The late Chief Ogedengbe Agbogubgboro, the Generalissimo of Ekiti Army was born at Atorin, a village about twenty kilometres from Ilesha in the now Atakomosa East Local Government areas.
This was his mother’s village; his father’s village was Oke-Orisa which is about the same distance from Ilesha and in the same present day Local Government areas as Atorin. Before Ogedengbe was born, the Ifa oracle predicted that he was going to be the saviour of Ijeshaland. The name given to Ogedengbe at birth was SARAIBI. He was born as a normal child and he grew up at Atorin as a healthy industrous young man.
From the early years of his life, it became clear that he was very strong and surpassed all his mates in acts of valour, whenever he engaged in wrestling with his mates, he always floored them, hence the name “OGEDENGBE”. In adulthood, Ogedengbe engaged in several campaigns against the Ibadan people who were oppressing and attacking the Ijesha people. During one of such campaigns, he was captured and taken to Ibadan.
It was on this occassion the Ibadan people put tribal marks on his face before releasing him. He fought in the Ibadan army until he became a senior military commander and then returned to fight and lead the Ijesha forces. After this, he gathered a large army of Ijesha young men and engaged in several bitter fightings against the Ibadan people.
Ogedengbe exploits also took him to Ekiti and Akoko areas where he sold a lot of them into slavery. This was why he was often referred to as “O soko Ekiti soko Akoko”. He also went as far as the present day Edo state. The Oba of Benin had to appeace him before he desisted from waging war against his domain. He gave Ogedengbe presents of beads, slaves and other valuable articles.
After this exploit, Ogedengbe returned to Igbara-Oke intending to settle down there. This was the time when the Ibadan people engaged the Ijeshas and the Ekitis in a fierce war at Oke-Imesi. The leaders of the Ijeshas and the Ekitis had to persuade Ogedengbe to come and lead them as his unrivalled exploits had become a legend in the whole of Yoruba land. He agreed and went to the battle field to check the inordinate ambition of the Ibadan people.
The fighting went on for about nine years . It was Captain Bower, the then resident commissioner at Ibadan who finally settled the war by a treaty in 1886 (23rd September, 1886) after he had won the war.
It was due to all these attributes that he possessed that made him into a local hero in his town. Ogedengbe subsequently became one of the most important men in the history of Yorubaland, Nigeria and Africa, hence the name ‘OGEDENGBE AGBOGUNGBORO’ meaning ‘OGEDENGBE THE WARRIOR’
It began in the 19th century, a century of revolution in Yorubaland, after the fall of the old Oyo Empire due to political crisis. Ibadan, a new city founded in the 1820s wanted to dominate and rule the rest of the Yorubaland and as result, there were wars among the kingdoms of the Yorubas.In particular the Kiriji war (also known as the sixteen years war) which started in 1877, it involved the struggle for power, influence and survival.The Ibadan on declared ‘a war to end all wars’ on the Egba on Monday, 30th July 1877, the Kiriji war officially begun.
The Ijebu joined and it began to spread. In 1878, it spread to the east, the Ekiti and Ijesa countries became united and formed an alliance known as Ekiti-parapo (the combined forces of the Ijesa and Ekiti) which was led by Ogedengbe of Ilesha . The Ife and Ilorin later joined. Ibadan now had a string of foes that were ready to fight for their independence and also to free themselves from Ibadan imperialism.