Ikorodu Town is the second most populous Local Government Area in Lagos state with a population estimated at about 2 million people and an annual growth rate of about 10%. This article gives us useful insight to the latest addition of sprawling cities in Lagos state and probably what you never knew about Ikorodu.
Ikorodu Town: ‘Ilu kekere oko ilu bantata’ Master of a town, a small town that is a boss of big towns. Originally, the name “Ikorodu” was derived from the two word OKO-ODU Meaning the farm (OKO) of (ODU) a kind of plant, precisely a vegetable specie. The word ODU means something that blackens, and since it was discovered that the plant had blacking power and it was in effect used in dyeing cloth- the name ODU was applied to it. It’s significant to note that the trade of Ikorodu early women was cloth dyeing, which followed from the discovery of the dyeing power of ODU plant which is now extinct.
The history of Ikorodu town is as rich as the enviable track record of its sons and daughters who have not only excelled in their chosen career, but have also left their footprints on virtually all the strata of our national history for posterity to see. It is the history of a people whose ancestors, according to available history, descended from the Remo stock of Yoruba tribe, who came, settled on a plateau and named it Ikorodu, a shortened word from-Oko Odu.
The fact of the history seems to tilt in favour of Oga as the founder of Ikorodu. This by extension, confirms the Remo link in the origin of Ikorodu. The males among the early settlers in Ikorodu had facial tribal marks found among the Remo. The late Oba Adenaike Alagbe had such tribal marks too.
The new settlement in the heart of a massive forest was first used by the sons of Akarigbo, Koyelu of Orile Offin Shagamu-Oga, Lasuwon, Rademo, Anoko, Osonusi (alias Ogbonyari) Igimisoje, Otutubiosun, Oladepo and Seku made. The extended area now known as Ikorodu was used by these sons of Akarigbo of Ijebu-Remo for hunting and farming.
Soon after, some large contingent of Benin migrants came by land through Iki in Ogun state (where almost the whole land belongs to the Olisa family of Ikorodu) to the area now known as Ikorodu.
This group of Benin people were led by a wealthy and powerful man called Eregbouwa (now called Rebugbawa in Ikorodu) from the ancient royal family of Oliha of Benin City. In Benin language, Ere means king and Uwa means peace and prosperity, hence Eregbuwa means king of peace and prosperity. The Benin people settled down amicably with the children of Akarigbo and the farm started to grow into a large settlement. This was about 1630. The institution of Obaship was conceded to the line of Akarigbo while the institution of Olisaship was conceded to the Benin settlers. In effect the Oba became the reigning monarch while the Olisa became the Kingmaker and the prime minister of the city-state.
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This high position of the Olisa as the next in rank to the Oba in the city state was borne out in his attribute or cognomen in the Yoruba metaphor: AJUWE Akoye Orulu egbin o ru’lamuren a worun meaning – a noble gentlemen who administers the town. This of course, is done subject to the authority of the Oba and it presupposes that the cordiality between the Oba and the Olisa should be impenetrable. This was the tradition arrangement. The institutions and deities such as the Osugbo, the Awo Opa, the Inomu and the Eluku were designed for the good administration and peace of the town.
Prior to the advent of the Benin people, Oga was the head of the establishment. He and Lasunwon lived in a hamlet called Agbele at the presence site of NITEL. Agbele was also called Egure and so Oga became the Elegure of Egure. Lasunwon was Odofin of Shagamu. But when the Binis came and Oga died, Lasunwon was installed the first Oloja of Ikorodu by Olisa Rebugbawe. Lasuwon and Eregbouwa (Rebugbawe) were therefore the first Oloja (Oba) and the first Olisa of Ikorodu respectively. There are two Ruling Houses for the Obaship namely Lasunwon and Rademo Ruling Houses.
Traditionally Ikorodu is divided broadly into three for ease of representative democracy. These divisions are Ijomu, Aga, and Isele, which are represented, in Osugbo-the highest administrative organ in the town headed by the Olisa as chairman of Iwerefa (while Oluwo is administrative head). The smaller divisions called itun in the town are subsumed in the three major larger divisions.
With this arrangement, the emerging administrative structure of Ikorodu ensured that the Obaship and Olisaship belong to the two primordial families of Oba (Lasunwon and Rademo) and the Olisa respectively. They are traditional and hereditable titles.
As the settlement grew with influx of more migrants, city wall sprang up buffer zones against intruders. The city wall which modernity had wiped out, ran through present day Ireshe road to Ota-ona, right through Eluku street/Alhaji street, to Owolowo street and back to Ireshe road. The near spherical settlement within the wall was the totality of the old Ikorodo.
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The early town grew around a nucleus of settlement referred to as Itun, which covers a specific location with boundary. There is Itun layeodo, people by migrant from Ode-Remo, Itunsoku is said to be people by migrants from Isokun quarters in Shagamu; Itagbodo was originally peopled by settlers from Oke-Gbodo, Itun Elepe is said to be the quarter started by people of Elepe stock in Shagamu; Itunwaiye was originally the quarter of people from Iwaya in Ogun State; Itunsoku was originally peopled by migrants whose roots were traced to Isokun quarters in Shagamu; Itunojoru was the quarters people by migrant of Egba origin in Abeokuta. The cosmopolitan outlook of the emerging settlement became the catalyst for development. Apart from farming, the early settlers were astute traders, who developed coastal market at Ebute. The flourishing trade in cloth dying, fishing and farm produce attracted traders from far and wide.
Today, modern Ikorodu is a collecting point for locally produced fish, poultry, cassava (manioc), corn (maize), vegetables, palm oil and kernels, okra, cabbages, tomatoes, pineapples, and bananas that are shipped to Lagos. Many truck farms are located in the vicinity of the town. The commercial manufacture of pottery is a significant local industry. The town is served by highways between Lagos and Shagamu and between Lagos and Epe.
To say that Ikorodu is developed in terms of infrastructure is to say the least. The city has good road networks, good electrification system, ferry and container terminals. Apart from these, plans have being underway by the Lagos state government to build a bridge that link the city to Lekki and other areas of Lagos Island; the 4th Mainland Bridge it’s called.
Among the existing infrastructure that has been in place and witnessed rehabilitation or upgrading include the National Bank of Nigeria that opened a branch in Ikorodu in 1972. Also, the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), built a lighter terminal in Ipakodo, IKorodu in 1974, while the Lagos-Ikorodu Road dualisation contract was signed in Lagos on November 26, 1987. This opened the door of prosperity for Ikorodu town.
Other structures that may have erased antiquity and livened up Ikorodu include, the Tax Office converted to Ikorodu Law Court in 1937, while the women training centre located at 46, Oriwu Road, Ikorodu was opened on May 25, 1985. The Ikorodu High Court, Olubi Street, Ikorodu was commissioned on April 20, 1993 by the former Governor of the Lagos State, Sir Michael Otedola.
Not forgetting Ikorodu Town Hall, an ultra-modern edifice designed by the late Michael Onafowokan, a foremost architect from the community was completed in 1992 and formally opened on Sunday, December 18, 1994.
And so the new trend…which laid the foundation for the birth of modern Ikorodu.
Read the concluding part of this article here