Lagos (Eko) is owned by the Aworis
As a full blooded Awori, I disagree with the futile attempt to rewrite the history of Aworis and by extension the Yorubas as credited to Alhaji Ridwan Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos.
Firstly, the Island of Lagos was owned by the progenitor of Aworis, the Legendary Olofin Ogunfunminire, it served as pepper farm plantation.
In order to curb unwarranted stealing of pepper, okro and other vegetables that people came from far and near to buy from the Aworis, they devised a plan to have their farm beyond the lagoon as Otto near the present Iddo Railway terminus used to be the meeting point for both the sellers and buyers of pepper and vegetable produce then.
It was easier for them to monitor movements to the “oko ata” (pepper farm) since canoe would be needed to transport people to the other side of the lagoon and the Bini traders and other non-Awori people that normally come to patronise the pepper market would naturally not come with canoes. A bigger form of canoe were used to bring people from Bini (Benin) to “oko” (farm) and the misuse of words made the Binis to turn “oko” to a Bini word they were more comfortable with i.e “eko”.
Secondly, the Aworis were not part of the followers of Prince Izoduwa (Oduduwa) to any imaginary expedition to Ife. The Aworis were the direct descendants of Olofin. They left Ile Ife in accordance with the divination of Ifa that the natural settlement which Eledumare (Supreme Being) had prepared for them was far from Ile Ife and they could only know the right environ if the ritual they prepared was accepted by the River Ogun goddess. The Aworis set out for the journey until the ritual sacrifices were accepted at the Isheri end of River Ogun in the present day geographical expression called Lagos State.
Many empires rose and fell without any of such empires conquering the Aworis. When the Bini Empire rose after the fall of Oyo Empire, Oba of Benin ensured that Bini war guards were sent to “Oko ata” called Eko by the Binis, to protect his subjects trading interest and in an attempt to possibly extend its frontiers as a reigning empire. Therefore, the Bini soldiers devised a means of survival by collecting royalty fee from the traders to maintain their stay and survival on Aworiland.
Having stationed themselves in Lagos, under the leadership of Addo and with the influence of Oba of Benin, they became notorious, power drunk and authoritative. Addo installed himself as the Oba of Lagos which was a small fraction of Aworiland and since, as a matter of fact, the population of the Aworis as of that time was too small to physically occupy their whole territory (even now), they decided not to show any keen interest in the development.
The descendants of Addo ruled and named their various quarters and stations in Bini words until Erelu Kuti, a brave and respected Awori Princess, who married an Ijesha man seized the paraphernalia of Oba and insisted that her two sons should become the Obas at the same time. (I’m sure no Oba of Lagos would like to give details of this story).
At any rate, the Aworis weren’t interested in contesting a situation where an immigrant was chosen to lead his fellow immigrants as Oba since the fact that the land belonged to the Aworis was not in doubt and the institution of a central Obaship was not being practised by the Aworis then.
The Oba of Lagos, right from Addo to Akiolu had never contested the issue of who owned the land. They had always accepted the fact that Aworis, known as “Idejos” of Lagos, are the landowners. The Aromires are actually from Ejigbo in the present day Oshodi/Isolo Local Government Area of Lagos State.
If Oba Akiolu claims today that Lagos is not part of Yorubaland and the “idejos” keep mute, then Oba Akiolu should be able to convince us that Lagos was part or annex of Bini territory the very same stupidity of the theory that claimed Hong Kong as part of Britain not withstanding the distance between the two separate territories.
If Oba Akiolu’s claim stands, then, Every Sabo, Sango, Idi Araba, Obalende and Agege in Yorubaland belongs to the Arewa immigrants and Ajao Estate, Ajegunle and Okota equally belong to the Igbo and consequently not parts of Yorubaland.
According to the Yorubas, eniti o fe je oye ti ko to si a mura lati pa itan kitan. (Whoever aspires to be accorded an undeserving title should be prepared to rewrite the history of the people).
Oba Akiolu is neither an Awori nor Yoruba, his forebears are not Lagosians in the real sense of the word. They were Binis (Arota Bini ni won). He is only making a futile attempt to rewrite history in a way that will favour his children’s claim to Oba of Lagos throne. He is the first and probably going to be the only one from his lineage to ascend the throne judging by the unfolding trend of events. He knows why he said what was credited to him if he actually stand by the story.
I am not an Historian but as bona fide Awori, I know the oral tradition of my ancestors. Let no Bini Oba in Aworiland corruptly retell the story of our land.
Kiiti gbe niibe o?
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