Lagos has a lot of deep rooted histories. From the days of our ancestors to the colonial era, a lot of events occurred which brought about the creation of some areas and the names given to them, which they are being called up till today.
Here are the histories behind some popular areas in Lagos.
- Oju Elegba
The popular area in Lagos is not without its roots. Oju Elegba which literarily means “the eyes of the cane owner” actually has a deep—rooted meaning. The name Oju Elegba originated from the idol called Elegba, whose shrine was located at a spot called Oju. However, the name Oju Elegba emanated from the description of that spot which is Oju Elegba, meaning the shrine of Elegba.
Ojota used was a military settlement in the late 18th century where soldiers practised their shooting. The area had several gun firing spots and became known as “Oju Ota” in Yoruba
which means “Bullet spots”. It later metamorphosed into Ojota which it is called now.
- Isale Eko
Eko was the land area now known as Lagos Island where the king’s palace was built. Oba Ado and the warriors from Benin, as well as some of the indigenous people who sought safety, settled down in the southern part of Eko called “Isale Eko”, Isale literally meaning bottom, but must have been used to indicate downtown Lagos.
- Abule Egba
This area is on the outskirts of Lagos and got its name from the early settlers who were Egba people from Abeokuta. The area was first called “Abule awon egba” in Yoruba, which means “Village of Egba people”. It later became “Abule Egba”.
Apongbon is one of Lagos’ most popular markets, and it’s also quite close to the popular Oke-Arin market. It got its name from the then acting governor of the Lagos colony, William McCoskry, who had a Red Beard. The Yorubas who couldn’t pronounce the colonial governor’s name decided to describe him by his red beard and started calling him “Oyinbo to pon ni igbon” meaning a red-bearded man. It later became Apongbon.
Magodo is now a posh area, but in the past, it used to be sacred land. The residents had a lot of taboos and one of them was to avoid using mortars and pestles, “Ma gun odo” which means “Don’t pound it”. It later became ‘Magodo
Ebute-Metta is one of the earliest harbour docks where British ships berthed at. It was a hub for trade and commerce in colonial times. Ebute-Metta is a fusion of the words “Ebute” which means the seaside in Yoruba, and “Metta” which means three.
The British Naval forces invaded Lagos in 1885 under the pretext of stopping slavery and human sacrifice. The noise their canon made was really loud, and the sound was heard round the streets of Lagos Island. The people described the sound as “A gb din gbinnn”. Which means a loud groundbreaking noise. The name Agidingbi was borne out of this.
- Victoria Island
Victoria Island was also a major hub for commerce and British ships berthed there often. It’s named after Queen Victoria of England who was Queen from 1837-1901.
Ikeja, the capital of Lagos, is actually an abbreviation for “Ikorodu And Epe Joint Administration”. It was coined by the colonial masters for ease of administration.