The Ekiti Peace Day (Kiriji Memorial Festival) is celebrated annually at Okemesi-Ekiti, Ekiti State since 2019 in conformity with the United Nations International Peace Day.
The 2022 Edition of Ekiti Peace Day (Kiriji Memorial Festival) will hold on Wednesday, 21 September at Owa Ajero’s Palace, Ijero-Ekiti, southwest Nigeria in honour of a Great Monarch and Great Ancestor, Oba Olamiloye Oyiyosoye the Ajero of the Ijero Kingdom who reigned between 1866 to 1901.
Prince Olamiloye Oyiyosoye was born to the Royal family of King Obaleyakin, the Ajero of Ijero-Ekiti who reigned between 1795 to 1815. Prince Olamiloye Oyiyosoye’s mother hailed from Igbara Odo -Ekiti, now in Ekiti Southwest Local Government Area of Ekiti State and his maternal grandmother hailed from Obalu-Ejigan family quarters in Efon Alaaye, Ekiti State.
He started his youthful life as a hunter and farmer in the hilly town of Efon Alaaye(His grandmother’s ancestral home town). His father Ajero Obaleyakin expanded the Ijero Kingdom to reach the Ilejemeje area of Ekiti land around the old Moba Kingdom during his reigns. Prince Olamiloye contested the throne of Ajero of Ijero Kingdom after the demise of Ajero Agbeleja bi arira (the great grandfather of the present Ajero Adewole, Arojojoye II) in 1866. The other main contestant was Prince Oluyeye, his brother of the same father.
Oba Olamiloye Oyiyosoye started his reign in 1866.He had rendezvous with history as a monarch who will not only champion the cause of the Ijero Kingdom but the entire Ekiti country. His cognomen is: “Oba Oyiyosoye, Oyiyosaye Ekiti Kete, Alahere Ekitikete, oni sa si ojo pa”. Meaning: “King Oyiyosoye, a monarch who is a salt of the entire Ekiti life, the one who owns a hut of refuge for Ekiti people and he who refused to stay under his shelter will remain under the showers of the rain”.
THE PIVOTAL ROLE OF AJERO OYIYOSOYE AT KIRIJI (EKITI PARAPO) WAR (1877-1893)
At the beginning of the EkitiParapo (Kiriji) war, Oba Olamiloye Oyiyosoye as a former hunter and local warrior began building a Palace Army that could face the onslaught of the Ibadan hostilities when the action of the young man, Fabunmi of Imesi- Igboodo (Okemesi -Ekiti) triggered the declaration of the war against the Ibadan /Oyo imperialists. Ajero Oyiyosoye foremost military General in the Ijero metropolis include Olomofe Otirikijuda, Akata, Fashua, Olorijanbe, Asigidi Ogun, Eisaba Atiritiri Emimo, Obanla Alomaja, Seriki Jojoola of Okeagba quarters, Olomese Adekuujale (the patriarch of the Alufa Dynasty), Eyejumu Okelapa among others.
The affairs of the Ijero Kingdom metropolis were under Chief Ejemu Anapaoran segbe when Ajero Oyiyosoye left for the Kiriji battlefield. His chivalry and military strategy made him volunteer to leave his throne for the battlefield to champion the cause of the Ekiti people as a freedom fighter and liberator. His royal presence at the war was not ceremonial but a real tug of war and eventful. He also served as a rallying point for all the EkitiParapo Army as he gave them the administrative and strategies of the war.
The pivotal role of Ajero Oyiyosoye in the EkitiParapo (Kiriji)war was noted by Reverend Samuel Johnson in his book Yoruba History published in 1921. The Oyo/Ibadan could have won the Kiriji war but “Ajero saved the day”. The Ajero through his magical power turned the “noon to night “,(“Ojo Osan di Oru”)which other schools of thought said was an eclipse of the sun. At the end of the war, there was no Victor, no Vanquish. The two warring parties had to sue for lasting peace.
AJERO OYIYOSOYE WAS ONE OF THE SIGNATORIES OF THE YORUBA PEACE TREATY OF 1886
Through the friendly mediation of the colonial Government in Lagos, The British Colonial Governor of Lagos, Sir Alfred Cornelius Moloney, the peace treaty was signed and agreed upon on Thursday, 23rd September 1886 and Ajero Oyiyosoye was one of the three Kings of Ekiti Confederacy Kingdoms that signed the treaty. Oba Okinbaloye, the Oore of Otun-Ekiti and Oba Otutubiosun, the Olojudo of Ido Faboro -Ekiti were also the principal signatories of the peace treaty on behalf of the Ekiti Pelupelu Obas.
It was the pious Ajero Oyiyosoye that first embraced Christianity in the Ijero Kingdom in 1886 after returning from the Kiriji war having moved by the Good News of Jesus Christ preached by Reverend Samuel Johnson, an Anglican Church clergyman of Oyo-Yoruba origin and a descendant of Alaafin Abiodun who was one of the British representatives at the Peace treaty. The homecoming of Princess Helena Fatoregun Ariwoola Doherty (nee Agbeleja) from Lagos galvanized the pioneering of Christianity in the Ijero Kingdom and indeed Ekitiland with fierce evangelism in 1894.