chapter  [16]
10 Pages

Professional Warriors in Nineteenth-century Yoruba Politics

WithJ. F. A. Ajayi

The activities of different warriors loom large in the Yoruba Wars of the nineteenth century. The professional warrior was encouraged by the challenge of the troubled times, and by the changing nature of warfare. Afonja, the Kakanfo of the opening years of the nineteenth century and the sixth on record, typified these characteristics. His career showed how the various devices had failed to prevent the warrior from increasing interference in politics and civil administration. In some centres, one dominant warrior established supremacy and obliged the civil authorities to take dictation from him. This was the case with Kurunmi of Ijaye. The civil authorities from Old Oyo moved to a new capital, new Oyo; the warriors established their power at places like Ijaye and Ibadan. Nothing illustrates better the nature of the role of warriors in politics and the conflict between the ethos of the military life and normal civil administration than the career of Ogedengbe, the Ijesha war chief.