Ownership of Lagos: Smart-Cole Replies Okunnu


Ugo Aliogo and Solomon Elusoji

A veteran journalist and photographer, Sunmi Smart-Cole, has responded to the comments made by a former Federal Commissioner for Works and Housing, Femi Okunnu, that it is  “absolute rubbish”  to describe Lagos as no-man’s land.

Addressing a press briefing at his residence in Lagos thursday, Smart-Cole said the territory of the Oba of Lagos ends on Lagos Island, adding that the name Eko belongs to the Binis (Edo).

He also noted that the comments made by the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, that  the Binis were conquered and their resources plundered  might be correct, stressing that the name ‘Eko’ belongs to the Edo natives.

Smart-Cole lamented that at the just concluded Lagos@50 celebration, nothing was done to commemorate the memories of those who made significant impacts to what Lagos is today, adding that the ascendancy of the Yoruba nation can be traced to Sierra-Leone and Brazil.

According to him, “Okunnu mentioned Brazilians and Cuban returnees, but he didn’t state the contributions they made. He also forgot to mention who came first. The Brazilians were the first artisans then while the Sierra- Leoneans were the early teachers and missionaries. Meanwhile, the Binis conquered the Yorubas using irons and spears.”

Okunnu had stated that the Binis took over the reign of Lagos by conquest, but that the Aworis were there before them as the original settlers.

It was learnt in Okunnu’s statement that “Iga Idunganran itself was a gift to Oba Ado by Oloye Aromire, a white cap chief. He owned the land that the Lagos palace occupies till date, and up till now, we have some sections of Isale-Eko with Bini connections. When you hear of Idumota, Idunsagbe, Idunmaigbo, Idun-tafa; the word idun had Bini origin. Then we had some chiefs who came with King Ado. That is another wide area.

“There is also Bajulaye, who originally was Bazuaye. So the Bini connection is very deep. As a matter of fact, the corpses of all the Obas, from King Ado t to Oba Adele I, who died at about 1834, were all taken to Benin for burial.”