Tuesday, 17 May 2016

KURUNMI : VALIANT WARRIOR (PART 2)

Pa Adio continued "The war between Ijaiye and Ibadan was heavy with casualties, and according to what we were told here as thousands of Ijaiye died in this war! If you walk eight miles from this town towards East, West, North and South you will discover a lot of clay pots, mud houses and shrines buried there thus evidencing that some people had lived here over two hundred years ago. They were probably buried here. We have excavated a lot."

He added, "The Ibadan war was the heaviest where casualties were many. I remember that over 141 towns defended Ibadan when she waged war against Ijaiye. We were betrayed while Alafin was against us. And you know if one town faces over 141 towns it is a big problem and that was how Ibadan won the war against us. They feared and respected Aare Kurunmi. His five children later died in the war while the skull of one of them was brought to him, thus he was shocked beyond doubt. He became devastated and dispirited."

Basorun Ogunmola ate ashes

Another version, according to Tijani said "Kurunmi captured Basorun Ogunmola alive and he was brought to Ijaiye where he was chained and was fed with ashes in the palace. That is where the Ibadan natives got their panegyrics 'Ogunmola, son of Ibadan who survived death in spite of eating the ashes (Ogunmola omo a la eeru ma ku). The story continued that in the night one of Aare Kurunmi's wives betrayed him as she secretly went to unfetter Basorun Ogunmola and assisted him to escape back home (Ibadan). When Basorun Ogunmola got to Ibadan he went to re-strategize and later invaded with over 141 neighbouring towns who supported him to win Ijaiye in the war. Not only this it was also revealed that the River Ose, a mysterious river which must not be passed through by non indigenes was demystified and the taboo was broken. The secret of its taboo was leaked to the warring enemies (Ibadan) who passed through and demystified the spiritual aspect of the river and since then it began to dry and made Ibadan to conquer them (Ijaiye)," Tijani added

Controversy over Kurunmi's death

While many said Kurunmi out of shame and frustration committed suicide by plunging into river Ose. Another said he was killed by enemies and buried by the Ose River while another said he was killed in the war and was brought home for burial, but there is no burial ground where he was buried up to date. But according to Adio, Aare died in his house after the war and was buried by the Ose river. He explained further, "when they wanted to bury him they had to bury three slaves along with him as the custom was. They used their spiritual power to stop the flowing of the river and after the burial the water was commanded and joined together again."

However, another version said, when he was about to be buried three slaves were selected, while two were beheaded and used as a bed in the grave but the third who could have been used as his pillow ran for his dear life and could not be caught. The escaped slave went to inform the Ibadan people that he knew where Aare Kurunmi was buried and Basorun Ogunmola sent for the head to be decapitated which he wanted to be used as a cup for drinking water but when they got there they discovered that the body of Kurunmi had been removed.
But Alhaji Shehu Tijani disagreed with Adio and said "Kurunmi's body was removed from the river bank to another place in the town and it was the only female daughter he had called Iyagbogbo, who knew where he was buried."

Mystery of the River Ose and Onponrin

At the bank of Ose river, Arawunmi Fatai, a security officer at Ijaiye High School, a native and a masquerader, said, "The river is mysterious, many strange things happened on the river, at times smoke comes up from the river, and a rainbow sign comes up while everywhere would be shaking, one's head would get swollen thus informing us that the powerful Aare Kurunmi is still in the river."

Tijani said, "At Onponrin there are some areas where grass failed to grow till this day, this was because it was part of the spots of war. The war raged on for years and it consumed lives! Till date grass does not grow here again."

Tombs of Kurunmi and Bowen

To many students, the name Kurunmi is synonymous to Ijaiye. About eight students interviewed claimed to know the history of Kurunmi. Adams Owolabi, who is an ex student of the school said the school has the tombs of the two titans, the Kurunmi monument and Bowen's tomb. "We were taught in school that these two people fought war, one used the Bible while the other, Kurunmi used gun. This school, Ijaiye High School, was formerly named after Kurunmi until some years later when it was changed to Ijaiye High School. I think the school should be called Kurunmi High School."

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