Ibadan Insider History: Oluyole, Bashorun Of Ibadan (2)
Hello Folks thanks for joining us again in our Ibadan leaders series. Today we continue our series on Bashorun Oluyole and we look at the wars and rebellions that took under during his rule.
As we have learnt in the first part of the series, Oluyole was an ambitious man. After he became Bashorun, He didn’t just want to be leader of Ibadan alone. He wanted to be the leader of a collection of states large enough to rival that which the Alaafin of Oyo once controlled. Therefore he started various wars of expansion. He attacked towns like Osogbo, Ede, Ilesa, Ekiti and brought them under his control. He appointed vassals to rule them and made them pay tribute to him. For Oluyole the wars he fought were for two reasons. One was to expand Ibadan’s territory, the second more sinister reason was so that He could get rid of the chiefs who may try to usurp him the way He had done to Lakanle. one of Oluyole ‘s regular practices was to identify a prominent warlord within Ibadan who looks like he might be a threat to his (Oluyole’s) rule, declare war on a city that is notoriously difficult to conquer and send that warlord to fight hoping that the warlord would be killed on the front. But all his chiefs proved to be powerful warriors and none of them died in battle. Soon his chiefs realized what he was doing and started to resent his authority. Some even brave ones openly declared war against him. But the Bashorun was an extremely cunning leader and he managed to end those who opposed his rule
One of the first major rebellions against Oluyole was by Bankole Aleshinloye who was Balogun of Ibadan at the time. It happened that just after Oluyole became the leader of Ibadan ( it was before the Eleduwe war, so he wasn’t Bashorun yet) He was away to a war in Ijebu Remo. Bankole the Balogun stayed at home for some reason. Much like it happened when Oluyole was still second in command to Lakanle, the Chiefs led by Balogun Aleshinloye decided they were going to stop the Oluyole from entering the city. So they all gathered an army and waited for the Oluyole at the city gate, intending to kill his men and force him into exile. Oluyole got wind of their plans and decided to sneak into the town at night through the other seldom used Elekuro entrance. The Chiefs who had been waiting for him at the main entrance to the city were shocked when they heard that Oluyole had entered the city and was in his house, but Balogun Aleshinloye set off for the Oluyole ‘s house hoping to kill him before he had a chance to rest from his travails at the war front. However when Aleshinloye entered Oluyole’s house, a servant of Oluyole shot him from close range and Balogun Aleshinloye died. He was replaced as Balogun by Oderinlo.
The second major rebellion came after the Eleduwe war after Oluyole had been named by Alaafin Atiba as Bashorun of Ibadan. One of Oluyole’s closest friends at the time was Adelakun, aka Elepo (if you remember from the story of Lakanle, it was this same Elepo who informed Oluyole of the plot to force him into exile). Despite being one of the richest and leading warriors in Ibadan at the time, Elepo refused to become a chief in Ibadan. He primarily saw himself as a warrior and had little interest in politics, preferring to be the Mogaji of his own house, despite the fact that he could pretty much have any title he wanted. However even without a chieftaincy position Elepo was still a major force to reckon with in Ibadan at this time.
One year, Oluyole declared a war on a town called Iberekodo, it was Elepo who was sent to the town, when Elepo reached Iberekodo he besieged the town and sent the Iberekodo soldiers scurrying behind their city walls for safety. The night before he was due to sack the city, One of his army captains reportedly said “Leader, if the gods wish it, we shall destroy this town tomorrow.” Elepo reportedly snapped: ” whether the gods wish it or they don’t I will destroy this town tommorow.” Unknown to him, that night the Baale of Iberekodo sent messengers to Bashorun Oluyole in Ibadan with gifts to plead for amnesty. As Elepo prepared to march on Iberekodo the next morning he came face to face with messengers from the Bashorun who told him the war was over and he should come home. So Elepo had no choice but to leave Iberekodo unconquered.
After the disastrous campaign at Iberekodo, Oluyole sent Elepo next to war with Ede and Ilobu. At Ede the Timi and his people pleaded for mercy, agreeing to become Ibadan vassal towns. They moved to Ilobu, but Elepo refused to attack Ilobu because he buried his father there.So the Chiefs came back to Ibadan empty handed once again.
This made the Chiefs who had gone on both campaigns very angry with Elepo for taking them on a wild goose chase twice. When Bashorun Oluyole noticed this, he saw a chance to put down a rival for good. Elepo at this time was as rich as Oluyole himself and Oluyole was envious of him for that reason. Elepo thinking He could still count on Oluyole as a friend, begged him to appeal to the other chiefs on his behalf. Oluyole agreed to do this and told Elepo to keep all his possessions in his (Oluyole’s) house until the Chiefs accepted his pleas.Elepo accepted to do this. When the other chiefs who had been angry with Elepo saw that he had run to the Bashorun for protection, they were afraid and promptly agreed to a truce with Elepo.
After the truce, when Elepo went back to the Bashorun to collect the property he had kept with him the Bashorun told him “You can only take things into Bashorun Oluyole’s house, you cannot take anything out.” Thus Elepo was left high and dry. A few months later Oluyole himself declared another war against Elepo. Now Elepo knew the game was up. He ran away to Ijaye to join Oluyole’s biggest rival Aare-Ona-Kakanfo Kurumi. But sometime after that Kurumi declared war on a town called Ile-Bioku and sent Elepo his new ally to fight there, it was in this war that Elepo died.
Historians have continued to speculate on why Kurumi sent Elepo to Ile-Bioku to die.Some say it was Oluyole who pleaded with Kurumi to kill him, others say Kurumi became jealous of Elepo just as Oluyole had been and decided to make sure he got killed.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Editor’s Note: Due to the the extensive nature of Oluyole’s rule, it has been discovered that the Oluyole will have to take another article to cover it satisfactorily, so the series will take four articles instead of the three originally promised. We apologize for this inconvenience.