Lagos- The Centre of Excellence

Carter Bridge Lagos

Lagos is the largest city in Nigeria and the largest in sub-Saharan Africa.
Modern-day Lagos is now a state in South-Western Nigeria. It is bounded on the west by the Republic of Benin, to the north and east by Ogun State with the Atlantic Ocean providing a coastline on the south.Area

It has a total of 3,577 square kilometers; 787 square kilometers is made up of lagoons and creeks including: Lagos Lagoon, Lagos Harbour, Five Cowrie Creek, Ebute-Metta Creek, Porto Novo Creek, New Canal, Badagry Creek, Kuramo Waters and Lighthouse Creek.
Pre-colonial history
Prior to the Portuguese name of Lagos being adopted, Lagos was called Eko, which stems from either Oko (Yoruba: “cassava farm”) or Eko (“war camp”), by its Benin conquerors.
Around 650 years ago the Oba of Benin sent trade expeditions to Ghana, where spices were traded, and one of his traders complained about the way she was being treated by the Awori people. The Oba of Benin then sent a trade expedition by sea which declined to engage the people and returned to what is now called Benin City where he reported to the Oba of Benin that they were attacked. This prompted the Oba of Benin to assemble a war expedition led by Ado, a Benin Prince. The expedition went to Lagos and demanded an explanation.
On getting there, they were well received. The people were so enamored with Ado they asked him to stay and lead them. He agreed on the condition that they surrendered their sovereignty to the Oba of Benin to which they agreed. The Oba of Benin was told this and he gave his permission for the expedition to remain. The Oba of Benin later sent some of his chiefs, including the Eletu Odibo, Obanikoro and others, to assist Ado in the running of Eko.
Till today, the Oba of Lagos is the head of all the Kings in Lagos State and his status is different from other Oba’s most of whom were later given back their crowns and staff of office only within the last 40 years. Those who got their crowns back were the original land owners (Olofin’s children). Modern-day Lagosians have so intermingled that no single tribe or people can claim it even though the predominant language is Yoruba.
The present day Lagos state has a higher percent of this sub-group who allegedly migrated to the area from Isheri along the Ogun river. History has it that the Awori were actually from Ife, the cradle of Yorubaland. The Awori people are a peaceful people initially not taken to warfare. Due to war, those from the hinterlands, like the Ekiti, ran towards Isheri, which at that time had more than one Olofin (Alafin)who were heads of settlements about 1400AD.
With the fleeing people from the hinterlands most of them scattered again, some to Iro, to Otta, Ado, others to Ebute Metta i.e. three landing places – Oyingbo, Iddo Island and Lagos Island (Eko). The Olofin that brought those who went to Ebute-Metta was Ogunfunminire later known as Agbodere. With the full commencement of the war about 2000 moved to the nearest island of Iddo, others to Otto Awori or Otto Ijanikin towards modern-day Badagry. Those from Ekiti Aramoko came to Ebute-Metta, Iddo and then Ijora.
After the demise of Agbodere, the name Olofin became the name used to remember him while a title of Oloto was given to his successor. With one of his sons becoming the Oloto his other children parted ways to what is known as visible settlements in present-day Lagos.
Until the coming of the Benins, Lagos’s geographic boundary was Lagos Mainland. Lagos Island, the seat of the Oba of Lagos, then consisted of a pepper farm and fishing posts. No one lived there. The name Eko was given to it by its first king, Oba Ado, during its early history; it also saw periods of rule by the Kingdom of Benin.
Eko was the land area now known as Lagos Island where the king’s palace was built. The palace is called Iga Idunganran, meaning “palace built on the pepper farm”. Oba Ado and the warriors from Benin, as well as some of the indigenous people who sought safety, settled down in the southern part of Eko called “Isale Eko”, Isale literally meaning bottom, but must have been used to indicate downtown (as in Downtown Lagos).
Notable events
The first king of Lagos, Oba Ado, apart from having two sons also had a daughter Erelu Kuti, who begat Ologun Kutere, who later became king. Shokunhis brother, who was more aggressive and whom the Erelu suspected could plan a palace coup, was given a chieftaincy title, “Onile-gbale”, and a palace just behind the king’s palace. This was the first time that a Chief would be appointed and installed at the same time as a King’s coronation. Oba Akitoye who ceded Lagos to the British was oba Kosoko’s uncle. Oba Akitoye was the first Oba not to be buried in a Bini. Prior to this, all the Kings of lagos were buried in Bini. They passed on taxes to the Oba of Bini until the British came and explained that there was no need to send taxes to Bini anymore especially as the Binis themselves were paying taxes to Britain. It was during his reign that the direct influence of the Binis on Lagos ended.
Oba Kosoko believed in the slave trade and was at loggerheads with the British, hence his dethronement and flight, first to Badagryand later to Epe, Nigeriawhere he founded kingdoms that still exist today.
Past Obas (Kings)
Main article: Oba of Lagos
*.Ashipa (1600–1630) died on the way back to Benin
*.King Ado (1630–1669) first King of Lagos
*.King Gabaro (1669–1704)
*.King Akinsemoyin (1704–1749)
*.Eletu Kekere (1749)
*.King Ologun Kutere (1749–1775)
*.Adele Ajosun (1775-1780 & 1832-1834)
*.Eshilokun (1780–1819)
*.Oba Idewu Ojulari (1819–1832)
*.King Oluwole (1836–1841)
*.King Akintoye(1841-1845 & 1851-1853)
*.Oba Kosoko (1845–1851)
*.King Dosunmu [Docemo] (1853–1885)
*.Oba Oyekan (1885–1900)
*.Oba Esugbayi Eleko (1901-1925 & 1932)
*.Oba Ibikunle Akitoye (1925–1928)
*.Oba Sanusi Olusi (1928–1931)
*.Oba Falolu (1932–1949)
*.Oba Adeniji Adele (1949–1964)
*.Oba Adeyinka Oyekan II (1965–2003)
*.Oba Rilwan Akiolu (2003–present)
Main article: Lagos Colony
Modern-day Lagos was founded by the Biniin the sixteenth century. It was later called Eko. The Portuguese explorer Ruy de Sequeira who visited the area in 1472, named the area around the city Lago de Curamo; the present name is Portuguese for “lakes”. An alternate explanation is that Lagos was named for Lagos, Portugal- a maritime town which at the time was the main center of the Portuguese expeditions down the African coast and whose own name is derived from the Celtic word Lacobriga.
Flag of Lagos Colony
It was a major centre of the slave tradeuntil 1851, when the United Kingdom, which had abolished slavery in 1807, captured the city. It was annexed as a British colony in 1861.
The remainder of modern-day Nigeria was seized in 1886
Post colonial
When the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria was established in 1914 Lagos was declared its capital. Lagos experienced rapid growth throughout the 1960s and 1970s as a result of Nigeria’s economic boom prior to the Biafran War. This continued through the 1980s and 1990s up to the present date.
Lagos was the capital of Nigeria from 1914 – 1991 when the capital was moved to Abuja. Abujais a capital like Washington, DCin USAand Brasiliain Brazilin that it was built from scratch specifically to be a capital.
In 1991, Ibrahim Babangida, the Military President and other government functions moved to the newly built capital. This was as a result of intelligence reports on the safety of his life and what was later to be termed his hidden agenda, which was the plan to turn himself into a civilian president. He finished what was started by the Murtala/Obasanjo regime. The change resulted in Lagos losing some prestige and economic leverage. However, it has retained its importance as the country’s largest city and as an economic centre.
In 2002, accidental explosions killed more than 1,000 people. In 2012, 163 people died when a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 crashed into a local furniture works and printing press building.

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26 thoughts on “Lagos- The Centre of Excellence

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