Know the 12 lessons the Kiriji War which ended Yoruba Civil Wars taught the World
Irohinoodua presents to you today, 12 important lessons from the Yoruba Kiriji War which ended on September 23, 1886.
- The Rules of War: Yoruba did not fight like savages. They demonstrated high level of civilization. Killing of Women and Children not allowed for instance. The Kiriji War was fought without attacks on women and Children. Though women were captured, they were never killed. Children were spared and it was a taboo to arrest or attack a pregnant woman. This was long before the United Nations adopted the Convention on War.
- Ceasefire Rules: There were rules of ceasefires. On such occasions, General Latoosa who led the Ibadan and Ogedengbe who led Ekiti Parapo would visit the enemy camps without any incidence.
- Execution of Generals: During Kiriji War, Generals on both sides could not be looked at in the faces. When a senior military officer on both sides were captured, they were to be blindfolded. If the punishment was execution, the junior officers carrying out the execution must be blindfolded and must give salute to the General before execution.
- Managing the Economy: Though the War lasted for 16 years, the nations were never broke. None of them borrowed money to prosecute the very expensive war. There was economic self sufficiency to the extent that the War did not record farming for the 16-year period.
- Local Production of Military Hardwares: There was mass production of military hardwares on both sides which included local rifles and explosives. There was a ballistic expert from Okemesi who manufactured explosives used during the war under the careful supervision of General Fabunmi.
- Import of of Hardwares: The war had international dimension. The King of England for instance was so impressed by Ogedengbe Military Tactics that he wrote to him inviting him for a State Visit. Ogedengbe declined. He said he was busy with State Matters. The King sent his picture which remains in the home of Ogedengbe unto this day. Ekitiparapo imported Military weapons from Hamburg, Germany to prosecute the war. No fewer than 10,000 rifles were imported from Germany by Ekitiparapo while Ibadan was noted for importing thousands of weapons.
- Secret Service : The Kiriji War had secret service section on both sides. Ibadan were exceptional in Secret Service to the extent that they employed beautiful girls that married Ekiti Parapo Generals but later escaped to reveal their secrets to Ibadan High Command. Ilara Mokin in Ondo State was the head quarters of the Kiriji Secret Service and the cite has an iron buried mysteriously in a rock until this day.
- Intensive Training: There was intensive training on infantry, night attacks, ambush, retreat and attack tactics. Most of the training manual were sourced from the study of animals. For instance when a bevy of birds fly skywards, it was an indication the enemy from distance was near, when a buffalo ran aggressively, it showed the enemy was from far off was advancing, rapid slow movement of elephants indicated the enemy was heavily armed, the particular song of parrots gave different indications, among others.
- Large Military Operations: No fewer than 400,000 soldiers took part in the military expedition on both sides, more than the number of Nigerian soldiers of today put together. All of them were armed.
- Nigerian False Federalism: The artefact of the war were largely kept by the Federal Government unto this day, including the uniforms of General Ogedengbe and several of his military weapons imported from Germany. These were taken from the Western Region under the military and kept in Federal Government Museum. These items of inestimable value should be returned to the South West.
- Military Communication: Eventhough there were no telephones, the Kiriji military high command on both sides developed Military Codes and Military Communications. Fabunmi for instance wrote letters on a piece of sand to Ogedengbe while Ogedengbe did the same as they shared information on war progress during the conflict.
- British Invasion: When the British came to Yoruba Nation, the war was fierce. Some Britons were captured who came as spies or suspected to be so. If not for the division in Yorubaland caused by the war, the British could not have been able to defeat Yoruba nation with some 400,000 heavily armed soldiers. The British desperately wanted ceasefire to enable them to penetrate Yorubaland. The move for ceasefire began among the Yoruba leaders, the British only came to help move it forward.
- Yoruba Are no Cowards: Yoruba has a rich history of military expedition. The average Yoruba person is from the family of a war-hero. It is naïve and irresponsible assumptions to think Yoruba people are cowards who cannot defend their homeland. History is a conscious witness to our heritage of valour.
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