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Sunday, June 16, 2019
Lagos State belongs as much to the ethnic Igbo as to the Yoruba, Ijaw, Hausa, Fulani, Efik, Idoma, Urhobo, Itshekiri, Edo, and so on
Lagos State belongs as much to the ethnic Igbo as to the Yoruba, Ijaw, Hausa, Fulani, Efik, Idoma, Urhobo, Itshekiri, Edo, and so on who live in it, pay tax, identify with it, and settle in it. That compact was made the moment Nigeria became a single nation, and a successor power to the old principalities who were subdued and who ceded their sovereignty for the new commonwealth of Nigeria.
It was pragmatic. The Igbo had the skill and the industry, and Lagos was the seat of the Federal Government of Nigeria and its major port. The Igbo have lived in Lagos since the 15th century when the Aro and other Igbo first settled in good number in a place we now call “Oyingbo” in the era of Benin and the Portuguese trade.
The arrival of Dr. Namdi Azikiwe to Lagos in 1937 from Accra after his studies in the United States, stimulated the political and cultural environment of Lagos as no other has before or after him. Zik literally resurrected the wizard of Kirsten hall from political death. Zik represented Lagos in the western house. The NCNC was the power in Lagos, and not the Action Group. The Igbo were prominent in the governance of Lagos in the Lagos City Hall.
The institutional development of Lagos – the railways, the ports and ship yards; the education and research facilities; the Banking and Commodities Exchange, the development of towns like Yaba, Surulere, Ebutta-Metta, Festac Town, Victoria Island, and now increasing the Ajah-Lekki axis, and of course, the ghettoes along the Orile-Badagry axis, have profound Igbo imprimatur.
The circulation of the image of Lagos is to date best reflected in the cosmopolitan Igbo imagination of one of the greatest African writers of the 20th century, Cyprian Ekwensi, a thorough Lagosian if there was any. Igbo have built industries in Lagos and have been drivers of commerce and exchange.
Interestingly, I was born at plot number 8, Okoya Street, Idumagbo- Lagos, while the Ojukwu families were residing at number one to three on the same street. I grew up to know the father of Odumegwu Ojukwu. Chimbizie and Azuka grew up with us on the same street. Even the Chibeze small parking space at the end of Okoya Street is called Ojukwu.
I later attended St. Patrick Primary School, Idumagbo, where I had very amiable classmates of Igbo origin in the persons of Azubike Ezenwa and Damian, Ihekuna, both now professors and doctors of today. They were brilliant, resourceful and friendly.
When we were playing bamboo and Tene Felele at Orikoriko at Onola playing ground, the Igbo participated actively. In the area of sports, school football and athletes, Igbo were dominant at Kings College, St. Gregory school, St. Finbars, Akoka, Igbobi College and Ahmadiyya College, Agege. Such boys, Njokwu, George Amu, Stephen Keshi, Henry Nwosu, Patrick Noquapor, Peter Anieke and Sammy Opone were dominant on the field of football, while Asiodu, Empire Kanu were prominent on the field of athletics.
Anytime we went to watch football match at Onikan stadium, my darling team, Stationery Stores and our adversary team I hated most was the E. C. N, where the centre forward, Paul Hamilton, the National Team, Fabian the captain who bit the dust. Our greatest captain was Duru, Oduah Onyenrekwa, Onyeador Onyeali and Opel, the greatest outside right Nigeria ever had, Cyril Azuluka. So, during my early life at primary school, the Igbo were always there and delightful to watch, both in athletes and on the football field.
When I listened to radio at that time, both the commentary and drama series, the Igbo were there for you. The likes of Chris Ndaguba, Ernest Okwonkwo, Ralph Okpara ‘Alawo Sekiseki the traveler’. The episode will end with – The script was written by Ralph Okpara and edited by Yemi Lijadu.
Anytime I visited where I was born today in Idumagbo at Lagos Island, the entire place is covered by Igbo traders in their thousands. They were never troublesome but decent and accommodating. They have virtually taken over all properties of the indigenes. They succeeded in developing all our properties, married to most of our children even from the royal families. There is no single house you will visit without an Igbo man selling wares there.
So, who is saying something else? Only the strangers in our midst will not notice participation of economic development in our state by the Igbos. Most houses and shops in Lagos Island have been purchased, developed and occupied by the Igbos. The value of their investments in Lagos Island alone is in trillions of naira.
Instead of deporting the Igbos, whose contributions to the development of Lagos state are immensurable, you must keep on praising and encouraging them to keep on developing Lagos State
Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe
Historical Lagos info:
Ojota used to be a military settlement in the late 18th century and soldiers practised their shooting there. The area had several gun firing spots and became known as “Oju Ota” in Yoruba
which means “Bullet spots”. It later metamorphosed into Ojota which it is called now.
This area is on the outskirts of Lagos and got its name from the early settlers who were Egba people from Abeokuta. The area was first called “Abule awon egba” in Yoruba, which means “Village of Egba people”. It later became “Abule Egba”.
Apongbon is one of Lagos’ most popular markets, and it’s also quite close to the popular Oke-Arin market. It got its name from the then acting governor of the Lagos colony, William McCoskry, who had a Red Beard. The Yorubas who couldn’t pronounce the colonial governor’s name decided to describe him by his red beard and started calling him “Oyinbo to pon ni igbon” meaning a red-bearded man. It later became Apongbon.
Magodo is now a posh area, but in the past, it used to be sacred land. The residents had a lot of taboos and one of them was to avoid using mortars and pestles, “Ma gun odo” which means “Don’t pound it”. It later became ‘Magodo
Epe is named after the early settlers who were Epe traders. The area became dominated by the Epes and they still trade there until today.
Ebute-Metta is one of the earliest harbour docks where British ships berthed at. It was a hub for trade and commerce in colonial times. Ebute-Metta is a fusion of the words “Ebute” which means the seaside in Yoruba, and “Metta” which means three. The three shores are Iddo, Otto and Oko baba.
Broad street used to be one of the longest and widest streets in the city. It got its name from its broadness.
The British Naval forces invaded Lagos in 1885 under the pretext of stopping slavery and human sacrifice. The noise their canon made was really loud, and the sound was heard round the streets of Lagos Island. The people described the sound as “A gb din gbinnn”. Which means a loud groundbreaking noise. The name Agidingbi was borne out of this.
Victoria Island was also a major hub for commerce and British ships berthed there often. It’s named after Queen Victoria of England who was Queen from 1837-1901.
Ikeja, the capital of Lagos, is actually an abbreviation for “Ikorodu And Epe Joint Administration”. It was coined by the colonial masters for ease of administration.”
I hope we find this info useful.
THE IGBO RANT
BIBLICAL TRADITIONS OF NDI IGBO BEFORE THE MISSIONARIES CAME TO AFRICA* IGBO 101.
THE IGBO TRIBE AND ITS FEAR OF EXTINCTION
The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities
Written by Emeka Maduewesi
~on fb. 28th September, 2016.
The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.
The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.
In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.
Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.
In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.
The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.
Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.
The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.
The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.
The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.
This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.
RT. HON. DR. NNAMDI AZIKIWE TO DR. CHUBA OKADIGBO (1981)
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