the Alafin of Oyo. Precisely on the 26th of November 1875, Are Latosa decided to wage another war against the Ekitis. He led the Ibadan army, augmented by Ilorin mercenaries, residing in Ibadan and went straight to Ekiti Land. They camped at Iyapa and used the town as a base from where the Ibadan army travelled from town to town. The Ekitis were unable to withstand the onslaught of Ibadan troops because they were mercilessly defeated all round. Ibadan suffered a great loss in the war led by Seriki on their way back to their Iyapa base because of an ambush laid for them. Several men who were with the Seriki lost their lives. As a result of this, the war expedition was called “Wo Kuti”, meaning the pulling up of corpses. When the remnants of Seriki’s army go to the Iyapa base, Are Latosa told them to return to Ibadan. Ibadan conquered a greater part of Ekiti land and established their authority by appointing their administrators, referred to as Ajeles, to take charge. Many of the people of Ilesha, Ekiti and Akoko were taken to Ibadan as prisoners of war.

More conquests

Aare Latosa did not limit his assault on the Ekitis alone. Although there were several attempts to match his troops against the Egbas. There was an Egba Chief who was rather more interested in better understanding between the two, that is the Ibadans and Egbas, than going to war. Chief Ogundipe, the Alatise of the Egbas made many attempts to prvent imminent hostility. It was not the plan of Are Latosa to besiege Abeokuta, but rather, He wanted his men to raid Egba farms and destroy crops growing there. This was to force the Egbas to run short of food and as a result of famine, eventually surrender to Ibadan. Are Latosa continued the farm raids until his Chiefs became dissatisfied; they wanted more. Balogun Ogboriefon advised to allow them to enter Abeokuta and prepare for a prolonged siege of the town until hunger would compel the Egbas to give up but the Are did not accept the advice. Are Latosa’s Chiefs planned to make him lose all battles. The Chiefs knew that traditionally they must follow Are Latosa to all wars and if need be, die with him on the battle field. They must never dessert him. But as Senior Chiefs, they were the ones obliged to follow this tradition and not their private armies. So they decided not to take along their private soldiers to war with Are Latosa. Are Latosa waged another war against Osiele near Abeokuta but his Chiefs did not participate. The people of Ila, Ife, Modakeke, Ilesa, Ekiti and some other towns under Ibadan went with Are Latosa to the war against Osiele. It was there that nearly every soldier deserted him and he was disastrously defeated by the Egba Army. The Ibadan Chiefs refused to fight. Are Latosa’s private army retreated and everybody else fled. Are Latosa did not give up the plan to re-attack Osiele even after the fresh defeat. He sent his senior war Chiefs to clear the road to Porto-Novo market, for his arms and ammunition. In fact the Chiefs were also to serve as escorts to those sent by Are Latosa to purchase more arms and ammunition from Porto-Novo. But the Egbas heard of this and attacked the Ibadans at Ogatedo and Meko. Owing to a strong determination and reinforcements the Egbas were sounded defeated and they fled. Before Aare Latosa and his detachment reached Modakeke, the Ife people had settled their rifts with their neighbour. Aare Latosa and his people who were prepared for war felt disgraced to return home without fighting. They also missed the spoils expected in form of slaves and materials. They therefore raided Ekiti towns and villages. Igede Ekiti was their first port of call where prisoners were taken. The same fate befell Aisegba. Other victims were the combined forces of Ado-Ekiti and Uyin-Ekiti on the 16th of January 1874. The Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Atewogboye and the traditional rulers of Uyin-Ekiti and Ijan-Ekiti respectively were among the captives. Aare Latosa and his men still went further to other Ekiti territories before returning to their camp at Ifaki-Ekiti. All the captives including the captured traditional rulers went to Ibadan war camp at Ifaki, where they surrendered. Aare Latosa and his troops attached Ado-Ekiti and its environs under the pretext of avenging the death of one Abayaomi, Ajia Bale of Ibadan, at the Agbado war of 1857. Aare Latosa’s expedition to Ekiti ton and villages otherwise known as Ado war was a huge success because Aare did not suffer any casualty. But one of his Chiefs, Akeredolu, the Otun Seriki, fell ill on their way home and had to spend about two months in Ila-Orangun to recover. Akeredolu was later carried on a litter to Ibadan where he subsequently died on the 5th of April 1874. Ogedengbe having been driven out of hid base, Ilesha and Igbo Alawun continued together with his private army to ravage the towns and villages in Ekiti land. Efon Alaye people fled their town, while Ilawe-Ekiti Igbara-Odo people were not spared.

Collaboration with Yoruba warlords

A one-time Deji of Akure, Oba Ojijigogun, and the people of a neighbouring town of Ise of harbouring one of his slaves who escaped with his wife, an Ise woman. The Deji of Akure solicited and got the services of Ogedengbe to help him wage war against the people of Ise. At this time, Ise-Ekiti was a tributary town to Ibadan. So the Arinjale quickly sent to Ibadan for military assistance against Ogedengbe. But before the Ibadan troops led by two war-chiefs, Seriki Iyapo and Ilori, the Osi Balogun of Ise, Ogedengbe had ransacked the town and captured the inhabitants as prisoners of war, and had taken them to Akure. As it happened in the case of Ife and Modakeke, the Ibadan troops refused to return to Ibadan. Instead they decided to attack Emure Ekiti, a town not far from Ise Ekiti. This they did because of the suspicion that Emure Ekiti people supplied food to Ogedengbe when he besieged Ise. Emure Ekiti town was captured within a day because most of the people had escaped to nearby towns and villages. Are Latosa directed them to capture Ogedengbe or drive him out of Ilesha and then re-instate the OWA back on his throne. This they did, and more, harassing people, capturing and enslaving the Ijesha people against the directives of Are-Latosa. In fact, Ogedengbe was not ready for any confrontation with the Ibadan warriors, so he had fled the town before their arrival. Are Latosa ordered his troops to return home. Instead of returning home, they pursued Ogedengbe until they got to a forest called “Igbo-Alwaun” which is very near Igbara-Odo and Ikere-Ekiti. Ogedengbe knowingly led the Ibadan troops to the area where a great battle took place. Several other battles were fought and Ogedengbe was victorious while the Ibadans suffered a great loss. Seriki Lawoyin was the leader of the Ibadan troop that fell into the hands of Ogedengbe. The situation was saved that day with the reinforcement brought by Balogun Ajayi Ogboriefon which helped Ibadans to defeat Ogedengbe. Ogedengbe appealed to Are Latosa for peace by sending gifts to Are. The Ibadan warriors returned home. Are Latosa rebuked Ajayi Ogboriefon for failing to obey his directive to return to Ibadan after restoring Owa.

Ajayi Ogboriefon escaped deposition as a result of his ability to save a bad situation but Seriki Lawoyin who led the almost ill-fated battle was deposed. The Ado war was another battle in which Are Latosa was a principal actor. In 1879, the Ifes and the Modakeke were at Logger-Heads. The two communities were neighbours who did not see eye to eye. As a result of this dispute, the Ife people sent emissaries to Are Latosa for assistance to attack Modakeke. It was not proper for a Bale to go to war but since Are Latosa combined the leadership of the military (Are Onakakanfo) with being the ruler or Bale, it was in order for him to go. It was the wish of Aare Latosa to mark during his region by achieving lots of success both as the civil as well as the military leader of his people. Barely a week after his installation, Aare Latosa named his Chiefs. Ajayi Jegede Ogboriefon became the Balgun; Alli Laluwoye was made the Otun Balogun; Ayorinde Aje bagged the Chieftaincy title of Osi-Balogun; Lawoyin was installed the Seriki while Akeredolu (Son of Bale Orowusi) and Tajo were made Otun Seriki and Otun Are respectively. Ogedengbe was one of the Yoruba war Lords who brought fame and glory to the Yoruba race. While Ogunmola, Ajayi Ogboriefon, Kunrunmi, Ibikunle, Are Latosa were great warriors based in Ibadan, Ogedengbe Gbogungboro was based in Ilesa, the headquarters of Ijesha land. He became a powerful figure not only at Ilesha but also throughout the Ekiti area. Ogedengbe’s cordial relationship with Ibadan warriors made him receive part of his military training from them. Infact, it was Are Latosa who saved Ogedengbe’s life when he was accused of being a traitor by Basorun Ogunmola. Death was the penalty of the offense then, but out of the sheer respect that Ogunmola had for Are Latosa, Ogedengbe was set free but not without a mark. Ogunmola ordered that Ogedengbe’s face be disfigured with a razor so that he would always remember that ‘Ogunmola and the Ibadans’.