History reveals that the great Ibadan empire builder whose name could not be easily forgotten inbYorubaland having fought the aYoruba major war in the late 19th century was an Ilora man known as Aare Obadoke Latosa. The name of his father was Ore Orisa. Before his sojourn to Ibadan as a war veteran,he was a farmer and specialised in the planting of palm trees. 

On arrival in Ibadan, Latoosa joined Ogunmola’s private army and exhibited great warfare skills and he later became the captain of his guards. In October 3, 1871, Latoosa was conferred the title of Aare Ona Kakanfo (the generalismo of Ibadan army) and the ruler of Ibadan. 

Obadoke Latoosa (or Latosisa) was the 12th Kakanfo of Ibadan or Yorubalqnd. He was worthy of mention because he was the Kakanfo on throne during the 17year war known as Kiriji war which happened to be the longest civil war in Yoruba history, 1877-1893. He was also the last military Kakanfo, being succeeded by a  civil man and the f9rmer premier of western region, an Ogbomosho man, Samuel Ladoke Akintola. 

Oral history mentions that for more thaj 16 years, the veteran warlord (Latoosa) remained childless, despite all the sacrifices and propitiations to the gods of the land. Due to the growing influence of Ilorin, whose new Emir, Abd Salaam had sacked the capital of Old Oyo Empire at Katunga, Latoosa opted for the Islamic faith, and took the name Mohammed, known and pronounced in Yoruba as Momodu, and became fully known as Momodu Obadoke Latoosa. Shortly after his conversion, his wife birthed a son who he named Sanusi, believing that his childlessness ended as a result of his new faith. Many historical accounts concur that Latoosa, actually usurped the title of his predecessor, Ojo Aburumaku, who later became the Soun of Ogbomoso.

As a result of vacancy on the throne of Ibadan after  Balogun Ajobo went on self exile and the death of Baale Orowusi, Latoosa and Ajayi Ogboriefon were the most senior chiefs left. Latoosa claimed that he could not rule with the title of Baalel being a civil title and opted to be the ruler of Ibadan with the title of Aare Ona Kakanfo. In his view, the titles of Basorun and Baale were of lower ranks that brave soldiers should not take. He was a popular ruler and never afraid of war.
As the successor state to Oyo Empire, Ibadan under his rule called the shots. He appointed administrators for vassal states and towns. (Popular commanders that served under Latoosa included balogun Ibikunle, who would later be Latoosa’s nemesis. This is not correct.)    These administrators were called Ajeles. Many of the Ajeles ruled with high-handedness, and in Oke-Imesi, in today’s Ekiti State, one Ajele forcefully had carnal knowledge of a woman who was returning from the farm. The woman turned out to be the wife of an Oke-Imesi prince, Fabunmi. The defiled woman, in tears, narrated her ordeal to her husband, and infuriated, Fabunmi drew his sword, marched to the Ajele’s quarters, and beheaded him and his guards. Those of the Ajele’s entourage that survived the carnage wrought by Fabunmi fled for dear lives, and returned to Ibadan, where they reported happenings to the Kakanfo, Latoosa. The Kakanfo saw what hap0ened at Okemesi as an affront on his authority and declared war on the them. Oke-Mesi, being Ekiti, sought the help of their ethnic kith and kin in Ijesaland, a famous general called Ogedengbe Agbogungboro, rallied warriors from Ekitiland and Ijesaland into a coalition of forces known as the Ekiti Parapo, jointly commanded by Ogedengbe and Fabunmi. Thus, in 1877, the series of battles that would later be known as Kiriji Wars began, and lasted for 16 years. It is said to be the longest civil war in Yoruba history. 

It is on record that he was the Ibadan ruler that eventually put an end to the inhuman treatment of slaves in Yorubaland when he decisively dealt with a renowned slave dealer and women leader, Efunsetan Aniwura. This story has been romaticised in movies, and is the subject of a Yoruba novel by Emeritus Professor, Akinwunmi Isola of the University of Ibadan. In 1885, while the Kiriji War was still on and the Europeans were in Berlin at a conference later known in history as the Scramble for and partition Africa, Latoosa met his waterloo in an unexpected way.
He had a slave whom he loved so much and accorded the rights of a freeborn. Being under the protection of the Kakanfo, this slave took liberties beyond his rights, and was frequently reported to Latoosa who however continued to indulge him. On an occasion, the slave insulted one of Latoosa’s generals, Balogun Ibikunle.( couldnt be true) lIbikunle chastised the slave, and according to some reports, had him whipped. The slave reported his ordeal to Latoosa, who summoned Ibikunle before him and demanded why he should treat his slave that way. Ibikunle, angered that a general like him could be asked to state his side of a case involving a slave, drew his sword and beheaded the slave. Other generals were present, and arrayed themselves on Ibikunle’s side. Latoosa saw his error of judgement, and turned, entered his chambers, and took poison.
He was said to be a friendly person who would greet people with a smile, but he could also be stubborn, obstinate and sometimes cruel; like the typical Kakanfo, especially the likes of Kurunmi and Afonja, who bore the title before him.( Again this story coupdnt be true as earlier stated. I dont think ther was someone named Balogun Ibikunle during Latosa era) You can remove the story if not sure.

So far, Latoosa’s family has produced two rulers in Ibadan; first, the Aare himself and his son, Baale Situ, who was banished to Saki in 1925. The part of Ibadan named Oke Are was named after the veteran Ibadan warlord... Aare Latoosa.

Culled from Ilora Mirror Magazine.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.