The memoirs of the 16 years Kiriji war and its effect in Yorubaland was brought back to life on Friday in Imesi ,Osun state as members of the community began a move to transform the way site into tourism potentials for economic
development of the town.
kiriji war, an internecine war which ravaged yorubaland is the longest war in the world it was war fought to resist the the overbearing influence of Ibadan over Ekiti, and Osun and ended on September 23rd 1886 after a peace treaty was signed by stakeholders in Imesi.
Annually, the people of Imesi gathered to celebrate Kiriji day, a day to remind themselves of the war and at the same time remember their loves one who died during the war, they visited the war sites ,battlefield and showcase the relics of some of materials used by warriors during the war.
Some of the war sites in Imesi includes Ibu latoosa a spot where latoosa was killed , Fejeboju stream, therapeutic and healing water where wounded soldiers healed their wound with water from the stream, for years the water was red, Asasa caves, a site with 9 caves that can takes between 200 and 500 people at a time, blacksmith spot, Masoleum of Mass burial where over 400 soldiers guiding Latoosa were killed and buried, Aga Ogedengbe ,the confederate High command and the proclamation spot.
Asides the monument some materials including war garment, charms , guns sword and masquerade were always displayed during the remembrance
But the 2018 celebration of Kiriji day celebrations took another dimension as Kiriji Cultural Foundation in initiates a developmental plans with launching of infrastructural projects on the site with the intent to transform Imesi Ile into a tourism destination by adding value to historical spot to world standard tourists centre in the state.
Dignitaries from all walks of live including representatives of Osun State ministry of home affairs, culture and tourism, Representative of Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Eniitan Ogunwusi Ojaja Ii, Chief Jimoh Aliu, Erelu Funmi Rotiba,members of Imesi Progressive Association and others participated in the tour during the foundation for development in all the sites were laid.
Ooni of Ife who was represented by Oba Fayemi Oluwamayowa Elerefe of Irefe in Osun state commended Kiriji war foundation their decision to preserve sites where an important aspect of Yoruba history took place, adding that visiting the place will always remind us of the need to stay in peace and harmony and avoid anything that lead to war.
Speaking in the development, Founder Kiriji war foundation, Otunba Sola Ojo Wiliams said, the rationale behind the move is to attracts more visitors and enhance economic development of Imesi through historical tourism sites which we have in the community
‘This is the centre of Ekiti Parapo war, most of what transpired then happened here and instead of allowing the sites to be wasting away we have decided to add value to it and transform it into a tourism destination in the state “
“Before now we usually go to the sites every year with top personalities Governor Oyinlola use to be part of it , Aare Gani Adams and his team have also been here.”
Ojo also hinted that the Federal government has approved the construction of a museum where all the relics would be kept and that effort is ongoing to enlists the sites into one of the world heritage sites in Nigeria . also that the state government under the leadership of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola also took some steps in developing a site by erecting pavilion and a staircase.
Engineer Sukanmi Olamijulo, Chairman, Imesi Ile Progressive Association IPA in an interview with TTH said ” The projects have been tagged to some organization and individuals and assured that before the next Kiriji day celebration the projects would have been completed.” Adding that they are collaborating with the state government on the project .
Hon Olalekan Omole, Chairman Obokun East LCDA who was also part of the tour said, ‘The launching of the developmental projects on the war sites is a welcome idea which should be supported by all and sundry,” We are all happy with this move and i believe this is part of our vision for the state, tourism development will enhance development because it is another good source of income, i want to advise the Federal and state governments to be consistent in promoting culture tourism in the country, this country is endowed with a lot of potentials.”
A tourist and visitor to Imesi Ambassador Wasir commended the initiatives and urge them to ensure a proper security is in place to protect not only the tourists site but tourists visiting the sites, ” Tourism is a a great source of income. its a non oil potential that can generate good income for the country, many countries thrives on tourism alone and i am sure Nigeria can also get to a level with increasing flow of tourist and cash into our economy.”
Oluaye Adetoyese Olakisan Abdulahi,Oluaye Oba Ogboni Agbaye is of the view that apart from the infrastructural and annual celebrations, traditional rite should also be performs periodically to avoid further bloodshed an at the same time use it to appease to the spirit of those who were killed during the war.
The event ended at the palace square with cultural dance from Osun state cultural troupe and others as well as masquerade display by Oyiiri and Gbadobiogan, two of powerful war masquerades that also joins in prosecuting the war.