Awori monarch lectures Oba of Benin on ‘founders’ of Lagos
The Olofin of Isheri and Adimula of Awori Kingdom, Oba Sulaimon Bamgbade has described recent claim by the Oba of Benin Oba N’Edo Uku Apolokpolo, Eheneden Erediauwa, Ewuare II about the founders and initial inhabitants of part of Lagos State, originally known as Eko, as false.
Oba Bamgbade said this while reacting recent claim by Oba Ewuare II that Lagos was founded as a settlement by people from the ancient Benin Kingdom.
Oba Ewuare made the comments during recent visit to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in Lagos.
However, the revered monarch’s claim has stirred controversies and opposition from various quarters.
For one, the Olota of Ota, Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege, scholars, and some Lagos chiefshave dismissed the claim of the Benin monarch.
While also joining the debate, Oba Sulaimon Bamgbade affirmed that contrary to the claim of the Benin monarch, Lagos was founded and established by Olofin Ogunfuminire, the progenitor of the Awori people.
According to Olofin Bamgbade, Ogunfuminire departed from Ile-Ife, settling initially at Isheri before migrating with his wife, Ajaiye, to the present-day Iddo in Lagos.
He added that it was at Iddo that Ajaiye bore children known as the ‘Idejos’, recognized as the original traditional landholders of Lagos.
He added that Ogunfuminire allocated specific areas to his descendants, such as Iru to the Oniru, Ikate to the Elegushi, Lagos Island to Aromire, Iganmu to Ojora, Otto, and mainland to the Oloto (up to Odo–Iya Alaro).
Furthermore, he affirmed that Isheri acted was the starting point from which other descendants of Ogunfunminire departed to establish other Awori towns.
He added that the historical claims are supported by documented evidence from various sources, including Kristin Mann’s book “Slavery and Birth of an African City: Lagos 1760-1900,” which details the settlement of the Aworis in Lagos, their dispersal from Isheri, and the subsequent establishment of communities.
The Olofinfurther emphasized that the Benin people arrived in Lagos as traders and were welcomed by the existing community.
However, conflicts arose later, leading to the Benin seeking help from their kingdom.
He noted that the Aworis, under Ogunfuminire‘s leadership, successfully defended their territory and eventually accommodated the Benins, allowing them to settle on Lagos Island.
The Olofin urged Oba Ewuare to reconsider tracing the origins of the Benin Kingdom back to Ile Ife in line with the longstanding beliefs of the Aworis.