Battle of Otefan- History Of Yoruba Warlords And Conquering Of Fulani Armies

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Yoruba know your history, so that you can tackle those who are quick to call us coward but have no history of war/warriors

Battle of Otefan

The war that sent shockwaves into the heart of the old Sokoto Caliphate was not the Osogbo war…It was Alaafin Oluewu’s war of 1830…

This was not a war between Ilorin and Oyo… It was a War between Sokoto Caliphate and Yoruba nation in coalition with the Baribas.

Most of the powerful Yoruba warrior kings and warlords that would later prove their legends were involved in this war…. The phalanx a coalition of vast soldiers under the commands of Alaafin Oluewu, Prince Atiba of Ago Oja ( who would later be the next king after Oluewu)

Baale of Ogbomosho, Onikoyi, Eleduwe ( A king in one of the Bariba kingdoms) Jato ( a general in the Borgu army whose earlier campaigns against the Futa Jalon earned him a reputation)…

Baale of Iseyin and Baale of Saki…. Kurunmi of Ijaiye also joined the ranks with his private militia ( at this time, he was not a provincial ruler). They camped at a place called Otefan

The leaders of the expedition were Oluewu of Oyo and Eleduwe of Burgu. The Eleduwe trusted all the lesser generals under his command but the Alaafin did not trust some of his, including the Bale of Ogbomosho and Onikoyi ( Onikoyi had a long history of being controversial.

He was one of the first provincial rulers of Oyo to pledge allegiance to the Emir of Ilorin).Oluewu was careful not to put them in strategic sections in the military formation.

Sultan Belo of Sokoto ( son of Usman Dan Fodio) sent a much larger army of 17 warlords and their soldiers under the command of Esugoyi (ruler of the vassal state of Rabbah) to meet with the much smaller army of the emir at Ilorin. .

He hoped for victory in a decisive battle against Oyo and obsession to extend to the coast.… The army he sent was so large that the coalition army of Oyo was outnumbered twelve to one.

Usual battle phalanx of the SouthWest at the time was usually divided into three.

A phalanx stays at the center, one to the right and another to the left. (this formation was usually followed religiously during battle that Lisabi of Egbaland used the positions to confer military titles in his militia).

The Jaguna commanded the army at the center, Lukotun commanded the right flank and Lukosi commanded the left flank.

In this battle, the Eleduwe fought at the center with his battle-hardened warriors.

Oluewu fought from the right and the lesser rulers manned the phalanx to the left. Eleduwe was the instant hero of the battle. As he suppressed the enemy from the center, he sent his soldiers to fill the ranks on each sides at the same time to force the enemy into the center.

from the center, they greatly slaughtered the Fulani warriors and broke their ranks. They fled in different directions with the coalition army routing them as they fled and slaughtering them in the thousands.

As the Fulani nobles took to heel… they delegated horsemen to confront the enemies pursuing them to slow them down using the calvary advantage as they escaped. The victory was decisive but came with tis casualties as well, Eleduwe lost his son in the war.

After this war, the Sokoto Calliphate gave up on annexing Yorubaland and the combats went back to tensions between Ilorin and Oyo…. Oluewu and Eleduwe lunched another campaign about 5 years after to take back Ilorin from the Fulani.

This had less soldiers in the ranks of the enemy than the previous war at Otefan… Ilorin however won, thanks to the treachery of the nobility within the ranks of Oyo army. it was in this battle that Eleduwe (a great friend of Yoruba people) lost his life.

 

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