All these ones saying Lagos is a no man’s land, Are they drunk or what?
LAGOS IS NO MAN’S LAND because the name Lagos is a Portuguese word – Igbo leader, Campbell Umeh-Nzekwe told PREMIUM TIMES in an interview..
I will like to educate and enlighten this man and many others who are ignorant of history and suffers intellectual deficiency, so because Lagos is a Portuguese word, he is now saying its a no man’s land,that means Nigeria too is a no man’s land because the name Nigeria is not Yoruba,Hausa or Igbo, so Niger and Ghana people can come in and take over! Even Port-Har-Court is now a no man’s land! and some even said Benin are the owner of Lagos, yes they had a contact with Lagos but they were not the first occupants.
In fact its time I dispense what am studying, I study Lagos history as a compulsory course at Lagos State University lectured by Dr.Sanni (an indigenous Lagosian and a scholar of Lagos history)Now to all of you shouting Lagos is a no man’s land, please stay attentive as I tell u how the name Lagos, Eko and who first occupied Lagos are.
How did we come about the name LAGOS??
Undoubtedly, the word LAGOS is derived from the Portuguese word, “LAGOS” meaning LAGOONS(and not prison as some people speculate). The word Lagos could be traced to LANCELOT DE FREITAS (a Portuguese man) who himself was a local Lagosian in his native home of Lagos in Portugal, in the course of the Portuguese voyage of 1431-1462(14th century), LANCELOT DE FREITAS stopped to get provision around the modern day carter bridge,and looking towards Ebute Metta,he recorded in his log book the word”LAGOS” thus, named after a place surrounded by water(he saw that carter bridge where he bought provision in 1450 was surrounded by water,hence,he gave it the name LAGOS).
THE NAME EKO????
There are two versions to this very one but it will be summarily explained to a plausible version. According to J.B Llosi M. book titled “History of Lagos” Lagos was founded and first occupied by a group of hunters led by Olofin Ogunfunminire, a prince from Ile-Ife, who first settled at Isheri-Olofin, a community situated 12 miles north of Lagos.
From Isheri, series of dispersal led to the founding of other Yoruba Awori settlement such as Iropa, Irepu, Ado-Odo, Ogudu, Ikeja, Ojota etc. South ward movement led to the settlement of Yaba later on Ebute-Metta, Oto and Ido which later became the home of the Olofin (first leader of Lagos).
Although JB Losi vernacular version of his write up vindicate that prior to the movement of Ogunfunminire; there were early Yoruba Awori settlements such as Olopon, Tomuwe, Omuse, Alase etc who had settled before the coming of the Olofin (Ogunfunminire). These groups were said to have moved from Egun Ibeji an ancient Yoruba Awori settlement that has gone into extinction.
After the settlement of Olofin’s(prince Ogunfunminire) group,his children who were collectively known as ALADEJO (A Group Of Fishermen/Fishermen Co-Operative) settled at different parts of Lagos. The earliest settlements was led by ‘AROMIRE’ who swam across the lagoon and established a settlement on the LAGOS ISLAND. This further encouraged his brothers to settle in different parts of Lagos such that some of them bears the name that correspond with their settlement. E.g Oloto at Oto, Ojora at Ijora, Oniru at Iru, Oluwa (Apapa) at Iwa, Elegushi which constitute the modern day Victoria Island.
Where do the Benin come into the history of Lagos?
After critical study, juxtaposition and consolidation.The involvement of Benin in Lagos politics could be traced back to the quarrel of Olofin’s children and a female personality named “AINA”. Aina was accused of witchcraft, all her goats were killed as a result of this accusation and all effort to seek redress with Olofin failed. She therefore complained to the King of Benin (Oba Orhogbua) who sent his warriors to attack and build a war CAMP in Lagos under the leadership of one “Aseru”.
Let me explain one thing at this very point, “EKO” is the name of the Benin for WAR CAMP. Aseru who was the commander of the Benin military camp undertook military expeditions to the towns situated north of Lagos and was killed during one of such operation in the marshes of Isheri.
One Yoruba personality, “ASHIPA” was said to have led an Isheri party that took the dead body of Aseru to Benin for burial in accordance with Benin tradition. This singular act of returning Aseru body to Benin was rewarded by the Oba of Benin who made Ashipa the first Eleko of Eko or Oloriogun i.e the military commander of his troops in Lagos. At his death, Ashipa was succeeded by Ado his son was in turn succeeded by Gabaro and Akinsemoyin (in that order).
Nevertheless,available evidence seems to be pointing to the fact that the brief control of Lagos by the Benin was achieved by military conquest and the fact that the earliest settlers were not the Edo but the Awori Yorubas. The reasons for this position are not far to seek. Viewed from the linguistic angle,it appears that the language more indigenous to Lagos is the Awori dialect of the Yoruba.
The nucleus of this settlement of the Benin was the Enu-Owa area which today still retains the evidence of Benin architecture, culture and customs. Not too long after the Benin conquest of the forces of the Olofin, the Edo who did not occupy the Iddo Island but stayed in the Enu-Owa would appear to have been attracted to the relatively older and comparatively more developed and suitable for human dwelling area of their Awori brethren. During the reign of Eleko Gabaro, the capital and seat of administration was effectively transferred to Idun-Iganran (pepper palace) which has since been the seat of government.
In totality, the period of the Awori’s settlement and that of Benin represented two different periods in Lagos history, while the first Yoruba Awori’s period represented the period when Lagos emerged as OKO (farmland) following Aromire’s establishment of the Island as a farmland.
The second period represented the conquest and the brief occupation of Lagos by the Benin and the encampment of Lagos as Eko.
For the foregoing analysis,the antiquity of the Yoruba Awori settlement in Lagos seem not to be in doubt.
Conclusively, the modern day Lagos is the commercial hub and social vibe of Nigeria, Lagos was the federal capital of Nigeria from Amalgamation till 1991 when Former Head of State, Ibrahim Babaginda moved the Federal Capital from Lagos to Abuja.
One of the reasons IBB gave then was that, Lagos serves the purpose of just the Yorubas since its their indigenous state hence the need to move the Federal capital to a more central region(That’s why we have the FCT in Abuja today).
If Lord Lugard had not amalgamated Nigeria (and made Lagos the FCT due to the development and potentials Lagos had even before oil money) will people be migrating and running to Lagos virtually everyday; only to call it a no man’s land neglecting the fact that,some people’s ancestors first occupied and developed it thousands of years ago?
However, I am not a Tribalist but a Nigerian and a Yoruba Nationalist to the core, despite the fact that I want a united Nigeria where love and tolerance reign. I won’t sit back and watch some ill-informed ignorant-um igorantatus; ignorant of history to point to Lagos, a state with thousands of years of Traditional leadership as a NO MAN’S LAND! I surely won’t take that from anybody, I know of several people whose ancestors were pioneers of Lagos settlement,they don’t have any home but Lagos,yet you look at their heritage and say its not for them,this is bad and inhuman!
Let’s learn to LIVE in harmony and tolerance but don’t rape or ridicule the traditional heritage of others. Come to LASU, you will see indigenes bearing ALAUSA, ask them how the name came about, they will tell you the name which is carryover from their ancestors; has been existing for hundreds of years.
The Likes of Umeh Nzekwe and his cohorts should know that despite the fact that the indigenes and first settlers of Lagos are cool and accommodating, their hospitality doesn’t mean they don’t know their history or where they are coming from and they won’t let anybody(whoever they are or how fond of us they are) take what doesn’t belong to them or try to share what even Lord Lugard that amalgamated us met on ground.