WHO OWNS LAGOS: Assembly Urged to Rename Lagos Isheri State

The Lagos State House of Assembly (LSHA) has been asked to change the name of Lagos State to Isheri State

In a letter addressed to the Speaker of the Lagos House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, Apapo O’odua Koya (AOKOYA), a coalition of several Yorùbá and Itsekiri self determination groups said the change of name was necessary to protect, defend and uphold the heritage of the Odùduwà, the Progenitor of Yorùbá race.

The group said Lagos was a name given by Portuguese, some 500 years after Lagos had existed and thrived in commerce, art, philosophy and trade.

AOKOYA said it was time to do away with the colonial mindset to ensure the territories reclaim its ancient values and norms.

The group argued that the change would also put a stop to the arrogant claims by some anti-Yorùbá people on the civilisation of Lagos as a foremost Yorùbá city.

It urged the Lagos State House of Assembly to sponsor a bill to change Lagos State to either Odùduwà or Isheri State in line with the history and tradition of the true owners of the land.

Speaking on the recent visit to Lagos by the Ọba of Benin, the group commended the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his maturity and diplomacy in handling the rascalism of the Ọba of Benin and his arrogant, uncouth, and uncivilised behaviour.

AOKOYA said there should be a limit to tolerance, adding that distortion of history of a people was an eye blink from violent conquest.

If the Ọba of Benin had his way, he would invade Lagos with force of arms, the group contended.

The group said “There has been a very conscious attempt to rewrite Yorùbá history by some anti-history people who are driven by three elements: envy, greed and desire for conquest. The Yorùbá people all over the world must rise up to put an end to this dangerous trend and display of brigandage.”

The group said the claims by the Ọba of Benin that Lagos was founded by a Bini Prince was not only mischievous, and fallacious, but also motivated by the grandeur Lagos had achieved under Yorùbá leadership which has continued to draw envy and even hatred and scorn for the Yoruba people.

The group said there were 52 sovereign rulers in Lagos, adding that for Ọba of Bini to claim he founded Lagos was an insult to common sense.

The group said Bini remained a Yorùbá word which means Ile-Ubinu, a land of stiff-neck, crude anger, a culture the Ọba of Bini once again displayed during his recent visit to Lagos.

The group noted that the Ọba of Bini said his fore-fathers established Lagos, but was silent on the fact that Oranmiyan established Benin Kingdom and that a Prince from Ilé-Ifè established Onitsha traditional stool not to talk of the children of Odùduwà that established Kingdoms in Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Gambia and even in Ivory Coast.

AOKOYA said in the last 30 years, the stool of Ọba of Benin had been taken over by renegades, revisionists, anti-Yorùbá, and anti-history people who were subverting the true history of Benin Kingdom borne out of envy, jealousy and abrasiveness in manners.

“The Benin Kingdom was established by the son of Odùduwà, but this never gets to the head of Yorùbá people. We relate with Benin with respect and decorum in line with Yorùbá civilisation. We do not expect less from Benin, an extension of Odùduwà heritage”, AOKOYA said in the statement signed by Captain Kunle Odeyemi on behalf of the group, and urged Ọba of Benin to spend his time improving the lot of his people and build Benin to the status of Lagos, instead of seeking empires that never and will never belong to him.

AOKOYA maintained that the lies and distortion began with the father of the current Ọba of Benin, who made unsubstantiated and spurious claims that Odùduwà came from Benin.

The group said the father of the current Ọba of Benin carried his dispute with some Yorùbá people while in the Western Nigeria Civil Service to the traditional stool he later held, adding that his false claims on Odùduwà was borne out of personal vendetta which diminished the King himself and betrayed his emotions.

“That claim that Odùduwà came from Benin was an embarrassment to his own ancestors, the preceding Ọbas of Benin who were all, until recently, buried in Ilé-Ifè on their own request, knowing they all came from Ilé-Ifè.

“Your territory can never make progress and attain peace when you build the foundation on cheap lies and dirty, childish and filthy propaganda. This only confirms the fact that some traditional institutions are being hijacked by people of low cultures who have no sense of history”, AOKOYA said.

The group asked the Ọba of Benin to learn from His Royal Majesty, the Olu of Warri on royal conducts and philosophy of knowledge.

AOKOYA said “All history books over time asserted the fact that the first known settler in today’s Lagos was Ogunfunminire who came from Ilé-Ifè. Lagos is essentially an Awori ancestral territory. Ogunfunminire settled in Lagos some 500 years and thrived before Ado came from Benin. It should be understood that Ado was actually the son of Ashipa, a Yorùbá man who married an Edo woman who gave birth to Ado who then became the first Òbà of Lagos. But before this time, there were traditional rulers in the 50 kingdoms that had existed in Lagos State.

AOKOYA said it was a shame that some people were desperate to claim Lagos for no reason other than the way the city had been built with raw energy and determination of Yorùbá industrialists and successive governments, thereby becoming one of Africa’s topmost economy.

“When a mango is ripe and beautiful, everyone wants it. When the mango is unripe and rotten everyone runs away. We wonder why the Oba of Benin is not talking about other Kingdoms established by his forefathers but focusing on Lagos.

“Yorùbá self determination groups will henceforth adopt the philosophy of proportional response in dealing with attempts by irresponsible elements to distort Yorùbá history and undermine the civilisation of the children of Odùduwà”, AOKOYA concluded.