I do not know what Dr Femi Okunnu stands to gain from his piece, but he obviously went on a mission to distort the history of Lagos State and its civilisations. We are talking of history. We are not talking of politics. He should allow experts to lead him through this straightforward highway.
He admitted Awori were the first settlers in Lagos but he failed to acknowledge two things about the Awori: They are the original owners of Lagos State (not just Lagos Island) and secondly, their ascendancy was more some 300 years before the encounter with Benin. Awori left Ile Ife on the instruction of Oduduwa who asked them to settle where ever AWO-RI. Passing through the sea-shore they had placed the calabash (AWO) on the ocean and in line with spiritual injunction, when the
AWO sank, they decided to settle there.
Again, he wrote about “invasion of Lagos by Benin”. In the first place there were no records of war between the Awori and Bini. What we heard and read was about mutual sharing of power between the owners of the land, the Awori and Bini Royalty. The royal family in England came from Germany. Today they are English not Germans.
He also mischievously evaded a major point: The Bini royalty that came to Lagos were of Yoruba descendants and that was why Awori who came from Ile Ife accepted to share power with the Bini royalty.
Again, Oba Ado who reigned from 1630-1669 was the second Oba of Lagos. He was son of Ashipa, whom the Oba of Benin appointed as the first but at the same time, Oba Ado came from B son of Oranmiyan, a Yoruba prince.
Unfortunately, he portrayed the Bini royalty as a stranger. Oranmiyan left Bini in 1300 and it was after his exit that his own blood came back to Lagos.
Mr Okunnu wrote about Nupe connection with Lagos. He should be honest to admit that Chief Oshodi Landuji Tapa (c.1800 to 1868) was Oba Kosoko’s war assistant. We are talking of one individual. There was nothing like Nupe as an ethnic nationality settling in large numbers in Lagos. There were Yoruba individuals that settled in Sokoto around 1700. There were Hausa that came and settled in Ibadan in 1800, that does not make the territories they settled Yoruba or Hausa.
Mr Okunnu also wrote about the Brazilian returnees but he failed to admit that they were actually largely of Yoruba people returning home.
Many of them were from the Yoruba hinterland but preferred to settle in Lagos because it met their new found social and cultural milieu.
Till date, the only dominant culture, religion and language in Cuba and Latin America is Yoruba
He wrote about Badagry. He failed to state the fact that the Badagry dynasty that is dominion is Yoruba who had migrated to Togo and Ga in Accra but returned to Badagry in the 16th century.
De Wheno Aholu-Toyi 1, the 15th Akran of Badagry said and I quote, “As a matter of fact and for the avoidance of doubt, the earliest Monarchy for Badagry stool had its root from Accra and the old Gold Ghost through Ga/Ewe speaking group historically reputed to have migrated from the ancient Ketu Kingdom (part of Oduduwa major Kingdom which left Ile Ife around the mid-twelfth century (1257) and established the Badagry Kingdom”
When Mr Okunnu wrote about Lagos, what is he talking about? Is he talking of Lagos State or Lagos (Eko), a smaller piece of land in downtown of Lagos?
He appears to have forgotten that the title Oba of Lagos is a new phenomenon. It used to be Eleko of Eko. Eko is different from Lagos State.
His authority should be restricted to Islale Eko, which represents less than three per cent of the entire landmass of Lagos. He should know he cannot speak for the over 51 traditional and indigenous territories in Lagos each of who has its own Oba and own history.
Dr Okuunu has also forgotten about the new Lagos that emerged in the early part of 18th century and the later part of 19th century including but not limited to sprawling dominions like Somolu (Ijebu), Mushin (Ijebu), Ikorodu (Ijebu), Ketu (Awori and Ekiti), Abule-Egba, Ijora (a mix of Awori and Igbomina Yoruba from Kwara and Osun states and places like Ikeja, Onigbongbo all Awori land.
It is very unfortunate how some of our educated people can display a rabidly poor sense of history and a complete lack of understanding of what strategic interest means.
Dr Okunnu appears comfortable with Lagos swallowed by alien hegemony. What does he think about the encircling terrorists? Will Bini or Nupe Kingdoms be able to save Lagos when the city comes under threat from outsiders?
Does he in his simple reasoning ever imagined Lagos can be saved from total annihilation through narrow and parochial narratives or by tactical alliance with the rich culture inherent in Yoruba civilisation?
What does he think should be the long term strategic interest of Lagos: an alliance with your immediate neighbours who share your history and culture or an empty assumption that sworn enemies from 1000 miles away will be a better shield because in all, Dr Okunnu wrote for the convenience of narrow, sectarian and self serving politics rather for the utilitarian good of Lagos? To compare Fulani invasion in some Northern territories to Yoruba in Lagos is an embarrassment to himself and the tendency he represents. It is also patently unfounded. Is he suggesting there was a language and culture that preceded Yoruba in Lagos? That is ridiculous. Dr Okunnu should let the world know his own family tree. We are aware of his Nupe connection. When he was made a Federal Minister, one whose slot? Has he forgotten that Herbert Macaulay and some of the pioneer nationalists in Lagos were not originally from Lagos? He should be aware for instance that Pa Jakande came from Omuaran in Kwara and Lagos has produced state governors whose parents came from Ekiti, Ilaje and Ijebu.
What Dr Okunnu has done is an attempt to build castles in the air. His fallacy collapses in the face of superior logic.