Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi

Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi has thrown his weight behind the Awori over their indigeneship in Lagos.

In a letter delivered by his representative, Adewale Williams, at a press conference organised by the Awori Welfare Association of Nigeria (AWAN) on Tuesday, Oba Adeyeye puts to rest the controversy surrounding the earliest settlers in Lagos by affirming that the Awori indigenes from Ife were the first settlers in Lagos.

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Prince Tajudeen Olusi had stirred the hornet’s nest in a recent interview when he declared that the Awori were not in Lagos.

”I want to tell you that there are no Awori in Yoruba land. We don’t have a tribe called Awori at all. These are just other people who came to Lagos through another route from the hinterland, like Ile-Ife. Awori is just a description of how they got to where they settled,” Prince Olusi stated in the interview.

National President of AWAN, Chief Solomon Ojolowo also debunked Prince Olusi’s assertion, saying that the Awori were the earliest settlers in Lagos.

”Awori of Lagos constitute the largest single ethnic sub-group in the state, constituting about 75 percent of the population,” Ojolowo asserted.

Ojolowo affirmed further that out of the original 20 local government areas in Lagos State, the Awori formed the indigenous population of 17 LGAs.

He identified the local governments as Lagos Island, Ojo, Badagry, Amuwo-Odofin, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Apapa, Oshodi-Isolo, Mushin, Agege, Ikeja, Alimosho,Kosofe, Eti-Osa, Lagaos Mainland, Surulere, Shomolu and Ifako-Ijaiye.

”This press conference became very important as a reaction to the unexpected outburst from a Lagos political leader, Prince Tajudeen Olusi, the leader of APC Elders’ Forum, who declared not only that Awori are not in Lagos, but also that Awori are not a tribe in Yoruba land.

”We make bold to say that the Binis are strangers in Lagos. First, let me confirm the veracity of thye statement by Prince Olusi that Lagos and by implication, Awori favour strangers more than indigenes. There is an Awori tradition and culture that leads to this. In the very early days of Awori spreading to other settlements, the settlers would nominate or appoint Oba on consultation of Ifa oracle.

”The Ifa priest sometimes would say that a visitor was on the way to the town, or that they should look out for a stranger or visitor who would arrive early in the morning and should be conscripted and crowned as Oba This is how the Bini became Obas in some places where they settled in Awori land.”

He called on Prince Olusi to withdraw his claims or be ready to face legal action for misleading the people.