Prominent Lagosians and other Nigerians have lambasted those who refer to Lagos as a “No man’s land”, saying there were settlers before others came.
The event was the Lagos History Lecture, held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Wednesday.
Among those spoke at the event are Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu; former Minister of Works, Femi Okunnu; former Governor of Ogun State, Segun Osoba; and Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Al-Hikmah University, Hakeem Danmole; among other speakers.
In his address, Mr. Okunnu said those behind the claim that Lagos was a no man’s land only exhibit ignorance.
According to him, although non-indigenes contributed immensely to the growth and development of Lagos, the state still belonged to its original settlers and owners.
Commenting further, Mr. Okunnu acknowledged the efforts of non-Lagosians who contributed to the creation of the state, specifically two individuals who served in the Yakubu Gowon’s government – Philip Asiodu and Alison Ayida.
The former minister had earlier in an interview said that it was an aberration to refer to Lagos as no man’s land.
Mr. Akiolu, on his part, said there were settlers in Lagos before others came, adding that it was wrong for anyone to refer to Lagos as a no man’s land.
“Lagos should not be referred to as no man’s land because our forefathers were the founding fathers of the State,” he said. “And it was after several years that the Europeans came and others.”
In his own address, Mr. Osoba noted that the number of councils Lagos has was not enough considering the huge population of the state.
Commenting on the original settlers in Lagos, Mr. Osoba said, “We need to understand that there were early settlers in Lagos.
“So whenever some people say that Lagos is no man’s land, I laugh because I know that there were true land owners in Lagos.”
Mr. Danmole, in his lecture, argued that the first settlers in the state were the Aworis, the Eguns and others, noting that the growth Lagos had attained over the years was a product of having been blessed leaders with vision.
On the origin of Lagos, Mr. Danmole said, “Written records insist that Olofin, the leader of the Awori at Iddo divided Lagos among his children. Although many versions exist with regards to the number of children of Olofin. These children established various settlements within the Island and beyond.”
Governor Ambode, in his address, said the greatness of the state was a product of its ability to be the melting pot for all cultures.
Speaking on the origin of the state, he said, “It is important for us at this epochal gathering to refresh our memory about the beginning; the journey of how the Aworis played an important role in the evolution of what we call Lagos today.
“The same applies to the evolution of the Eko Royalty with the coming of the Bini from present day Edo State and even the momentous role played by the Tappa in the making of our dear State. Our greatness is in our ability to be the melting pot for all cultures and as at today, there is no tribe in Nigeria that is not represented in Lagos. From the Hausa/Fulani to the Igbo to the Kanuri to the Ibibio, the Nupe, the Berom, the Igala and so on and so forth all have spaces to live and live well in our dear State.
Commenting further, the governor said, “Lagos is not just national in outlook. It is international. The Americans are here; the British are here; South Africans are in their thousands; the Chinese are not in short supply; and the Indians even have a community in Lagos.
“With all sense of modesty, there is no other State like Lagos in Nigeria. Some may say we owe this to the fact that Lagos used to be a Federal Capital Territory.
“But I really do not think so. While that may have contributed to our greatness, we are also a unique people ready to make fellow human-beings from other lands feel home away from home,” he said.