Ibadan Insider History: Oyesile Baale of Ibadan (4)
Hello folks, hope you are having a wonderful Thursday. Thanks for always stopping by to read our articles on the History of Ibadan and the positive comments. Today We enter the final part of the story of Ibikunle Balogun of Ibadan and we round up the life of Baale Oyesile a.k.a Baale Olugbode and Ibikunle, his loyal Balogun.
Balogun Ibikunle of Ibadan (II) and the End of Baale Oyesile
Another story of Ibikunle which historians like to tell was one time when his team was on the way to a campaign and he had to pass through Ede. As they approached the town, the Timi of Ede at the time, refused to grant them passage, asking them to go through a longer route. this made Ogunmola the Otun Balogun angry and he wanted to unleash the Ibadan forces on Ede. Ibikunle, however, told him to keep calm. Instead of fighting Ede, Ibikunle simply told the Ibadan forces to block every entrance and exit to the town, making sure nobody could come out or go in. He and the rest of the army then settled down and started to feast on the farms belonging to inhabitants of Ede.The blockade that Balogun Ibikunle imposed was so total and effective that after only fourteen days, the Timi of Ede decided he had had enough of Ibikunle and the Ibadan forces because the people of Ede literally ran out of food to eat. Subsequently, the Timi not only allowed Ibikunle and his troops to pass through Ede, He had to give Ibikunle plenty of money and precious beads before Ibikunle agreed to lift the blockade. Thus Ibikunle stopped a war that would have been a distraction short and even got a lot of loot for his trouble.
Another story of Ibikunle’s generosity happened during the second Ijaye war. The Ibadan forces captured an old hunter who was fighting on the side of the Ijaye. Because the hunter was an important chieftain in the Ijaye army, Ibikunle believed he should not be killed like a mere soldier. He commanded that set free, on condition that he stopped fighting in the war and returned home. However, the hunter soon returned to fighting the war for the Ijaye troops. He was soon captured the second time, and Ibikunle had no choice but to command him to be killed.
Apart from his prowess in war, Ibikunle was a great reformer. One of the reforms he made in Ibadan was on the law of inheritance. Under the old law, a man’s properties were inherited by his brothers, but Ibikunle made it a law that a man’s inheritance will go to his children and his brothers can only act as guardians if the children are minors. He also modified the status of slaves, granting them a lot of freedoms, such as the ability to work and pay for their freedom after a determined number of years and during Ibikunle’s tenure, many slaves were granted their freedom and became full citizens of Ibadan.
As a result of this reforms, Ibikunle was one of the few notable Baloguns of Ibadan who did not experience any conspiracies or internal uprisings, because all his lieutenants and his warriors were loyal to him because of his sense of justice, fairness and discipline. Also It is said that Ibikunle was so rich and influential that it was unthinkable for anybody to gather a force to try and topple him. Balogun Ibikunle was richer and had more fighting men that every warrior in Ibadan combined, even the Baale.
Sadly, Balogun Ibikunle, who was named Kiniun Onibudo (The Lion of Onibudo) as a testament to his regal dignity and prowess as a warrior would pass away in tragic circumstances in 1864. In 1862. The Ibadan army fought the Kutuje War, to punish the Egba and their allies for having supported the Ijaye during the Ijaye war. one day during the pre-battle rites for a particular battle, as one of the Balogun’s men tried to behead the dog that was to be used as a sacrifice to Ogun, his blade flew out and struck the Balogun somewhere between his bowel and his thigh. The wound was so severe that the Balogun became bedridden throughout the war. Even though the Ibadan army won the war, the Balogun never made it back home. He died before they got back to Ibadan.
The Ibadan army’s triumph had been dampened by the death of their great general, but they would meet an even greater tragedy at home. Baale Oyesile, the leader of Ibadan had fallen sick and died while they were at war. within a period of less than a month, Otun Balogun Ogunmola suddenly went from being the second in command to the army chief to being the ruler of Ibadan.
So ended the life of Oyesile, Baale of Ibadan, and Balogun Ibikunle his powerful Balogun. Two of the greatest men to ever rule the city of Ibadan
Akinyele, I.B. (1951) Iwe Itan Ibadan ati die ninu awon Ilu agbegbe re bii Osogbo Iwo ati Ikirun. Ibadan: Board
Ologunro, S. (2001). Bashorun Oluyole and the Growth of Ibadan MMilitaryRepublicanism 1830-1847 in Ogunremi (Ed) Ibadan- A Historical, Cultural, and Socioeconomic Study of an African City, a publication of Oluyole Club, Lagos
Article retrieved from Prince Idris Ayodeji Olugbode’s Facebook Profile
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