Posthumous Honour for Kiriji (EkitiParapo) Peace Makers, Captain Robert Lister Bower, Oore Okinbaloye and other Pacifists Remembered. Memorials across the world pay tribute to “fallen soldiers,” but virtually none exist for those who fought for peace.
Unusual valour, powerful heroes, and unsung soldiers are the phrases that describe always Kiriji heroes, men who fought the Ekiti Parapo war of liberation of the last decade of the 19th century. The war brought lasting peace and unity to the Yoruba nation about 136 years ago. As we always remember our ancestors who served during the sixteen years of wars in our Yoruba nation before the amalgamation of Nigeria. The annual festival of #EkitiPeaceDay is contrived to celebrate the universal value of peace, freedom, and development which our forebears exemplified. Our ancestors of Ekiti Parapo fought Kiriji War from 1877 to 1893 for 16 years the long civil war in world history.
The Yoruba peace treaty was signed at the mid-station of the war by our ancestors on 23rd September 1886, at Imesi-Ile, now in the Osun State of Nigeria. They deserve our eternal gratitude as our heroes and pacifists.”
The annual #EkitiPeaceDay (Kiriji Memorial Festival) will be an extraordinary festival dedicated to their memorial and commissioning new work across the spectrum of creativity, the culture of peace, and sustainable development in the Ekiti State of Nigeria.”
Captain Sir Robert Lister Bower would be the first European to visit Ekiti country in September 1886 after he left the Kiriji battleground of Imesi Ile and paid visitation to Ajero Oyiyosoye at Ijero-Ekiti, Captain Sir R.L. Bower would later become the first Ajele” (Resident Colonial Officer) of the Yoruba land in 1893 and he stationed his headquarters at Idiogun Ibadan, Kiriji war ended finally in 1893 and a result of “Pax Britannica (British peace) that was made effective in the colony that ushered in another new era of modernization in Yoruba hinterland.
Captain Sir Robert Lister Bower, KBE, CMG, KPM (12th August 1860 – 13th June 1929) was a British Army, and Colonial Police officer Bower came from an old Yorkshire family. His father was Robert Hartley Bower of Welham Hall, Malton and his mother, Marcia was a daughter of Sir John Lister kay, 2nd Baronet of Denby Grange, UK. He was educated at Harrow School, London, United Kingdom.
Bower went to Harrow School in 1874 and was later commissioned into the Kerry Militia, from where he transferred to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in 1881. He served in the Egyptian campaign of 1882 and fought. He also served in the 1884 Sudan Campaign, fighting at EL Teb Tamai, where he was mentioned in dispatches, and in the Nile expedition of 1884-1885, being mentioned in the dispatches twice more.
In 1892 he served with the Ijebu expedition in West Africa and from 1892 to 1893 he was the political officer at Ijebu Ode. From 1893 to 1897 he was a British Resident Officer at Ibadan, Nigeria.
In 1898, he was appointed constable of the North Riding of Yorkshire. He served in this role until his death, with a break in 1914-1916 when he returned to the Army as Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General in Egypt. He was appointed the Commander of the order of British Empire (CBE) in the 1920 Civilian War honour and was promoted to Knight Commander of British Empire (KBE) in the 1925 Birthday honours. Bower died suddenly from heart failure brought on by pneumonia on 13, June 1929.
Prince ‘Leke Oyebade, the great-grandson of Oba Olamiloye Oyiyosoye, the Ajero of Ijero who reigned between 1866 to 1901, could write in his book, Ajero Oyiyosoye and the Ekiti Parapo War (2001) page 54: “This was the situation on the ground when the British representatives led battlefield in September 1886 to effect lasting peace among two tired, thoroughly warned out brother belligerents” …
What history has done is irreversible, Major Sir Robert Lister Bower was the first European to visit Ekiti land in 1886. and his great and indelible contributions to effect lasting peace in the Kiriji war, as a British Colonial Officer is ineffaceable and an imprint on the sands of time. Without glossing over the tragic violence and the evils of the Ekiti Parapo (Kiriji) war.
The example of the cause to end the war offered by the British Empire in the colonies of Africa should be an inspiration for our own generation that lives with a precarious peace threatened by terrorism.
The great people of Ibadan land erected a tower in honour of Captain Sir Robert Lister Bower in 1936 as a mark of honour and tribute to the British Colonial Officer who was not only an administrator but a pacifist and benefactor of the entire people of Yoruba land.
Oba Okinbaloye, the Oore of Otun-Ekiti, the paramount ruler of Moba land was a great monarch and warrior that prevented the Fulani Jihadists from Ilorin to entering Ekiti land in his Mobaland domain, he was also the traditional monarch who took up the matter of Kiriji war ignited by Fabunmi of Okemesi-Ekiti and summoned the Pelupelu Obas ( Premier Ekiti monarchs) in the 16 Ekiti confederacy kingdoms to his palace and they prearranged on how to liberate Ekiti land from the manacles of Ibadan imperialism and thraldom.
At the maiden #EkitiPeaceDay on September 21, 2019, at Afe Babalola Gardens, Okemesi-Ekiti, we paid posthumous honour and tribute to Sir Alfred Moloney, the British colonial Governor who through his friendly mediation the Kiriji (Ekiti Parapo) war ended, Reverend Samuel Johnson, the famous Yoruba historian and Kiriji pacifist and mediator was honoured posthumously, the descendants of Ajero Oyiyosoye of Ijero-Ekiti who fought for Ekiti liberation and among the signatories of 23rd September 1886 were in attendance and one of them Princesses Adebimpe Adedimeji (nee Oyebade) was made the Ambassador of Peace.
We will forever pay a debt of gratitude to the peacemakers of Kiriji as we remember the Ekiti Parapo warriors too through our festival annually by commissioning new works of creativity and tourism development of our Ekiti State. We pray that the descendants of peacemakers will flourish forever, and their glory will never be stained. As we remember them in peace, may their name live on from generation to generation.
24 NAMES OF PERSONALITIES THAT SIGNED THE YORUBA PEACE TREATY OF SEPTEMBER 23,1886 A.D
The following were those that signed the peace treaty:
- Adeyemi, The Alafin of Oyo
- Ajayi Balogun, Ibadan
- Osuntoki Maye, Ibadan
- Fijabi Abese, Ibadan
- Fajinmi Agbakin, Ibadan
- Tahajo Otun Bale, Ibadan
- Agunloye, Owa Ilesa
- Okinbaloye Owore, Otun
- Oyiyosoye Ajero, Ijero
- Odundun Olojudo, Ido
- Ogedemgbe Seriki, Ilesa
- Derin Ologbenla, Ooni-elect, Ife
- Awotionde Obalufe, Ife
- Oramuyiwa Obajiwo, Ife
- Akintola Obaloran, Ife
- Osundalu Ajaruwa, Ife
- Jojo Arode, Ife
- Aworinlo Arisaure, Ife
- Oga Balogun, Ife
- Ogunwole Ogunsua, Modakeke
- Sowo, for Balogun, Modakeke
- Ayanleye, for Ogunsua, Modakeke
- Aboki Awujale, Ijebu
- Onafowokan, Balogun, Ijebu
Signed, sealed, and delivered in the presence of the undersigned, after the terms and conditions therein, contained had been interpreted and explained by us, or one of us to the respective signatories.
(Signed) Samuel Johnson, Clerk in Holy Orders, Messenger and Interpreter for the Governor, (Signed) Charles Phillips, Clerk in Holy Orders, Messenger and Interpreter for the Governor.
Date: Thursday, September 23rd,1886 A.D