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Lagos versus Eko

  I'll check with my colleagues. Off the top of my head, I know some Edo-speaking people answer Ogedengbe but I can't pin down the dialect precisely. As you know there was much admixture between Benin and present day Ekiti/Ondo states. There is actually an Edo-Akure dialect, which very few people speak today. [You may need to contact the Palace in Benin.] Edos of the Owan clan may also have a clue. I'll also ask my mother.

By the way Benin Kings are not buried in Ife. They are buried in the Ogbe section of Benin City.

Thanks for the information. I stand corrected. My initial post should have read "part[s] of the Oba of Benin is/are interred in Ile-Ife." Please correct me if I am wrong. There's another connection. Lagos Island used to be a colony of Benin. I don't have much details on this, save for the fact that the Oba of Lagos used to consult with the Oba of Benin before making any major decision. 

Perhaps you can shed more light on this.


Your message is duly noted.

Yes, I can shed some light on the connection with Lagos, which was a colony of Benin for many years, ruled by Edo viceroys. The modern name Lagos was derived from one used by Portuguese explorers - "Lago di Kuramo".

But the original Edo name for Lagos is "Eko". Oba Orhogbua, who had earlier been educated and baptised at a Portuguese school in Benin, founded it as a prisoner-of-war camp in the 16th century. [Orhogbua was the son of Esigie]

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Because of a falsely rumored coup back home he returned to Benin from where he dispatched his grandson Esikpa to return to become the first Eleko of Eko. Esikpa was himself succeeded by his sons Edo and Guobaro respectively.

Beginning with Esikpa, most Elekos had their remains returned to Benin for interment. [Chiefs of Badagry were also buried in Benin.] Shortly after the amalgamation of North and South in 1914 there was a brief Eleko crisis in Lagos when indigenes demanded a reestablishment of their traditional monarchy. In 1915, responding to requests by Lagos indigenes, Iyase Obaseki and Obazuaye were dispatched by Oba Eweka II to testify about the Edo antecedents of the Lagos Monarchy.

To this day, many genuine traditional titles in Lagos are Edo titles. There is a direct blood link between the royal families of Lagos and
Benin. And if you pay very close attention, Edos are very prominent and successful in Lagos life. A fair number of "Lagosians" have Edo heritage even though a large number have acculturated their names with the Yoruba majority.

You can verify this information from the Palace of Oba Oyekan.



Thanks again for this useful information. Yes, the proper name is Eko. As a matter of fact, I briefly touched on that issue several days ago on Yoruba Net.

I have Edo heritage too. I am a descendant of the late Oba Ologunkutere.

I don't have to verify this from the palace of Oba Oyekan [an uncle] He'll berate me for not being conversant with the history :-)). The next time I go to Iga Idunganran to visit the tomb of Oba Ologunkutere, I hope to get him to discuss some these things.

Finally, are the words:


Edo words?
Thanks again for the information.



You are welcome. The names you have listed are compounded. Remember that in Edo language, sentences or phrases tend to coalesce into single words with the vowels elided or euphonic letters inserted, making it difficult to determine the precise words, which are the component parts of such a phrase. The first four letters "Idun" could have been shortened from Idunwun meaning "district" or "area" or "section". Thus:
"IDUNMAGBO" would be district of 'magbo'.
"IDUNGANRAN" would be district of 'ganran'
"IDUNMOTA" would be district of 'mota'
"IDUNTAFA" would be district of 'tafa'

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The meanings of 'magbo', 'ganran', 'mota' and 'tafa' will be difficult to pin down precisely now but could have been shortened from any one of numerous Edo names - probably names of Warrior settlers or other such relationships. They might even be names of villages or village groups conquered and brought into Eko - the prisoner of war camp. Either explanation would make sense because the names you have provided are mostly districts in Eko (now Lagos).

The second possibility is that the first three letters stand for "Idu......" where Idu stands for a well known ancient Bini idol.

There is a whole vocabulary of old Edo that relates to architectural and other technical items (including weapons and military formations). I may need to check on this to really know whether there are other meanings not only for the Idun... words, but also "Iga". Some of my colleagues on the Edo-community@egroups.com list may also have insights that I do not have. There are several members of the royal family on the list. I am copying this message to them.

Stay in touch. We are developing an Edo-Nation weblink and would definitely like to create a sub-link for our cousins in the Eko (Lagos) diaspora. We will certainly call on you to get materials for such a link to celebrate our ancestral ties.

There is much to be re-discovered.