THE IJEBU AND LAGOS
By Engr Kayode Sote,FNSE
However, a historical odyssey into this discourse gives an insight into who truly owns Lagos or most part of Lagos State.
1. THE FIRST EDUCATED IJEBU BEFORE 1892
They were the first generation of educated Ijebu those who could read and write. They were the prominent Ijebu in the Colony of Lagos. They include Otunba Payne of Orange House now (Central Bank). They championed and protected the interest of Ijebu at home and abroad.
In the photograph are: Pastor J.B Sadare (sitting second left) who gave his private building for commencement of Ijebu-Ode Grammar School in 1913. Sitting third left to the last is Apebi Josiah Macaulay Adekoya Ogunade. Sitting in the centre is the (Resident) followed by Otubushi, Oderindes.
Standing 2nd from right is Onabanjo (Master tailor). 3rd from left is Oshiboye Ipaye, 4th from left Moses Odutayo (1st Ijebu man buy a car in 1923), Sekoni Okubadejo 2nd right standing.
2.WHO OWNS THE LAND..?
I’ve read several historical submissions on this platform on the ownership of Lagos but each time, the Ijebu are never referred to as Lagosians, even though, we’re proud to be Ijebu and of our traditional home than being called by another nomenclature or integrated into another community.
However, I would like to throw a banter or weekend jab to the Omoluabi Eko, my Lagos brothers and sisters for an excursion into history.
The Ijebu are more Lagosian than most Lagosians, but how..?
In 1892, the British Forces invaded Ijebu-Ode in order to dismantle the administrative setup of the Awujale on the throne of his forefather, Oba Adesimbo Aboki Tunwase,(1886-1895) in order to open-up Ijebuland to the Yoruba of the hinterland for free trade, introduction of the gospel, Christianity and western education to Ijebuland. However, in order to achieve these objectives, they waded a devastating war called Imagbon War and succeeded in overpowering the Ijebu Army after their second and last expedition. The aftermath of the defeat resulted in the destruction of the unchallengeable authority of the Awujale and annexation of a vast area of Ijebuland to the present Lagos State to create the Lagos Colony.
So who owns Lagos State, the Aworis, Benin’s, Egba, Ibo..? Historically, our Papa’s Land of the old included but not limited to Ijebu-Ode but expansive to the shore of Lagos Lagoon incorporating Ejinrin, Noforija, Eredo, Odoragunsen, Epe, Ajah, Lekki, Ibeju, Badore, Ikorodu, Imota, Shomolu, Bariga and all the catchment areas within the continental shelf of Lagos lagoon. It is on record that when Oba Kosoko was sent on exile, the Oloja of Epe welcomed him and his entourage and gave him the full privilege of a King in a foreign land. When he was later recalled back to his throne, some of his people remained and this resulted in Ijebu-Epe and Eko-Epe with two separate Oba in Ijebuland
Furthermore, it is also on record that the Ijebu settled in Lagos in the early 1823 , established businesses, vocational services and built properties in Idumagbo, Ebute Ero, Bamgbose, Tokunbo, Broad, Nnamdi Azikiwe and some other key areas of the city. Otunba Payne, an Ijebu man owned the present sites of CBN, old Gulf Oil office,, Leventis building, amongst others. With all these properties, the Ijebu are not intoxicated like Omo nna who’ started trooping in Aganabo trucks in 1950”s courtesy of Sir Louis Odumegwu -Ojukwu. They came in as street hawkers and itinerant Atari. nile ejika ni Shop but are now claiming the ownership and development of Lagos.
What an insult, gross insensitivity and act of ingratitude to the amiable Omo Eko. I think they should, along with their Yoruba collaborators and political apologists, be told that Bibire kose f’owo ati container ra