Oloja of Lagos reveals historical facts on emergence of Lagos State from Kosoko's lineage

Prince Abiola Olojo-Kosoko

Oloja of Lagos, Prince Abiola Olojo-Kosoko at his palace in Lagos

By Taiye Olayemi

The Oloja of Lagos, Prince Abiola Olojo-Kosoko, on Wednesday urged Nigerians to continue to uphold the legacies of his progenitor, late Morounfolu Eshinlokun, popularly called “Kosoko”.

Olojo-Kosoko made the call when officials of the Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture paid a visit to his palace in Ereko, Lagos.

The traditional ruler, who relayed historical facts on the emergence of Lagos State from the lineage of his progenitor explained that late Kosoko who was the first Oloja in Lagos was instrumental to the highly enterprising nature of the state.

He described late Kosoko as a very powerful, well revered and wealthy man who traded in slaves extensively and well loved by many.

He said that Eshinlokun acquired the nickname, Kosoko, because of circumstances surrounding his several births and deaths.

“The last time Kosoko reincarnated he came back with two stones which are still available at his palace.

“Kosoko’s metaphysical power is linked to these stones and one other one added to it in the course of his life which are now called “Esu ori omi”, “Esu ori ile and Ota Inu omi”.

“These are what made Kosoko what he is today in Ereko here”.

“Kosoko’s deities are still alive till today, people do not come to Kosoko palace and say evil, it will happen. There are places people can not go here, if they do, they can loose their testicles or sight or even a woman can menstruate till death.

“So, many things are attached to Kosoko,” he said.

Speaking on how kingship was transferred down, Oloja-Kosoko said Eshinlokun, Kosoko’s father, was far away in Mayin River, now known as Epe, when his father, (Ologun Kutere), died and Adele Ajose was crowned king of Lagos.

He said Kosoko came back unhappy and this created division within Iga Iduganran Palace.

He explained that Adele was married to an Oyo woman who introduced Egun masquerade to the town but the people view such as a negative deity and so decided to use that against him so he relocated to the western shore of Lagos colony, now called Badagry.

According to him, Eshinlokun was then crowned king of Lagos and his reign witnessed a boom in slave business and Kosoko got the title as the only heir to the throne.

He said this was in obedience to the dictate of the then Oba of Benin who said the first son of the king should become the next king after the death of the ruling king.

“Eshinlokun expanded his slave business wider to Dahomey, Porte Novo and all and this made him citizen to over 4 different countries aside Nigeria.
“Also, in the course of Kosoko’s movement and trade in slavery, Eshinloye died after 25 years on the throne, Kosoko was not in town so they had to bring in his younger brother, Idewu who became the king of Lagos.

“Later Kosoko came back to realise his brother had been crowned and all the slaves Kosoko inherited from his father came together to say they wanted him to be king but his mother took him and his siblings to her private residence at Ita-Kose, known as the levy collecting house to pacify them.
“Kosoko later accepted his brother as king but Idewu knowing who Kosoko was decided to pronounce him as “Oloja of Ereko” in 1833.

“As the Oloja of Ereko, Kosoko collects levies and gives whatever he choses to his brother but the people do not like Idewu so they went to Kosoko to tell him to take over.

“That was the point when politics and back-biting began in the kingship selection in Lagos,” he said.

The traditional ruler noted that because the people did not like Idewu, he was made to open the pot of secrecy which would warrant him to either commit suicide or leave the throne.

”So, he eventually committed suicide without giving birth to any child.”

Olojo-Kosoko said that after all these, another woman, Efunroye Tinubu, reached an agreement with Kosoko to continue as the Oloja of Ereko as he allowed his uncle, Adele become the king which he conceded to.

He said this made Tinubu also become Iya Oloja of Lagos but not long, Adele died when Kosoko was not around and the stool of Oba of Lagos became a mirage and before Kosoko’s return, Oluwole, son to Adele was crowned.

He said upon Kosoko’s return, he was not happy about the development, there were rancour and Eletu-Idigbo, the kingmaker who had been having issues with Kosoko was contacted to consult Ifa.

According to him, Ifa revealed Kosoko as the next king but Eletu-Idigbo intentionally pronounced Oluwole as the king.

“This led to Kosoko and his siblings assassinating Oluwole whose corpse could only be recognized with his beads later.
“There after, Akitoye was crowned the king of Lagos.

“Kosoko experienced series of betrayals, one of such occasions, he beheaded his wife in the presence of some British slave merchants and killed some of them as well.

“The British got angry and this led to the bombardment of Lagos in Dec. 1851.

“So, that era of kingship tussle experienced four wars: Ogun Konilegbele, Ogun Ewe Koko, Ogun Olomiro and Ogun Awoyaya,” he said.

According to the traditional ruler, after several years of kingship tussle and Kosoko went on exile, a treaty of peace was signed by all parties including Kosoko, the British assured him that there will be peace.

He said Kosoko only came out of exile after 9 years of signing the treaty while the British assured him of being paid $10,000 annually but he had to stop the slave business.

“Epetedo and Ereko palace springed up as a result of getting a place for Kosoko to stay. His merchants and loyalists stayed in Epetedo and he came back as the Oloja of Lagos, while he stayed in Ereko here,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Idowu Johnson, Director of Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture, said the council was out to harness the authentic history of Lagos State through traditional rulers that ruled before the emergence of the state.

Johnson said this would help in proper preservation and marketing of the state as a choice destination to intending tourists.

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