- The Erelu Kuti IV of Lagos, Erelu Abiola Dosunmu, speaks on her ancestry and origin
- She gives her thoughts and beliefs on the original owners of Lagos
- Dosunmu believes that the widespread confusion surrounding the ownership of Lagos is a conspiracy
In a recent interview with Punch, the Erelu Kuti IV of Lagos, Erelu Abiola Dosunmu, spoke on the controversial history of Lagos settlers.
She expressed her thought on the difference in opinions concerning the history of the original settlers of Lagos: "Lagos has always been an extension of Benin as a passageway to the waters to trade with the foreigners and of course, to hunt and do other things. Hence, when the Awori came from Ile-Ife – I haven’t heard anybody mention that. Although the Bini didn’t really settle (down in Lagos), they had authority (over the land). But when the Awori came to settle there the Bini made them to pay isakole. If the Bini were not there or they had no authority (over Lagos) they wouldn’t make the Awori pay isakole to the Bini king through his emissaries."
In her reply to whether there is a difference between Bini and Awori, she noted: "There is a difference in the context of this conversation. Yes, somebody came to the land now called Lagos and settled down there. But somebody already had authority over the place before the former came to settle – there is evidence that they actually had the authority because they made the settlers pay the royalty to them to allow them to settle there. It is simple and straightforward if we’re being honest."
She rebutted the claim that Lagos belongs to the Aworis thus: How can that be? If they came from somewhere – they should be able to tell you what ‘Awori’ means. How can anyone say the place belongs to the Awori? Even if it is said that they own the land and there was an expedition that came from Benin to chasten them because they were not paying isakole, the victor would take it all – there must have been some gains of the expedition. Some people are not being truthful. I think we should unify our views and tell the truth so that we can keep our house in order.
In the interview, she speaks of her origin further: "First of alI, I’d say I’m Bini. But you know the Erelu Kuti, who was the daughter of King Ado from Benin, her mother, Erelu Olugbani, came from Ibefun and married the Bini king. So, I am a melange of the two. But it doesn’t stop the origin story – that’s why I’m saying the history of Lagos is very clear. It is not obscure. We know that Queen Olugbani was the daughter of King Osin from Ibefun who was actually an Awujale".
She believes that the Lagos ownership confusion is a conspiracy orchestrated by the so-called atohunrinwa. She said: "I agree with you totally. That’s what I’m saying – when people are pushed to the wall then they’ll have to take action. And, I think it is as a result of that we’re having this kind of conversation. Most of the people talking now are elders – which is a bit unfortunate, because they’re supposed to show the light to those who are coming behind them. A lot of younger ones (Lagosians) are disgruntled. We must be able to point in the right direction."
NAIJ.com had reported that Rilwan Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos, had stated that he never said that the people of Bini owned Lagos state.
The monarch made his comments at the launch of ‘Defend the Defenseless’, a book written by Arese Carrington, wife of a former US ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, in Victoria Island, Lagos, on Monday, December 11.
NAIJ.com gathered that Oba Akiolu spoke in response to controversies which had been generated as a result of his earlier statement that Lagos state was making great strides developmentally as a result of the blessings it had been given by a past Oba of Benin.
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