Oba of Lagos

The Oba (king) of Lagos is the traditional, yet ceremonial, sovereign of Lagos, a coastal settlement of Yoruba people and Nigerians that went on to become the largest city in Africa after first giving its name to Lagos State, the financial heart of contemporary Nigeria. The king has no political power, but is sought as a counsel or sponsor by Nigerian politicians who seek support from the various residents of Lagos. Among other ceremonial roles, the Oba as well as indulging in tourism advertisements on behalf of the city, often stating, "you've gotta go to Lagos”.

Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos 2006


All Obas of Lagos trace their lineage to Ashipa,[1] a war captain of the Oba of Benin. Ashipa was rewarded with title of Oloriogun[2] (or War leader) and received the Oba of Benin's sanction to govern Lagos.[3] Some Benin accounts of history have the Ashipa as son or grandson of the Oba of Benin.[4] Other accounts note that Ashipa is a Yoruba corruption of the Benin name Aisika-hienbore (translated "we shall not desert this place").[5]

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".[6]

The defeat of Oba Kosoko by British forces on December 28, 1851, in what is now known as the Bombardment of Lagos or Reduction of Lagos, or locally as Ogun Ahoyaya or Ogun Agidingbi (after boiling cannons), put an end to Lagos' s former allegiance to the Oba of Benin.[7]

Kosoko was therefore the last Oba of Lagos to remit annual tributes 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 SeatEdit

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

List of Obas of LagosEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d 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 (1979-01-01). The Lagos Consulate, 1851-1861. University of California Press, 1979. p. 4. ISBN 9780520037465.
  5. ^ Cole, Patrick (1975-04-17). Modern and Traditional Elites in the Politics of Lagos. Cambridge University Press, 1975. p. 12. ISBN 9780521204392.
  6. ^ 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.
  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. 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. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Slavery and the Birth of an African City. p. 29.
  14. ^ Plainsail. "Erelu Abiola Docemo Foundation". eraffoundation.org.
  15. ^ "LAGOS". iinet.net.au. Archived from the original on 2017-05-17. Retrieved 2015-03-03.
  16. ^ 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". kingdomsofnigeria.com.
  17. ^ a b c d e Slavery and the Birth of an African City. p. 46.
  18. ^ a b c Ojo, Olatunji; Hunt, Nadine (2012-09-15). Slavery in Africa and the Caribbean: A History of Enslavement and Identity Since the 18th Century. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9781780761152.
  19. ^ a b c Slavery and the Birth of an African City.
  20. ^ a b Slavery in Africa and the Caribbean. p. 95.
  • 10. Yusuf Olatunji. Volume 17:02

Further readingEdit