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Governor kayode fayemi's speech at the stage performance of kiriji, to mark the 125 th  anniversary of the end of the yoruba wars
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Governor kayode fayemi's speech at the stage performance of kiriji, to mark the 125 th anniversary of the end of the yoruba wars



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  • 1.   AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE GOVERNOR OF EKITI STATE, DR KAYODE FAYEMI AT THE STAGE PERFORMANCE OF KIRIJI, TO MARK THE 125TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE END OF THE YORUBA WARS IN ADO-EKITI ON 23rd SEPTEMBER 2011PROTOCOLSToday marks a great day in the history of Yoruba people.Exactly 125 years ago, in 1886, our forebears, came to apeace table and signed an armistice between the Ekitis aswell as some other Yoruba sub-tribes and a powerfulIbadan military command after 16 years of bitter strugglefor freedom and human liberty. Men and women foughtgallantly on both sides, not for gold or for silver, but fordignity and in defence of their beliefs, ancestral territoriesand the lofty dreams they treasured passionately.The Kiriji war today signifies courage, fortitude, strengthof character, bravery, selfless sacrifice, ingenuity, greatsense of valour and an astounding contribution toscientific inventions in the quest for survival. These iconicmen and women, fought graciously in manners neverseen before and in traits hardly found in recent memories. 1    
  • 2.  For 16 years, thousands of men and women, young andold, armed and defenceless people alike, sacrificed withtheir blood giving their yesterday painfully for the dignityof our today. May I call on this gathering to rise andobserve a minute silence in remembrance of thefallen heroes on both sides of the conflict?Thank you. I need to undertake a little historical excursionon how the war started. As early as the 10th century, theYoruba people had a system of norms, mores and aprincely system of government that nevertheless, createdchecks and balances within the tiers of traditionalgovernment.There is no doubt that Oyo Empire placed the Yorubapeople on global political and cultural reckoning. Thoughseveral factors led to the fall of the Oyo Empire, this wasnot before the Empire had played a momentous role inthe defense of Yorubaland, by preventing the incursion ofinvaders into Yoruba territories through brave encounters,one of the most decisive being the 1840s defense of 2    
  • 3.  Osogbo against conquest by foreignpowers. However, in the womb of the Oyo Empire, theinternal contradictions and the seed that led to its collapsewere sown.The collapse of Oyo Empire gave rise to the emergence ofthe military administration in Ibadan which had passionfor a unitary system of government in the entire Yorubaterritory. This was resented by the other Yoruba sub-tribes. Around this desire, other variables and causes ofthe war were constructed, leading to the war that brokeout between Ibadan and the Ekiti Parapo around 1870.The war saw gallantry on both sides, iron castdetermination, and in fact, left a chain of events that areworth being recalled. There is living evidence that thewarriors imbibed what later became United Nations (UN)Conventions on War Prisoners taking a cue from thehuman treatment of children and women during the warwhich amplified the measure of decorum displayed evenwhile the war lasted. There were even moments forceasefires, era for negotiations and time for wits. 3    
  • 4.  There are many lessons we must learnfrom the bitter feud. No doubt, the war and the ability ofthe Yoruba people to survive pains and anguish, onlyconfirmed the economic and political grandeur of theYoruba nation. Certainly, most great nations usuallyemerge from the rubbles of great wars. War is, most ofthe time, the pastime of great men, great people, greatnations. One great example we should note today asYoruba people, is the fact that we have had a rich history,we are at present writing a prosperous history and in thefuture we will have a wealthy narration. No doubt, thewar clearly indicated the resilience of the Yoruba people intime of peace and war and their perseverance in the faceof tormenting adversaries. The extraordinary spirit of theYoruba people to fight for justice and egalitarianism isastonishing.We as a people have been demonstrating this trait forcenturies. We confirmed this firm stand during the unjustpersecution of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, weshowed this spirit during the annulment of the June 12elections, we indicated this during the 2007 electionswhen the mandate of the people was brazenly stolen and 4    
  • 5.  in April 2011 elections, we the Yorubapeople re-confirmed our preference for liberty, as againsttyranny of the minority. This is the KIRIJI spirit. This isthe spirit of our forefathers. This is the spirit we cherishand will continue to nurture.We should also note that the 1886 armistice indicatedthat the Yoruba people believe in peaceful means ofresolving dispute, even after the most vicious conflict.As a people with common ancestry, it is significant thatthe 1886 armistice has brought long lasting peace inYorubaland, it has redefined out solidarity and hascontinued to nurture the mutual respect among theYoruba people.It is important for us not to see only the war angle ofKIRIJI. There are other aspects like science, politics,philosophy and art.It is in this context that we are planning the first Museumof Yoruba War History where we intend to keep all theartifacts, both military and non-military, relating to thewar. It is our strong conviction that this will broaden the 5    
  • 6.   tourism corridor in Yorubaland apart from enriching a dwindling history. I wish to express my profound appreciation to all the dignitaries at this event. I thank the cast crew and the domestic and international artistes who are part of this great dream. I thank the proud families of Latoosa, Ogedengbe, Fabunmi, Osun Gbekun, Ogboriefon, Faboro, Olaosebikan and all the direct offsprings of the heroes of the war. I reaffirm to you today, that our fathers did not fight in vain neither was their death futile. We shall do everything to preserve the artifacts and ensure that the memories of the heroes of the war continue to occupy a special place in our hearts. E seun o, Ile Yoruba o ni baje o! Oodua a gbe gbogbo wa.   6