Ex-Minister identifies original Lagosians, says Oba of Lagos, Obanikoro, from Bini

Oba of Lagos, Rilwanu Akiolu
Oba of Lagos, Rilwanu Akiolu

A former Federal Commissioner for Works and Housing, Femi Okunnu, has described as “absolute rubbish” attempts to describe Lagos as a no-man’s land.

The 84-year-old elder statesman, stated this in an interview with The Nation newspaper in Lagos recently.

Mr. Okunnu, who is from Lagos and was at the forefront of the struggle for state status for the city, noted that there is no no-man’s land anywhere, adding that there are always some people who are original settlers.

“There is no no-man’s land. There are always some people who are original settlers. In the case of Lagos, it’s a misnomer to say Lagos is a no-man’s land. It’s rubbish. Absolute rubbish! Lagos was peopled by the Aworis and Awori land spread from Badagry through to Ota. They settled mostly in Ikeja, a division of Lagos,” he said.

“The Idejo chiefs, the white cap chiefs, who are the land owning chiefs, are basically Aworis and some of them are now Obas. I’m talking about the Oniru, The Olumegbon, Aromire, Oluwa, Ojora, Oloto and a couple others. After them, waves of immigrants, from today’s Niger State, started trooping in.

“I’m talking of the Tapas, the Nupes. I have Nupe blood. My father’s mother was a daughter of a Nupe man, Umoru from Idunsagbe in Lagos Island. Mind you, I’m talking of my great, great, grand-father; so you can imagine how long we’re talking about and how far our history dates back in Lagos. The Oshodi family of Lagos were originally Tapa.

Commenting further, he said, “Later we had another batch of immigrants over a period of time – those who had been taken into slavery in the North and South America and the West Indies but who had been freed following the abolition of slave trade about 170 years ago. Some of them also came in from Freetown, Sierra Leone. That’s where we have the Saro, Eko connection. They settled in the Olowogbowo area.

“Then we had the Binis from Benin (present Edo State). They invaded Lagos and settled in the best part of what we now call Isale-Eko. Oba Ado and all successive kings of Lagos are of Benin. You won’t say they are not Lagosians because we are talking of hundreds of years ago. So you can see that it is the latter day immigrants, who are full of the nonsense that Lagos is a no-man’s land.”

On the brazillian connection in Lagos, Mr. Okunnu noted that they were the people who arrived Lagos Island and environment over two hundred years ago, adding that there is no controversy over the indigenes of Lagos.

“The Brazilian Quarters were made up of another set of returnees: the Agustos, the Dasilva, Marinho, Pereira and their descendants, who returned from Brazil and other parts of South America. So when you talk of indigenes of Lagos… It is complete ignorance,” he said.

Tracing the history of the Oba of Lagos, Mr. Okunnu explained that the Binis took over the reign of Lagos by conquest, adding that the Aworis were there before them as the original settlers.

“Iga Idunganran itself was a gift to Oba Ado by Oloye Aromire, a white cap chief. He owned the land that the palace occupies till today. That is why till today, we have sections of Isale-Eko with Bini connections. When you hear of Idumota, Idunsagbe, Idunmaigbo, Idun-tafa; the word idun had bini origin. And then we had some chiefs who came with King Ado. That is another wide area.

“But suffice to say that Obanikoro, was a medicine chief who came with King Ado; so is Ashogbon. In Bini, it is Asogbon. There is also Bajulaye, who originally was Bazuaye. So the Bini connection is very deep. As a matter of fact, the corpses of all the obas, from King Ado through to Oba Adele I, who died at about 1834, were all taken to Benin for burial.”

Mr. Okunnu also lamented that there are some non-Lagosians, who made it possible for Lagos State to become a reality but who are not being given any credit for the creation of the state.

He said, “They were public servants. This is aside Gowon, whose role has not been acknowledged. Broad Street, which one government renamed to honour him, was reverted. We rejected the hand that fed us… One of those non-indigenes of Lagos is Philip Chiedo Asiodu. He is a personal friend of mine and a contemporary at King’s College, whose wife incidentally was Mrs Pereira, a Lagos girl and my aburo. He was one of those fighting for us inside the government.

“Then there was Allison Ayida, who became Secretary to the government of Murtala and Obasanjo. He used his influence as chief adviser to Gowon to help realise the dream of a Lagos State. Without them, there would be no Lagos state.”

On the alleged rift between Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and the minster of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, the elder statesman urged them to bury their differences and work for the progress of Lagos state.

“I’m saying this because there is no friendship or harmony between the current governor and the Federal Minister of Works and Housing; and I really hope that they would henceforth join forces to work in the interest of Nigeria and Lagos. That is my message to them,” he submitted.


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  • George

    Binis people must start demanding their slaves back simple.

    • Julius

      The Congolese cannibals must call of you biafraud cannibals back to your fathers land in congo asap !. I will help you with relocation money !

      • simssoon

        How much please

        • Julius

          Let me know when y’all ready. I bet you will have cannibal feast before you leave so we must protect our people from being cooked and eaten.

          • Netanyahu

            Frustration. There must be some Ibos around you that piss you off and you will wish you wake up one morning and they are all dead. But wishes are not horses, they say. Try and relocate from your current abode and see if you can escape impending madness out of frustration. I pity you, really.

          • Julius

            Read the comments I’m responding to…hypocrites. Typical of you fools.

          • simssoon

            Hmmmmm just confused for now

          • Julius

            You were born confused, what’s new ?

    • simssoon

      so you want the Oba. Obanikoro and Tinubu back to Bini and Baba Okuunu back to Nupe bros give them second chance.

  • Rommel

    Lagos is no mans land period!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,the Awori were nomadic people so could not have been ‘mfulala’ of Eko but we are aware that Eko was a war outpost of Oba bini who was waging wars against the kind of Dahomey

  • Otile

    Okun’s story is self-serving, Bini people are the original owners of Eko. Everybody else came to Eko from somewhere, Yorubas came from Dahomey, Hausas entered from the North, Igbo and Ijaws entered Lagos from the East. Calabar was the original capital of Eko, but when the slaves who returned from America, Siera Leon, Liberia etc. got to Eko they connived with the Yorubas and their white masters to relocate the capital to Eko. We all know the history and how Lagos was developed. No amount of false claims from any Yoruba elite will change the truth.

    • Otile

      I mean to say that Calabar was the original capital of Nigeria not Eko.

      • Mufu Ola

        Tell us your own history,Mr Okotile

        • Artful ºDodger

          Him own people come from Amish, Eskimos, Inca and de one dem dey like to claim well well, jews(not the real Jews). Infact anyone when dem think say sophistication dey, na der dem from come. Dem don dey claim Bini, Ijaw and every other tribe for SS since. Na de thing when oil cause be dat.

        • Otile

          I am not falsely claiming any land as you awon omo Odua do.

      • SAM .A

        Lapses in your brain , always concocting lies to fill up the gaps .

        • Otile

          What is lie about this account, was Calabar not the original capital of Nigeria? Learn some history and free yourself from ignorance.

    • Julius

      And where did your ancestors the WET BACK ABORIGINES came from ?. lol@they enter from the east !


      So, let assume all you had said is true. How does that gives you a plot of land in Lagos?

      • Otile

        The same way Yorubas got their own plots in Eko for we all came to Lagos from somewhere.

  • JOHN

    I think Pa Okuunu got it right. The Binis have historical fatherhood on most of the Yoruba real history. Oduduwa was a Bini prince and the Oba of Lagos had rightly situated Lagos and her obaship to belong to the Binis. The yorubas believe that they are the descendants of Oduduwa, meaning they are the descendants of the binis. True and sagacious talk. No controversy.

  • Dayo Dipe-Daniel

    Great lesson in history, I’ll save this for future reference.

    • Otile

      I am glad I was able to set the record straight for you, do not believe revisionist historians, they are doing it for their self gratification.

    • Saka Pena

      Thank God for the controversies that make Elders speak up once in a while. I love authoritative history lessons like this one. God bless Baba Okunnu. Agba o nii tan l’orile.

  • FuzzyLogic

    Take a look at the current oba of Lagos, he looks like a typical bini man, jokes apart. Blood is indeed thicker than water.

    • GusO

      I don’t know why some Yorubas are arguing in this forum that Lagos was not once part of the Bini Kingdom. It’s history, published in European Literature. Chief Okunnu merely confirmed it. It doesn’t take anything away from the fact that Lagos today is a Yoruba city. Nobody would argue with that. That’s history. After the Binis, Lagos became a British Colony. No Yoruba would dispute that and it was before Nigeria became a British “protectorate”. It is disingenuous for some biased Yorubas to continue to dispute those facts as unpalatable as it may seem to appear to them. World history is filled with things that seem unlikely, for instance, the Mongol Empire once stretched from Mongolia through the entire Asia to include most of Europe. But where is Mongolia today? It’s a tiny country hedged between Russia and China. So stop the misinformation and disinformation.

      • Artful ºDodger

        So how igbo when dey claim claims connections come take enter. Dem say dem be Bini, Ijaw, Itsekiri, Isoko, Efik, Calabar etc of de SS now. Abi black gold dey make people change dem own identity too?

        • FuzzyLogic

          You must always try to rope Igbos in in every argument you are making. What has Igbos got to do with the ancestry of oba of Lagos to Bini kingdom? Your contribution is outside the scope of the topic in question.

  • Artful ºDodger

    Hmm….but the igbos are claiming the Binis, Ijaw, Uhrobos, Itsekiris, Calabar, Efik etc of the SS because of oil. So does it mean the Yorubas are also descendants of the igbos now too? Igbos school me, where is the Jewish connections? The Holy Bible does not have any record of any black or igbo jew. School me please!

    • God Heal Nigeria Forsake Not N

      It doesn’t matter what anybody claims, it is their personal right to liberty to so claim ,after all claims and counter claims are all allowed in history of mankind from generation to generation. Example Oduduwa claimed that he fell from the sky even when he is not a demon.
      The long and short of this story as told by the eminent Baba Okunu is that Lagos belongs to all Nigerians and that no body can claim Lagos to the exclusion of others.
      All you needed to do is carry your own end ,let me carry my own end in our quest to make our Lagos better. Lagos truly belongs to all Nigerians.

  • God Heal Nigeria Forsake Not N

    Thank Baba okunu,the long and short of this story is that Lagos as is presently is,belongs to all Nigerians who chose to be lagosians,no body can claim sole ownership of Lagos to the exclusion of others, what matters is that all lagosians must continue to put in positive efforts to continue to build Lagos from glory to glory and from generation to generation.
    Only the lazy,idle,vile,hate bigots overwhelmed by the envy of the progress of other citizens are always in the negative habits of trying to claim Lagos to the exclusion of other citizens who also migrated to Lagos as they did and are contributing also to the positive developments of Lagos.Lagos had been a good home to all Nigerians and so shall it continue to be.shame to the tribal,ethnic, hate bigots trying to appropriate Lagos to the selfishness to the exclusion of other citizens of Lagos.

    • Adelani Giwa

      You know very well that it is the Igbo that claimed that Lagos is no man’s land. How many yorubas have busnesses in Aba, a Xenophobic town.?

      • God Heal Nigeria Forsake Not N

        How many IBOs have businesses in Oshogbo? They are heading to where their resources are invested by the federal government of Nigeria to make it a land for all citizens of Nigeria.

  • Ola

    Gov. Ambode should just be calm and respect the decision of God of making Gov. Fashola to govern Lagos before him. Until he recognises that, all his attempt to demonstrate that he can do more than Gov. Fashola will soon fade away.
    Gov. Fashola is a reference point in Nigeria. He is the first to give governance a meaning in Nigeria.
    While will Ambode abandon all Fashola projects? Ilubirin Estate, monorail, Ajah Hospital, 4th Mainland Bridge e.t.c
    Gov. Ambode, please take it easy, remember someone will also come after you finish your tenure.

    • God Heal Nigeria Forsake Not N

      One of the many ills of APC axis of evil party, is to blackmail ones predecessor in office .ambo is implementing APCs manifesto in Lagos ,while fashola,osunbade and buhari are implementing APCs manifesto nationwide. we hail buhari for been vindictive, malicious and blackmailing against his predecessor in office, let’s also support ambo to continue with his own in Lagos because God hate measuring with unequal scales.
      The hypocrisy of the chameleons and Judas Iscariot children.

  • Izedomi Ohirein

    There is no evidence that Awori’s existed before Benin founded Eko. It was an empty land.
    Awori are latter immigrants to the Land who paid home age to the Oba of Lagos.
    This is just like Ijaw settler claiming to own parts of Edoland, in Edo State.

  • lakande1

    I will like to educate those who think or believe that the whole of Lagos state is called Eko. This is 100% wrong. EKO is just the Lagos island. The fact that the Binis came to Eko or became the Oba of Eko does not mean they occupied or have jurisdiction over other towns outside the shore of Lagos island. As small as OTO town( near Ido) is, they have their own Oba just like other towns all around entire Lagos. Please read below Lagos State history below.

  • Maverick

    Lagos Not Part Of Yorubaland – Oba Akiolu

    The Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, has claimed that Lagos State is not part of Yoruba land.

    Akiolu’s statement is coming barely a week after he publicly humiliated the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi at an event.

    In a statement from Akiolu’s palace, the monarch traced the historical background of the state and why it should not be regarded as part of Yoruba land.

    The statement reads: “Coming from the palace, with what I was told by my late paternal grandmother who is a descendant of Oba Ovonramwen Nogbaisi and also reading from factual Historical books, let me share this Knowledge with you all on Eko/Lagos.

    “Modern day Lagos was founded by Prince Ado, the son of the Oba of Benin, Prince Ado was the first Oba of Lagos, the son of the Bini King, Prince Ado, named the town Eko until the Portuguese explorer Ruy de Segueira changed the Maritime town to Lagos, which at that time from 1942 was Portuguese expedition center down the African Coast.

    “It was a major centre of the slave trade until 1851. Lagos was annexed by Britain via the Lagos treaty of cession in 1861, ending the consular period and starting the British Colonial Period. The remainder of modern day Nigeria was seized in 1886 when the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria was established in 1914 Lagos was declared its capital due to the struggle of the Bini King.

    “Lagos experienced growth prior to the British Colonial rule and even more rapid growth during the Colonial rule throughout the 1960s, 70s, continued through the 80s and 90s till date. Thanks to the Awori’s, Bini’s, Yoruba’s, migrants across the nation and world at large, as no particular group of people can take the glory alone.

    “Lagos is made up of Lagoons and creeks. The Lagos lagoon, Lagos Harbour, five cowne creeks, Ebute-Metta creeks, Porto-Novo creeks, New canal, Badagry creeks, Kuramo waters and Light house creeks.”


    • lakande1

      @Maverick your post 100% false. I read this bullshit 2 weeks ago. That article was wrongly attributed to Oba Akiolu. I challenge you or anyone to post the reputable Internet link of the story.

      • Maverick

        The most visited website in Nigeria (Baikal.com) carried the news including other reputable ones. Naij wouldn’t be high ranking if they’re not credible.

  • Aminat Kareem

    Their is a Yoruba adage that says ‘ agba ki wa Loja kori Omo tuntun WO’ its actually explicite. Thanks for the enlightenment sir.

  • lakande1

    Before the Portuguese name of Lagos had been adopted, Lagos’ initial name was Eko which referred mainly to the Island. The first to settle in Eko were the Aworis.The Awori hunters and fishermen had originally come from Ile-Ife to the coast. The name Eko comes either from the Yoruba “Oko” (cassava farm) or “Eko” (war camp). Over 650 years ago, the Oba of Bini sent warriors to Eko who were received in a welcoming manner by the residing Awori fishermen. The Bini Prince, Ado, who led the war party, was asked to become their leader.
    Lagos State was created on 27 May 1967 when Nigeria was restructured into a Federation of 12 states. Before this Lagos city, which was the country’s capital had been administered directly by the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Lagos Affairs. However, Ikeja, Agege, Mushin, Ikorodu, Epe and Badagry were administered by the then Western Region Government. Lagos, the city, along with these other towns were captured to create the state of Lagos, with the State becoming fully recognized as a semi-autonomous administrative division on 11 April 1968.

  • Otile

    If baba yin Oduduwa did not lie that he landed from the sky all these speculations, and false claims from you his omo would not be going round.

    • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

      What have you got to say on the Bayelsans slaughtering Igbos in the SS?