A group, Awori Welfare Association of Nigeria (AWAN), has insisted that the Aworis are real owners and Aborigines of Lagos, expressing dismay about what it termed the distortion of the history of the state by some highly placed people, among others.
The group led by Chief Solomon Ojolowo, said this on Tuesday at a press conference, while speaking against the recent comments by the Lagos Central Senatorial Leader, Prince Tajudeen Olusi, in an interview (not with the Nigerian Tribune), where the APC chieftain contended that the Binis and not Aworis were the real owners of Lagos.
While expressing the group’s concern, Ojolowo said the recent comments by some people, including top politicians that Lagos does not belong to the Aworis was not only false but also mischievous.
According to Ojolowo, the Aworis are the real owners and Aborigines of Lagos, saying that nobody could controvert the historical fact for either economic or political advantages.
In particular, he described Olusi’s comment that the Aworis was not in Lagos but also that they were not in Yorubaland as an obvious false declaration.
According to him, the Binis were settlers in Lagos and that they had fully integrated into parts of Aworiland owing to the long-standing hospitality of Aworis to outsiders.
”Almost everyone in Yorubaland even non-Yorubas definitely knows not only that Awori is in Yorubaland but Aworis are the Aborigines of Lagos.
”But if no rebuttal is made, a wrong impression would have been unwittingly created,” Ojolowo said.
Speaking further, AWAN president, while going memory lane, said the Aworis had been in Lagos for centuries before any settlers, adding that they were descendants of Ile-Ife, the roots of the Yoruba race.
He said the Aworis constituted the largest single ethnic sub-group in the state and that they amounted to 75 per cent of the indigenous population of Lagos, adding that out of the 29 old local governments in the state, the Aworis could be conveniently found in 17 of them.
Ojolowo listed the councils to include Lagos Island, Ojo, Badagry, Amuwo-Odofin, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Apapa, Oshodi-Isolo, Mushin, Ikeja and Alimosho, among others.
While contending that the Binis were settlers, AWAN president claimed that the crowning of people of Bini descendants as obas in Lagos was on the instructions of the Ifa Oracle in early times and not because they were owners of the land.
”In the early days, the Ifa priest would say that a visitor was on his way to town or that they should look out for a settler or a stranger who would arrive in the morning and should be conscripted and crowned as Oba.
”This is how the Binis became obas in some of the places they settled in Aworiland,” he said.