Viewpoint

April 21, 2024

Oyingbo: History and leaders

Oyingbo: History and leaders

By Alade Aromashodu

Oyingbo, a populous community with a chequered history of uniqueness in terms of market where local food and cloths are sold is located in Ebute Metta area of Lagos State. It has the busiest and oldest market in Lagos metropolis. The saying that Oja Oyingbo ko mo p’enikan o wa (Oyingbo market does not recognise the absence of anyone) is a tribute to its sheer size, patronage and prominence among markets in the country.

The word Oyingbo is a perversion of the Yoruba phrase “Eyin gbo” which itself is a contracted form of “Eyin Gbongbo”. “Eyin” means “behind” while “Gbongbo” means “huge tree root.” Hence the name “Oyingbo market” was used to describe where the market was situated. It was claimed that there was a big tree with enormous roots and it was behind the tree that trading activities were carried out.

The market was established during the early 1920s as a depot for agricultural product by the Aworis who inhabited the southern and central parts of the Lagos Mainland in the remote past before the British Establishment in 1851. The rapid socio-economic development around Ebute Metta, Oyingbo and the Lagos Mainland had impacted hugely on the evolvement of the market, thereby making it grow bigger not only in size but also in the variety of goods available within its confine. In 1930s, traders around Apapa road were moved to the current location to boost the size of the market and expand the array of available goods to include meat and livestock. As a major commercial centre, the market attracted patronage from across Nigeria and beyond.

Leaders

The Lagos Mainland Local Government controls Oyingbo activities and entire Ebute Metta — Iddo, Otto and Oyingbo respectively, through the aid of traditionalists, headed by the Awori king, Oba Oloto and his Baales. 

According to the newly awarded ‘Part 2’ Baale of the metropolis, Oloyingbo of Oyingbo, High Chief Adegboyega Fakayode Junaid, Baale of Oyingbo; five Baales control the activities.

Also, the quintessential  leader,  servant of the people particularly to young  progressives  in Oyingbo, Lagos Mainland  and Lagos State at large, Oloyingbo noted that: “Baale of Otumara, High Chief  Kehinde Kalejaye and myself have ‘Part 2’ and recognised with Lagos State Gazette while  others are ‘Part 3’, recognised by the Mainland Local Government.”

He continued: “Part 3′ Baales are: Musbau Amole Junaid, Baale of Okobaba/Agoro;  High Chief Segun Adegbesan, Baale of Araromi/Ebute Metta and High Chief Sodique Aromire, Baale of Okelu/Iponri respectively,” Oloyingbo stated.

It is pertinent to mention that at various times, the running of Oyingbo Market had been under different Local Government Authorities. In 1918 its management was under the Market Department of Lagos Town Council which later metamorphosed in 1963 to the Lagos City Council.  Between 1976 and 1977, the responsibility of running the market fell on the Lagos Mainland Local Government and it has remained so till date, despite the carving out of Surulere Local Government from the Lagos Mainland Local Government.

However, due to the dilapidated structures, failed facilities occasioned by extensive neglect of needed maintenance which usually resulted in the flooding of the market and the destruction of the wares of the traders and an immediate need for space expansion, the old Oyingbo Market was demolished by the Chairman of Mainland Local Government, Mr Adetayo Oyemade on the 17th August, 1991 for reconstruction, but he could not award the contract for the reconstruction before leaving office. Another attempt was made in November 1991 during the Otedola’s Administration with late Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola as the Chairman of the Fund Raising Committee.  For a combination of factors, this effort equally brought limited success.

In the year 2000, a joint venture was put in place between the Local Government and private financiers. Under the arrangement, the Local Government was to donate the land as equity participation while the private partners will finance the project. The Lagos State Government finally took over the project and the construction of the ultramodern Oyingbo market was finally completed and commissioned on Sunday, 15th March, 2015.

The new ultramodern Oyingbo market complex is a four-storey building built on a 504 square meters land with about 150-car capacity parking lot on the ground floor, 622 open shops, 102 lockup shops, 49 open offices, 134 toilets, six exit gates, water treatment plant, sewage and refuse treatment plants, fire safety gadgets, 1,000KVA transformers among others.

Today, Oyingbo Market has become a one -stop-shop for all kinds of items and products. Perhaps, more importantly, through the diverse economic activities that go on in the market, thousands of people can boast of a consistent source of livelihood. This, indeed, is a major path to prosperity.