Ileogbo And The Osogbo War Of 1840
The Fulanis we noticed at Osogbo in 1840. The present site of lleogbo might not have been possible without the heroic action of Ibadan forces that sent their troops to Osogbo to checkmate the Fulanis. Balogun Oderinlo led the warring team of Alaafin in 1840. According to The History of the Yorubas (Reviewed Edition) by Johnson
After a short pause that followed the Eleduwe war, the aggressive spirit of the Ilorins once more propelled them to accomplish their aim, viz., the subversion of the entire Yoruba country. Subsequently, for the third time, they laid siege to Osogbo. The command entrusted this time to their brave and experienced General Ali, the Hausa Balogun of Ilorin.
Osogbo was closely besieged, and terrible battles were fought between the assailants and defenders the advantage of the former When the king of Osogbo found the Ilorins too strong for him, he sent to Ibadan for help. It now devolved upon the Ibadan
as defenders of the north and northeast to meet the coming danger. They sent them some auxiliaries under the leadership of one Obele alias Mobitan and Alade Abinupagun. This force proved insufficient for the town’s defence; it sent another contingent under a more experienced leader. But still, the Ilorins were gaining ground after every battle until the besieged, and their
auxiliaries were confined to the thickets surrounding the town, which in all Yoruba towns were reserved for defence. The Ibadan contingent sent an express report home to the Basorun that would soon overpower them and took the town if timely aid was not forthcoming.
Balogun Oderinio now marched out with the whole of the Ibadan mighty men save Elepo and the Basorun; the war-chiefs have rejected the former for his actions at the Late Agbamaja expedition. The Basorun approved of this resolve, and therefore Elepo stayed at home, but he felt far too holy to care for any of them.
When the army arrived at the seat of war and saw the situation, they had some misgivings as to the probability of success without the aid of Elepo, their champion. They could not show their face in the open field for fear of the Ilorin horse, and they also could not fight outside the town thickets.
The Fulanis were known for fighting on horseback, a strategy unknown to the Yorubas. This secret of fighting people on horseback was reportedly revealed by the then Oluwo of Iwo when the soldiers of the Alaafin stopped over at Iwo to pay homage to the king.
Balogun Oderinlo valiantly led the troops. He positioned each member of the troops strategically based on their attacking strength. Samuel Johnson (reviewed edition) (2009:344):
About a mile from the Horn camp, they hotted and arranged the order of the attack The Chingo, the centre of the battle, Chiefs Abeniko and Lajaba to command the right-wing Balogun Oderinlo with the rest of the Ibadan war chief to form the left-wing of the army About midnight, attacked the Horin camp on all sides
After crossing the river, they saw the Fulanis en mass with copious standing tents that housed them. They were scared of the mammoth number of their adversaries (Fulanis). Meanwhile, it was considered taboo for Balogun to return without getting to the war front. As it was the practice then, such a Balogun will be killed by his team. They thus decided to settle at IGBO IGBALE (BUSH OF REFUGE, strategizing on how to go about the war.
They stayed there for some days brainstorming before a suggestion came from a member of the contingents, who suggested that the Fulanis should be best attacked at night because horses cannot fight at night. However, the suggestion was welcomed before a counter suggestion was raised on how they would recognize themselves to prevent mistaken identity. Yoruba history by Samuel Johnson (1997:344):
Again and again, they held councils of war, and they fixed a day for the venture at length. Still, they were afraid to attack the Ilorin during the morning hours, Osogbo being practically in a plain, the Ilorin horse might have the advantage over them with disastrous results from prudence. Therefore, they resolved to attack in the afternoon, as they might be able to hold on until dusk when the florins would no longer be able to use their horses to advantage or
is defeated, the shades of the night will assist them in their retreat. About 2.00p.m, the standard of the Ibadan army left the gate of Osogbo for the battlefield. Again, another council of war was held and finally resolved that they should not proceed until dark, as their movement needed to be as private as possible. They were again on the move about sunset, and the vanguards were instructed to keep a strict watch and arrest anyone suspected as a spy on their movement.
The above reference authenticates the valour of Oderinlo, which prompted his choice as the commander of the force that eventually checkmated the Fulanis.