THE THIRD ATTEMPT TO EXPEL THE FULANIS AND RECOVER ILORIN: THE KANLA WAR
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Amodo was ill at ease under the yoke of the Fulani Emir of Ilorin, and he prevailed upon all the Yoruba chiefs throughout the country to unite and rid themselves of their common enemy.’ Apparently, they were united, but between the capital and the provinces, the spirit of disaffection and jealousy was strong. It was understood full well that the King’s policy was to use them together to rid himself first of the common enemy and then to subdue the rebel chiefs one after another, by force of arms.
But the Ilorins, on the other hand, were more diplomatic. In order to facilitate their plans, they made friends with some of the Yoruba chiefs who were men of power, and who, if united, would be able to oppose them successfully; such were Prince Atiba of Ago Oja, Edun chief of Gbogun, the most powerful Yoruba general of the day, and Adegun the Onikoyi the premier provincial king.
Whenever there was war with the Ilorins these chiefs usually acted against their own real and national interests, either by betraying their own nation and people, or by giving their backs to the enemy without shooting an arrow, and thus allowing the Ilorin horse the advantage of out-flanking their foes.
Alaafin Amodo having prevailed upon all the chiefs to come together declared war against the Fulanis, and Ilorin was besieged by a formidable army raised throughout the country. Adegun the Onikoyi was suffering from indisposition and was really unfit to take the field; but Edun of Gbogun, his rival forced him to go to the war, secretly planning with the Ilorins that he would give way in the heat of the battle, in order that Adegun might be taken alive!
This battle took place at Kanla from which the expedition was named.
Edun having carried out his act of treachery, the Onikoyi was surrounded by the Ilorin horse; but he fought, and fought bravely and fell like a hero. Thus, the Alaafin’s army was routed, and the people fled away in confusion.
It was at the time when the rivers overflowed their banks, and a number of people were drowned at the river Ogun. The most notable chief drowned on this occasion was Oja the founder of Ago (the present Oyo). Prince Atiba, one of the rising power, rode his powerful horse into the river, and narrowly escaped being drowned.
The Yoruba towns deserted at this defeat were Esiele and Popo.
- Samuel Johnson; The history of the Yorubas, Lagos, CSS Limited; 1921; pg. 126-128
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