By Olasunkanmi Akoni
The Awori indigenes in Lagos, under the aegis of the Ibile-Eko Forum have debunked the insinuations that Lagos is a no man’s land and that Awori people are non indigenes of the state.
The group made the clarification following controversies trailing the true ownership of Lagos State.
In a statement, by the Secretary of Ibile – Eko Forum, Barrister, Felix Odusanya, the indigenous group, maintained: “The Aworis of Lagos State constitutes the largest single ethnic sub-group in Lagos State, made up of about 75 per cent of its indigenous population of the state.
“The Aworis are found in all the local government areas of the state. Out of the old 20 local governments in Lagos State the per cent conveniently forms the indigenous population of 17 local government, namely, Lagos Island, Ojo, Badagry, Amuwo-Odofin, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Apapa, Oshodi-Isolo, Mushin, Agege, Ikeja, Alimosho, Kosofe, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Surulere, Shomolu and Ifako-Ijaye, while it has a recognisable percentage of indigenous population in Ibeju-Lekki local government, the Awori people are predominant people around Majidun and Ajegunle areas of modern Ikorodu local government.”
The group further warned individuals and groups to desist on the deliberate acts of misleading the general populace and distortion of history.
Recall, a prominent Lagos prince and the Chairman of the Elders’ Forum of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state, Alhaji Tajudeen Olusi, has said in an interview in one of the National Newspapers’ publication that, there is no such thing as Awori people in Lagos State while insisting that the place called Lagos today was a part of the old Bini Kingdom, contrary to claims in some quarters.
Odunsanya said: “Prince Tajudeen Olusi goofed by saying we don’t have a tribe called Awori at all.
“It is quite reckless a statement for someone to claim Isolo, one of the prominent Awori communities is not an Awori town or that the people of Isolo are not Awori; Isolo a major Awori town which was founded by a group of Awori people led by one Akibayi, and other towns and villages that forms the major part of Ikeja Division of Lagos State are mainly Awori establishment.
“Of what importance is the attempt by Prince Olusi to twist the history of Akesan when he claimed the Late King of Akesan land, Oba Fagbohun said there is Akesan in Oyo and with that Olusi concluded Akesan is not Awori. While time and space may not permit me now to ponder on the full historical development of the Awori land and its people, laziness has not permitted you to find out the connection of the said Akesan in Oyo and the Akesan in Lagos state.
“Note the king never said Akesan is not Awori rather he said there is another Akesan in Oyo. Here someone needs lecture about Olofin Ogunfunminire, the progenitor of the Awori and his wives.
“That is for another day. The emphasis of Prince Olusi on Oyo as the original place of Isolo and Akesan has neglected the fact that every Yoruba including the people of Oyo has claim to Ile-Ife as the source.”
In furtherance of debunking the obnoxious claims, the scribe of the Ibile-Eko Forum said Barr. Femi Okunnu SAN response has laid to rest the careless claim of the APC chieftain, “There is no place called ‘No Man’s Land’ in the world. Every parcel of land has its own history. Lagos has its own history and the original inhabitants of Lagos–the Aworis–settled over 500 years ago. I have said it many times recently that Lagos has its own indigenes.
He continued that the Aworis were the settlers who inhabited Lagos city and suburbs. Maybe some centuries after, there was the invasion by the Binis, the Edo-speaking people, who invaded Lagos and set up their own institutions. In fact, the obaship of Lagos has a lot to do with the Benin Kingdom. So, the Binis also invaded and settled in Lagos.
“Oba of Lagos is of Edo or Bini origin, not Yoruba, and all the other chiefs, who came with the first oba, that is, Ado I am talking of a group of white-cap chiefs called Akarigbere — also are of Bini origin”, he added.