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stories and histories IFE AND MODAKEKE WAR: INVASION OF ILE-IFE

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Adeyemi Olajide » IFE AND MODAKEKE WAR: INVASION OF ILE-IFE

Ooni Adegunle was the 42nd Ooni of ife. He reigned at a time when nobility of the Yoruba kingdoms rebelled against the monarchy and ruled for 10 years. His most important legacy was the founding of a refugee city in Ile Ife for the migrants of Oyo that fled from Mohammedan invasion. The city was called Modakeke.
Migrants from the sacked cities of Oyo were led by the Asirawo of Irawo whose city was among the many cities destroyed by the Mohammedans. They arrived Ife at the time of Ooni Akinmoyero. Their arrival caused some tensions between them and the natives. They looked at them with suspicion.
The Ooni forced them into a life of servitude. They were required to fetch woods and do series of manual labors for the natives of Ife in exchange for the right to live among them. He had their leader Asirawo executed to ensure the people did not have a leader they could unite under to resist.
Their fate in the hands of natives of Ife remained till the reign of Ooni Adegunle. He was said to know the secrets of farming and his crops were know to yield high returns…. This was why his praise singers acknowledge him as ‘abewe ila gbagada gbagada.’ ( one whose farm grows okras with big leaves). He gave them a settlement by the boarders of Ife and appointed one of them by the name Wingbolu to be chief of the new city.
The new chief took the title of Ogunsuwa ( Ogun has shown us favor). From then on, the Baales of Modakeke were known as Ogunsua ( Wingbolu still has a compound in Modakeke till today).
After the founding of the new city, all natives of Oyo left Ife and settled in the new city. More migrants escaping the Mohamedans from Ilorin also ran to the new haven, by the late 1800’s, the city had grown into a population of 60,000.
The natives of Ife took offence against Ooni Adegule for giving the people of Oyo autonomy. The nobles rose against him in an uprising with an intention to disgrace him from the throne.
The new settlement provided him with needed able bodied men to resist the uprising. The king overpowered the coup plotters and ordered them to be executed. He was killed by food poisoning. At the time of his death, he had become so infamous because of his support for the Oyo migrants that he was refused a royal burial.
Shortly after the death of the Ooni of Ife and benefactor of Oyo migrants, the people laid a siege on Modakeke. By this time, the refugees had organized themselves and it was much easier to resist the people of Ife.
They defeated the natives and captured 12,000 of them. the historical duty of Oyo has always been to protect Ile Ife. It was a sacrilege to cause any harm to the holy city. They released all the captives with a strong warning to leave them in peace.
Few weeks after, a high ranking noble of Ife by the name Ogunmakin launched another invasion on Modakeke. He got reinforcement from Oke Igbo and many Ife Towns. Once again, they were defeated and this time Modakeke sacked the kingdom of Ife. This time around, they sold the captives to the Ijebu slave merchants. They took their women and forced them to be their wives. Those that were not captured fled into neighouring city states of Ikoya and Oke Igbo. They remained in exile for many years until Bashorun Ogunmola of Ibadan negotiated a peace treaty with Modakeke that allowed them to come back home during the reign of Ooni Kumbusu.
The feud between Ife and Modakeke lasted till last decade.
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