The Origin of Lagos – Isale Eko, Olowogbowo, Oko Faji and Popo Aguda

Origin of Lagos State

When Nigeria was governed on the basis of tribes such as Northern (Hausa), Western (Yoruba), and Eastern (Igbo) regions and the colonial Lagos older than Nigeria itself was being claimed as a part of the Yoruba Western region, by virtue of its location and Yoruba origin with reference to its Benin (Edo) royalty as far back as late 17th century and the American and Caribbean origins of the descendants of the Ologbowo and the Popo Aguda (Brazilian) returnees of the 1840s. Of course, original Lagosians of the time challenged the Lagos belongs the West theory; successfully proved the independence of the old Lagos (gede be L’ eko wa) not only stopped the attempt to merge Lagos with Western Nigeria but also got Lagos State as one of the first twelve states of Nigeria created in 1967.

Since 1967, cosmopolitan Lagos has moved from being the capital of Nigeria to a mega city of excellence which now sets the pace of political, social and economical development more than it has ever done in the past. This is because the origin of Lagos has been influenced by not only the (Idejo) chieftaincy, the Benin (Edo) Oba Ado royalty, the civilized and educated Saro (Olowogbowo) and Brazilian (Popo Aguda) returnees of the 1840s, the Tapa (Bida/Nupe), the Black Americans and the Caribbean (artisans of the early 19″ century Lagos). These lots constitutes the force that built up Original Lagos (Eko Akoko) before the cessation of the colony of Lagos to the British crown in 1861, long before the creation of the British protectorate of Nigeria in 1914.

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The original Lagosians established family compounds and business centres as far back as early 17th century, e.g. Iga Aromire, Iga Iduganran, and the agboles (compounds) of the four original settlements Isale Eko, Olowogbowo, Oko Faji and Popo Aguda. These settlements of Lafiaji/lkoyi, Ebute Meta/Yaba were added during the colonial days.

By virtue of the above stated, original Lagos (Eko Akoko) produced Nigeria’s first modern day professionals such as lawyer Sapara-Williams (1880), Doctor J. K. Randle, Engineer Herbert Macaulay, Journalist Kitoyi Ajasa, Chartered Accountant Akintola Williams etc. all of them from the early Olowogbowo settlements.

In my own opinion, those who fabricate the very recent theory that Oba Ashipa was a Yoruba from lsheri instead of a Benin Prince from the Oba of Benin (Edo State) were mischievously, politically motivated to historically confirm the story of politicians of the 1940s who claim that Lagos belongs to the West; Yoruba/West of the regional Nigeria. The then Lagos politicians of the Action Group Party controlled Western Nigeria went as far as to claim that some well known families of Lagos originated from Oyo, Ekiti, Ijebu, Egba, ljesha etc. in order to qualify them for membership of the Western Nigeria House of Assemble or the Nigerian Senate needless to say some got their fingers burnt when they were challenged by indigenes of the cities claimed in the 1940s.

It is very ridiculous to hear some academic historians challenge the historical Igbe songs of our innocent ancient Oloris (wives) of the Royal Houses just to please their political masters. Their types have been earlier exposed by the scriptures.

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May I however conclude this piece, by reference to the fact that ‘facts are sacred while falsehoods are Satanic and Perishable’.

As a direct descendant of Oba Akinsemoyin of Lagos, I feel obliged to write this piece on original Lagos (Eko Akoko) in order to confirm the history of Royalty in Lagos

Ademola Oladega Akinsemoyin

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