Bini people are strangers in Lagos, says Awori group

The Awori in Lagos under the auspices of Awori Welfare Association of Nigeria on Tuesday declared that they were the earliest settlers in Lagos contrary to claims that the Bini descendants were.

The National President of AWAN, Chief Solomon Ojolowo, at a press conference in Lagos said the clarification became imperative following a statement credited to a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Prince Tajudeen Olusi, that “Awori people are not in Lagos.”

Olusi had in a recent media interview said, “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.”

But Ojolowo said the “Awori of Lagos constitute the largest single ethnic sub-group in the state, constituting about 75 per cent of the population.”

He also said the Bini were strangers in Lagos, adding that some of the places they settled on arrival in Lagos were Awori land.

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

He listed the LGAs as Lagos Island, Ojo, Badagry, Amuwo-Odofin, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Apapa, Oshodi-Isolo, Mushin, Agege, Ikeja, Alimosho, Kosofe, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Surulere, Shomolu and Ifako-Ijaye.

He said, “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 Bini are strangers in Lagos. First, let me confirm the veracity of the 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 urged Olusi to retract the claims or be ready to face legal action for allegedly misleading the people.

A representative of the Ooni of Ife, Adewale Williams, who presented a letter from Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, to the Awori indigenes in Lagos, affirmed that the Awori indigenes from Ife were the first settlers in Lagos.
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