Badagry: The Ethnicity and History of the People

Written by O'News Blog

The Ògù people were the original settlers of Badagry kingdom because Badagry was part or extension of the Dahomey kingdom before the “Scramble for Africa” in 1900.
The Badagry kingdom has eight quarters with eight traditional high chiefs: Àgólótó of Gànhó, Akran of Jègbà and paramount ruler of Badagry kingdom, Jegén of Àwhàjígò, Bààlá of Àsàgò, Fihentò of Whlàkó, Mobee of Bòékó, Wàwú of Àhòvíkó and Pòsú of Posúkó quarters.
To further prove it, the names of the quarters are in Ògù and the installation of the Àhólú (king) and Kògán (white capped chiefs) has no resemblance of the Yorubas.
The second settlers were the Aworis. We are twin sisters gave birth to by Ògù father and Yoruba mother. The Awori are the nearest neighbours to the Ògu people.
The Ògù and Awori people have been living together in Badagry for over two hundred years but failed to confederate. The Ògù and Awori confederate in October 10, 1939.
Later in the 1870s, came the invasion of the Yoruba people who were integrated into the main town because they were from Oyo, the Ogu people rather called them Àyọ̀nù or oyonu which simply means Oyo person.
They established compounds like agbole-onisasun, agbole-olusi, agbole-ajape, agbole alaro, agbole-onilude, agbole-seriki, etc in Badagry town. Most of them were businessmen and Islamic scholars.
They introduced Islamic religion, so the headship of the Yoruba people in Badagry was Iman. Although through the successive Imams, the Yorubas paid tribute to the traditional chiefs of their constituency. They acknowledged political sovereignty and custom of the land.
Another set of settlers in Badagry were the Nupe or Tapa from Niger. They came to Badagry in 1900 and established the Àgbolé-Tápà (Idi-oro) along Joseph Dosu way. They brought Igunuko masquerade to Badagry.
Other settlers in Badagry are the ilajes, hausas, ibos, saros, agudas and the ganyins. All these people make up Badagry. So all of the above people are the Badagrians.
To answer the second question, “the position of Badagry in development of Lagos”. As we all aware that Badagry is the first seat of Lagos colony. The British colony was established in 1861.
Record shows that then Lagos colony included three divisions: Ikeja, Epe and Badagry. The last British commissioner for the colony Mr. E. A. Carr and his deputy Major J.C. Allen both of them had their residence in Badagry.
Beside, Badagry was the centre of the Lagos politics from the proclamation of the colony in 1861. Therefore, Badagry is one of the pillars of Lagos.
The first political meeting of “Black Movement for Emancipation” comprising of people like Herbert Macaulay (founder of Democratic party in 1922), Nmamdi Azikwe, Ibiyinka Olorunimbe, James Churchill Vanghan, Kofo Abayomi, Akinola Maija, H.O. Davies, Jubril Martins, Ernest Okoli (founder of Nigerian Youth Movement in 1933), Senu Oke, C.D. Akran, orisadipe Obasa, Kiroyi Ajasa and Haratio Jackson was held in Badagry District Office in 1949.
The second edition of the meeting that involved Obafemi Awolowo was held in the same venue in 1950. Then, Awolowo was a political boy and loyalist to Papa C.D Akran. Both of them engineered the formation of Action Group at Owo in 1951.
Apart from the political involvement of Badagry in Lagos, Badagry economic prosperity made from salt making, palm oil and fish was second to none. The boom economy attracted rivalry and attacks from the British, Lagos, Abeokuta and Oyo. The attack later led to the movement of some Ògu people to Ilaro, Abeokuta and Ibadan in the late 1950s.
After the attack in 1953, the new Governor of Nigeria, Sir John MacPherson summoned the first assembly of representatives of the people of Nigeria at Ibadan General Conference.
Because of the boom economy of Badagry, eleven delegates including Oba Adesoji, Aderemi, the Oni of Ife, Bode Thomas, Akinpelu Obisesan, S.O. Awokoya, Adegunle Soetan, M. A. Ajasin, T.A. Bankole, chief Ogulana II, C.D. Akran and Arthur Priest submitted a report compelling the British Government to merged Badagry (Lagos colony) with western region. The secretary of the colony acceded to their request and Badagry became part of western region.
Based on the outcome of the C.D. Akran was appointed by the Lagos colony to represent Lagos colony on the board of Agriculture and Economy.
Subsequently, he was elected through the electoral college to represent Lagos in the western Nigerian parliament. Later, he became minister of local government development and minister for economic and planning respectively.

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