The Elegushi monarchy is one of the oldest ruling houses in Lagos. Alhough documented evidence was made available in 1942, its history can be traced as far back to 1632
The Elegushi monarchy is an elective monarchy with Kings elected from different branches of the Elegushi Family.
Using Mr. Barker’s Intelligence Report as our guide, he stated that the earliest settlers of Eti-0sa Area were hunters and fishermen, “but permanent settlement probably dates from the 18′” century when people from Iddo (Island) left and founded the villages of lkate and Ajiran. With the people who settled at lkate came one of the earliest holders of the Elegushi title, an Idejo chieftaincy, while Ajiran became the seat of another White Cap Chief, the Ojomu.”
The Report continued: “The village of Ajah traces its origin to this period of settlement The next Period of settlement was towards the middle of the 19′” century and appears to have come about as a resuU of the wars and disturbances which followed the intemecine civil warfare andt the British naval intervention in Lagos politics. The villages of Addo, Badore, Shangotedo and Mopa Akilade all claimed to have association with one or other family in Lagos.
By 1850, Lagos had been settled by heterogeneous horde of people. It was out of this heterogeneous population that the polyglot character of Lagos was formed which distinguishes it to this day. The one village that has no connection with Lagos is Lamgbassa which owes its foundation to the migration of an Ijebu family from Idowa. near Ijebu Ode towards ihe close of the 1.8111 century. This difference in origin had led to an estrangement between Lamgbassa and the other EliOsa villages with the exception of Badore, a close neighbour of Lamgbassa…”
Mr. Barker. in his incisive report, stated that “The Idejo or land owning class of Lagos White Cap Chiefs had probably been allotted their shares of land in the EtiOsa area before the coming of these miscellaneous people to Lagos in the 18111 century and the villages of lkate and Ajiran became the setUement of certain of these chiefs when they left the mainland.”
Another administrative report on Eti-Osa, written by W. Fowler, District Officer, in 1947 Wed: A Report On The Lands of The Colony Districts stated on page 58 that “The people of the Eti-Osa area are mainly of Awori stock owing their origin to the migrations out of which the population of Lagos has evolved. There are too, some settlements of Ijebu and, in addition, in smaller numbers, people of miscellaneous origin.” He went on to state that: “Although largely of cognate stock the people have no common bond and their settlement in the area no common close circumstance or cause. Nevertheless cultural contacts with Lagos are maintained, some communities being either an offshoot of one of the Lagos families or enjoy the patronage of a Lagos Idejo chief.
Another official document from the Nigerian National Archives titted “Itinerary to Towns on Land lying between Lagos and Palma (Orimedu), dated 1886 gave a graphic account, for the first time, of the communities in Eti-Gsa area, village by village. The route to the area lie along the southern bank of the Lagos lagoon from Oroke, a village along the now popular Ozumba Mbadiwe Road, through five villages down to Igbosere Creek, near the site of Mobil Oil Company’s headquarters.
The Report gave detailed account, in tabular form, of the name of the headmen and elders of each village, the population, tribe, the distance from Lagoon to sea, how approached, traveling time from one village to another, best mode of locomotion, occupation of the people, productive capability in a commercial sense; markets attended and on what days, produce taken to such markets and return produce.
From this detailed information, it is possible to write a social and economic history of Eti-Osa in the latter part of the 19′” century. For instance, a place named Ojota, ten minutes walk from Shangojimi lying along the northern bank of Kuramo Water (or Omi Alakoto, in local parlance), was described as being under ELEGUSHI, as the headman, containing a population of 20 persons, all natives of Lagos, engaged in fishing, farming and Oil manufacturing. They produced cassava and palmtree products, which they turned to Garri, palm oil, palm kernels and fish which they carried daily to Lagos for sale, in exchange for cloth, gin, rum, yams, com, twine and thread.
This piece of evidence seems to support the tradition that Elegushi territorial claim that their territory extends to Omi Alakoto, or Kurarno Water. The document also shows that Elegushi was the headman of other places along the area such as a place named “Lafiaji I, Okun Alasan Sea Beach, while he was also shown as the headman of lkate over one hundred and twenty years ago.