The Oba of Lagos, also known as the Eleko of Eko, is the traditional ruler (Oba) of Lagos.

Oba of Lagos
Rilwan Akiolu
(since 24 May 2003)
StyleHis Majesty
First monarchAdo
ResidenceIga Idunganran

The Oba is a ceremonial Yoruba sovereign with no political power, but is sought as a counsel or sponsor by politicians who seek support from the residents of Lagos, the financial heart of Nigeria and the largest city in Africa. The Oba has appeared in tourism advertisements on behalf of the city, often stating "You've gotta go to Lagos", among various other ceremonial roles.

The current Oba of Lagos is Rilwan Akiolu, who has held the title since 2003.

History edit

All Obas of Lagos trace their lineage to Ashipa,[1] a war captain of the Oba of Benin. Ashipa was rewarded with the title of the Oloriogun[2] (War leader) and he received the Oba of Benin's sanction to govern Lagos on his behalf.[3] Some Benin accounts of history have the Ashipa as son or grandson of the Oba of Benin.[4] Ashipa received a sword and royal drum as symbols of his authority from the Oba of Benin on his mission to Lagos. Additionally, the Oba of Benin deployed a group of Benin officers charged with preserving Benin's interests in Lagos. These officers, led by Eletu Odibo, were the initial members of the Akarigbere class of Lagos White Cap Chiefs.[2] Prior to the arrival of the British, the Oba of Benin had "the undisputed right to crown or confirm the individual whom the people of Lagos elect[ed] to be their King".[5]

Tributes continue to flow the way of Benin from Lagos island for many years until around the year 1830 when Lagos stopped it. By this time, the status of Lagos as an independent power in its own right had risen tremendously and it had become too strong to be attacked. The King of Benin therefore had to be content with occasional gifts which were no longer given as obligatory tribute, but rather, as an act of historical sentiment.[6]

The defeat of Oba Kosoko by British forces on 28 December 1851, in what is now known as the Bombardment of Lagos or Reduction of Lagos, or locally as Ogun Ahoyaya or Ogun Agidingbi (literally meaning "boiling cannons"), eventually put an end to all forms of tributary (sentimential or official) and Lagos' former allegiance to the Oba of Benin.[7]

Kosoko was therefore the last Lagos Oba to engage in any form of sentimental gifting from the people of Lagos to the Oba of Benin. Oba Akitoye, who was re-installed to the throne by the British, "seized the opportunity of his restoration under British protection to repudiate his former allegiance" to Benin and rebuffed subsequent tribute requests from the Oba of Benin.[8][9][10]

Previous rulers of Lagos have used the titles of Ologun (derived from Oloriogun), Eleko and, most recently, Oba of Lagos.[11]

The Royal Seat edit

The official residence of the king, since 1630, is Iga Idunganran, a castle renovated by the Portuguese over the course of close to a century.[12] It is today a very popular tourist site.

List of Obas of Lagos edit

House of Ashipa - (Ashipa dynasty) edit

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Ashipa1570-1630 (?)----------A local Awori chieftain from Isheri. Founder of Lagos dynasty of Kings, but not crowned as an Oba of Lagos[13][14]House of Olofin
Ado163016691st Oba. The son of Ashipa[15][16]House of Ashipa
Gabaro166917042nd Oba. The son of Ado.[17]House of Ashipa
Eletu Kekere
  • Eletu Omo
170417043rd Oba. The only son of Gabaro, nephew to Akinsemoyin. His reign was so brief that it is barely acknowledged by most historians and is sometimes omitted all together. Sources of him being actually crowned an Oba in Lagos are scanty. Not much is known of his reign other than him dying intestate (without an heir).[18]House of Ashipa
Akinsemoyin170417494th Oba. Another son of Ado, a brother to Gabaro and uncle to Eletu Kekere.[19] Longest reigning Oba in Lagos to date (45 years). He created the Eletu Omo chieftaincy in the Akarigbere class in commemoration of his predecessor. His time marked the end of the Ashipa dynasty through the paternal line of descent.[20]House of Ashipa

House of Ashipa - Alagbigba (Alaagba) dynasty[21] edit

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Ologun Kutere
  • Ologun Kuture
d. 1775174917755th Oba. Son of the union between Erelu Kuti daughter of Ado and Alaagba, an Ijesha resident chieftain in Lagos who also served as Babalawo to Oloye (chief) Aromire, and later Akinsemoyin. The Lagos royal dynasty shifts to a line of descent through the matrilineal pedigree of Erelu Kuti.[19][22]Alaagba dynasty
Adele Ajosun d. 1837177517806th Oba. Second son of Ologun Kutere. First reign. He would return again and reign for a second time as the 10th Oba for two years. Throughout his first reign, he was constantly threatened by his brother Eshinlokun for the title of Oba which he felt should have been his. He fell out with the chiefs and was deposed in 1780. He then left for Badagry with his mother and the skull of his father, Ologun Kutere.Alaagba dynasty
  • Eshinlokun
d.1819178018197th Oba. Son of Ologun Kutere and elder brother to Adele Ajosun.[19][22]Alaagba dynasty
Idewu Ojulari
  • Idowu Ojulari
d. 1832181918328th Oba. Son of Oshinlokun.[17]Alaagba dynasty
Adele Ajosund. 1834183218349th Oba. Return of Adele Ajosun who reigned first as the 6th Oba.[1]Alaagba dynasty
Oluwoled. 18411834184110th Oba. The son of Adele.[17][22][23]Alaagba dynasty
Akitoyed. 18531841184511th Oba, Son of Ologun kKutere. First reign. He would return again and reign for a second time as the 13th Oba.[17][23][24]Alaagba dynasty
Kosokod.18721845185112th Oba, a son of Osinlokun and brother to Idewu Ojulari.[17][19][24]Alaagba dynasty 
  • Akintoye
1851185313th Oba. Second reign. Return of Akintoye who would reign for a further two years.[17]Alaagba dynasty
  • Docemo
62 Years
1853188514th Oba, Son of Akintoye.[17][23]Alaagba dynasty
Oyekan I1854-1900
46 Years
1885190015th Oba, a son of Dosunmu.[17][23]Alaagba dynasty
Eshugbayi Eleko
  • Eleko
1860-1932 72 Years1901192516th Oba, a son of Dosunmu. First reign. He would return to reign as the 19th Oba.[17][23] He supported the educated elite of Lagos led by Prince Oluwa and Herbert Macaulay in their struggle against British colonialism. He was exiled to Oyo in 1925.Alaagba dynasty
Ibikunle Akitoyed.19281925192817th Oba, a grandson of Oba Akintoye.[17][23] First christian Oba.Alaagba dynasty
Sanusi Olusi1928193118th Oba, a grandson of Oba Akintoye.[17][23]Alaagba dynasty 
Eshugbayi Eleko1860-1932 72 Years1931193219th Oba. Return of Eshugbayi Eleko who would go on to reign for one year .[17][23]Alaagba dynasty
Falolu Dosunmud.19491932194920th Oba[17][23]Alaagba dynasty
Adeniji Adele1893 - 1964
70 Years
1949196421st Oba. Grandson of Adele Ajosun[17][23]Alaagba dynasty 
Oyekan II1911 - 2003
91 Years
1965200322nd Oba. Grandson of Oyekan I.[17][23]Alaagba dynasty
Rilwan Akiolu1943
Age 80
2003Incumbent23rd Oba.[17][23]Alaagba dynasty 

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Mann, Kristin (2007). Slavery and the Birth of an African City: Lagos, 1760-1900. Indiana University Press, 2007. p. 45. ISBN 9780253348845.
  2. ^ a b Herskovits Kopytoff, Jean. A Preface to Modern Nigeria: The "Sierra Leoneans" in Yoruba, 1830 - 1890. University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 64–65.
  3. ^ Folami, Takiu (1982). A History of Lagos, Nigeria: The Shaping of an African City. Exposition Press. p. 22. ISBN 9780682497725.
  4. ^ Smith, Robert (1 January 1979). The Lagos Consulate, 1851-1861. University of California Press, 1979. p. 4. ISBN 9780520037465.
  5. ^ Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons (1852). Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons. Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons, 1852. p. 97. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  6. ^ Burns, A. C. (1929). "History Of Nigeria (1929)". Retrieved 27 October 2023.
  7. ^ Oloruntoba, C.I. (1992). Sociocultural Dimensions of Nigerian Pidgin Usage (Western NigerDelta of Nigeria. Indiana University. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  8. ^ Ryder, Alan Frederick Charles. Benin and the Europeans: 1485-1897. Front Cover Alan Frederick Charles Ryder Humanities Press, 1969 - Benin. pp. 241–242.
  9. ^ Smith, Robert (1978). The Lagos Consulate, 1851-1861. Macmillan. pp. 6, 27, 90, 102. ISBN 0333240545.
  10. ^ Ryder, Alan Frederick Charles. Benin and the Europeans: 1485-1897. Humanities Press, 1969 - Benin. pp. 241–242.
  11. ^ Robert Sydney Smith (1988). Kingdoms of the Yoruba. Univ of Wisconsin Press 1969. ISBN 9780299116040. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  12. ^ Smith, Robert (January 1979). The Lagos Consulate, 1851-1861. University of California Press, 1979. p. 8. ISBN 9780520037465.
  13. ^ Aimiuwu, O.E.I. Ashipa: the first Oba of Lagos. Nigeria Magazine, Issues 100-104, Government of Nigeria 1969. pp. 624–627. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  14. ^ Slavery and the Birth of an African City. p. 29.
  15. ^ Plainsail. "Erelu Abiola Docemo Foundation". Archived from the original on 19 June 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  16. ^ "LAGOS". Archived from the original on 17 May 2017. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Adewunmi Elegbede. "Kingdoms of Nigeria, The Nigerian Database of Rulers, Kings, Kingdoms, Political and Traditional Leaders".
  18. ^ Shodipe, Uthman Ademilade (1997). From Johnson to Marwa: 30 Years of Governance in Lagos State. Malthouse Press. p. 245. ISBN 978-978-023-069-2. Retrieved 1 November 2023.
  19. ^ a b c d Slavery and the Birth of an African City. p. 46.
  20. ^ Timothy-Asobele, S. J. (2001). "Langbasa". Brintview Communications Limited. Retrieved 27 October 2023.
  21. ^ Kotun, Prince Bolakale (10 September 2008). History of the Eko Dynasty. Allentown Limited. p. 37. ISBN 978-978-901-955-7. Retrieved 27 October 2023.
  22. ^ a b c Ojo, Olatunji; Hunt, Nadine (15 September 2012). Slavery in Africa and the Caribbean: A History of Enslavement and Identity Since the 18th Century. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9781780761152.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Slavery and the Birth of an African City.
  24. ^ a b Slavery in Africa and the Caribbean. p. 95.
  • 10. Yusuf Olatunji. Volume 17:02

Further reading edit