5.3d(vii) Interview and information on the Idiape Crisis of 1936 Ajia connection? Elite slaves’ involvement as baba kekere?
Who was the interviewer: Mallam A.B. Adua
Date: 10th January 1990
Where the interview took place: Ori Okoh Compound, Ilorin
Compound of the informant: Ori Okoh Compound, Ilorin
Approximate age of the informant: 53 years
Any other relevant details about the informant: He seems quite informed about the socio-political history of Ilorin.
Whether the informant was completely cooperative or not; and if not, why: He was cooperative.
Whether the informant wishes his/her name to be withheld: Not averse to name being used or published.
Name of the informant: Mallam Amuda Yusuf
Names of any other people present at the interview: Mallam Salihu Fagba
The Idiape Crisis
1 Have you ever heard of the “Idiape Crisis” or “Are-Olufadi Dispute” of 1936? Yes.
2 One of the baba kekere supporting the Olufadi side was Olokoba Ita-Ajia. Have you ever heard of him? Yes.
Of what compound or family was he a member? Same Ita Ajia, though not of Ajia family.
What can you tell me about him? He was a favourite of Emir Abdulkadir.
3 The other baba kekere supporting the Olufadi side was Umaru Sanda. Have you ever heard of him? Yes.
Of what compound or family was he a member? Ile Sanda, Adifa, Ilorin.
What can you tell me about him? He was liked by the Emir and had very free access into the Emir’s palace. In fact he was considered as a personal friend to the Emir.
4 One of the baba kekere supporting the Are family was Ibrahim Jagun. Have you ever heard of him? Yes.
Of what compound or family was he a member? Ile Jagun, Oke-Ita, Ilorin.
What can you tell me about him? He was also a favourite of the Emir. He worked hand in hand with Umar Sanda. A lot of people saw him as a link with the Emir.
5 The other baba kekere supporting the Are family was “Alhaji Office.” Have you ever heard of him? Yes.
Of what compound or family was he a member? Ile Alhaji Office, Ita-Ajia, Ilorin.
What can you tell me about him? Like the other two he was a friend to the Emir, and worked hand in hand with Sanda and Jagun.
Umar Sanda, a baba kekere, was a great friend and confidant of the Emir, Abdulkadir. He caused the Idiape Crisis.
The Emir, Abdulkadir, went to Kaduna on official business and sent word to the Baloguns about the date he would arrive back at Ilorin. The Baloguns sent word round the town so that the people would be around to give their Emir a rousing welcome. On this day, people went to the railway station to await the arrival of the Emir. Drummers began praising Sanda, and at a stage Balogun Morogo was so annoyed that he stopped the drummers from singing the praise of Sanda. They all welcomed the Emir back to Ilorin.
Later in the day, Balogun Morogo sent for all Baloguns and Mogaji Arẹ and instructed that none of them should pay a visit to the Emir. They agreed and stopped courtesy visits to the Emir. Even when he sent for them, they refused. Mogaji Arẹ and Babasale sent for traditional hunters and instructed them to get ready to fight the Emir. The hunters began singing “Ọmọ onilẹ fẹ lo ilẹ . . .” (“the son of the soil/land wants to use the land; so, strangers should leave . . .”
The Emir found the situation so embarrassing and the atmosphere so charged that he sent to Kaduna for protection. The Regional Government sent a detachment of policemen to Ilorin. When people saw scores of policemen with guns, they ran away, but Balogun Morogo went to the policemen and asked them to drop their guns. They did; he ordered them to sleep: they did. Balogun Morogo then went to the Emir and asked him to prepare himself for war. The Emir then sent a message to Alfa Agba (Alfa Agaka) to appeal to the people on his behalf, and to find out what his mistakes were, so that he could make amends.
When the Baloguns received the message sent by Alfa Agba, they calmed down and went to him. In answer to his question as to the cause of the crisis, they said all they wanted was to know the position(s) of Umar Sanda, Olokoba Ita-Ajia, Ibrahim Jagun, and Alhaji Office in Ilorin. The Emir said that the people mentioned were nothing but servants. The Baloguns then said that if this was so, the Emir should send them out of Ilorin. The Emir sent them out of Ilorin to different places (unnamed). That was the Idiape Crisis.
[signed off by Dr. E.B. Bolaji]