What’s in a name, origin or heritage? A lot I would say. It allows for originality, essence of life and a definition of what that name stands for. We start this first edition of Origins and Names from Lagos state, originally called “ lago de curamo” by the Portuguese in the 18th century. Most areas in Lagos have their original names dating back to trouble times in the state,different and funny circumstances gave birth to names in what is now known as “Lagos States”. As the state turns 50 next year, we only deem it fair to give proper definition to areas in the states.
If you reside in the any of the areas below. Oya, its time to rep your area.
Ojota: One of Lagos busy spots, a connecting point from the central part of the state to the Island and to all adjoining parts of the city. The area used to be a military settlement in the late 18th century and soldiers and colonial military forces with widely used firing ranges. Notoriously known for its different gun firing spots, the name “Oju ota” which means “Bullet spots” came to be. The name later metamorphosed to Ojota and that’s its name till today.
Abule-Egba: Found on the outskirts of the town, the area got its name from the earliest settlers who were the Egba people from Abeokuta. Looking at the old map of Lagos from 1857, the busy area now which now houses a total population of over 300,000 people was once a forest and almost forbidden area. With a road leading to Abeokuta, the Egba came up and settled in the area first and got its name “Abule awon Egba” which later became “Abule Egba” NOTE;Yoruba’s have a way of naming things by the way they see it.
Magodo: This upscale area of Lagos used to be a sacred land and there were a lot of rules and taboos that were set forth by the priests that occupied the land. One of the taboos then was for residents in the area not to make use of mortar and pestle bringing forth the name “Ma gu n odo” meaning (Don’t pound it). The name was stylishly converted to Magodo later. So, if you’re staying in Magodo and you like eating pounded yam like Ijesha or Ekiti people,you are violating the laws of the ancestors ooooo
Apongbon: Number four on our list is one of Lagos’ busiest market, known for cheap and copy-cat items. It is located at the core central of Lagos. The name was gotten from the then Acting Governor of Lagos Colony from August 6th 1861- January 22nd 19862,William McCoskry who was a red bearded Scottish man
I am sure the Yoruba’s then who couldn’t pronounce the name then had to call the man by what he looked like. The red bearded Scottish man ‘Oyinbo to pon ni igbon’ was later switched to Apongbon.
Victoria Island: A major settlement of British colonial power, close to the ocean which provided good access for berthing the British ships, fresh and juicy, this spot was a major hub for the British colonials. Hence the name ‘Victoria Island’ named after the then Queen Victoria,who was queen of England from 20th June 1837 -January 22nd 1901.
Agidingbin: 1856-1882 was a troubled area in Eko then. Apart from the fact the city was still struggling with the stoppage of slavery, Oba Akitoye was in a strong feud with his nephew Prince Kosoko who wanted the throne by all means. Slavery and human sacrifice was the excuse then for the British naval forces, and in 1885 Lagos was bombarded by the Naval British forces. The noise of the canon as they ripped through the streets of Lagos island was what gave rise to our number 6 here. The settlers described the noise as “A gb din gbinnn” (loud and ground breaking noise). The name “Agidingbin” was later born out of this.
Agbado Ijaiye: Similar to its cousin Abule Egba, it was an Ijaiye settlement; actually an Ijaiye farming community. The hardworking and resilient Ijaiyes had a big corn settlement there and over time started building mini huts called “Aba” at the farm so that they could stay after work and rest. Gradually,the ‘Aba’ became houses and over time became a full settlement.
Broad Street: It’s no open secret that the biggest financial and commercial hub of Lagos which was once a colonial block of power was one of the longest and widest streets in the city. It got its name from its extreme broadness. Just in case you don’t know, the current size of what’s left of the street is now two times less than what it use to be.
Ebute-Metta: Also known as the harbor point. It was one of the earliest harbor docks where the British ships berthed at. It was an important point of trade and commerce in colonial times. One of the early few commercial spots in Lagos. The word “Ebute” meaning sea side,and “metta” meaning three. It was a connecting point of trade and civilization.
Epetedo: Named after the early settlers who were Epe trades men and women during the Eko trouble area. The Epe people came first to settle in the area, and they didn’t only dominate but also brought in their trade and commerce to the area.
Interesting to know these facts right? The second part of Origins and Names will a feature of more areas in Lagos until we are able to significantly cover the whole of Lagos state; giving meaning to the origin of the city that never sleeps.Tough,rugged and bubbling,the main vein of Nigeria’s growth. Do you also have a story,share what you know and your questions in the comments section below.