THE ORIGIN OF AJEGUNLE

Aug 29, 2022 | Tradition & Culture | 0 comments

Written By Fakunle Sheriff Ekundayo

 {AJEROMI-IFELODUN }

Ajegunle is a cosmopolitan city in Lagos State. The history of Ajegunle dates back to the 19th century. And it is interesting to know that the word Ajegunle which literally means: ‘THIS IS WHERE MY WEALTH RESIDES’ is a near boundary coinage adopted to represent the geographical land mass of the modern-day Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government and Ifelodun LCDA in Lagos State. The irony of this is that Ajegunle community inside Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government has less than 20 Streets!

The purpose of this DOCUMENT is to ensure that the younger generations are equipped with the appropriate information, and equally to be endowed with verifiable legacies which can serve as educational resources and preservation of the socio-cultural background of one of the most populous cities in Nigeria.

Fakunle Sheriff Ekundayo

HISTORY OF AJEROMI-IFELODUN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA

Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area was CREATED IN 1996. It constituted one of the three district councils under Badagry Division. Since the issuance in 1968 of the administrative Division (Establishment) Edict which broke Lagos State into Five Administrative Divisions (Lagos, Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu, and Ikeja). The two other Districts in Badagry Division were Egun-Awori and Awori Districts. However, the local government reforms of 1976 introduced a major political and physical reorganization of the division.

With the consequent enactment of the local government Edict of 1976 by the State Government, the former three District Councils in Badagry Division: Egun-Awori, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, and Awori Districts were merged and brought under one umbrella; BADAGRY LOCAL GOVERNMENT. These three district Councils constituted what was then known as Badagry Local Government with Badagry being the Administrative Headquarters. The boundary stretched eastwards from Apapa in Lagos to Seme border in the West.

However, with the emergence of civil administration in October 1979, the then Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande further split the Local Government in Lagos State into twenty-three (23) in order to bring the Government closer to the people. Badagry Local Government was therefore split into three autonomous councils, Ojo (former Awori District), Ajeromi/Ifelodun, and Badagry. But this structure was short-lived as a result of the military take-over in 1983. One of the steps taken by the then Federal Military Administration of General Buhari/Idiagbon on the assumption of office in December 1983 was to nullify all the local governments created by the civilian government between October 1979 and December 1983. As a result of the restructuring, the Lagos State Government under Commodore Mike Akhigbe, reverted to eight local governments created during the 1976 Local Government Reforms.

Realizing that the defunct civilian administration from 1979-1983 could not accomplish the aims and objectives of the 1976 reformed local government system, the then Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, late Major-General Tunde Idiagbon set up a 20-man committee headed by Alhaji Dasuki to, among other things, re-examine the existing structure, functions and financial resources of local governments. The committee in its report noted that the system of local government in the country after the 1976 reforms had more operational problems than structural problems. On the creation of a new local government, the agitation of which was rife at that period, the committee recommended that if new local governments were to be created at all, it should not be less than 10 yearly intervals. However, the committee recommended the following criteria for the creation of a new local government: (1) A minimum population between 100,000 and 150,000 (2) A minimum tax-paying population of 20,000 (3) Geographical congruity (4) Tradition, association, and wishes of the community in the area (5) Financial viability of the area in question- ability to generate internally at least 50% of the revenue required to fund the local government annual recurrent expenditure, and (6) Administrative convenience.

The recommendation of the Dasuki Commission was not immediately implemented in Lagos State until 1989 and 1996 when among the new local governments created, Ojo was carved out of Badagry Local Government (1989) and later (1996) Amuwo Odofin and Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Governments respectively were created out of Ojo Local Government, bringing the total number of local government in Lagos State to twenty (20).

The number of local governments in Lagos State remained at twenty despite genuine agitation by Lagosians for the creation of additional Council areas. This agitation was perhaps fuelled, among other things, by the glaring imbalance in the number of local governments created in the North as against those created in the South-West. The Kano State example readily becomes a reference point. Before 1996, Kano State had 44 local government councils, but in 1996 when States and local governments were created, Jigawa was carved out of Kano State with 40 Local Governments Councils at inception. It must be noted that by virtue of the 1991 provisional census figure, Lagos State was having the highest population figure in Nigeria, higher than that of Kano State even before Jigawa State was created out of the former. By these statistics, it means that Kano and Jigawa States whose population, when put together is less than that of Lagos State are having 84 local government councils as against 20 created in Lagos State, with less population figure and invariably less responsibility to attract higher statutory allocation from the Federation Account than Lagos State that has greater socio-economic responsibilities and challenges than both States.

However, the clamor for the creation of an additional local government in Lagos State raged on until October 2003 when His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Executive Governor of Lagos State took the bull by the horn and created additional 37 Developmental Councils out of the original twenty local governments. This was indeed a bold and brave step in the face of overwhelming opposition. Though the exercise did not increase the normal statutory allocation of Lagos State local governments, the political experiment was a huge success as governance ever more than before, is brought closer to the people with the meager resources spread.

CHALLENGES

Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government presently covers about 2.216 hectares of land with 97% development, leaving 3% comprising gutters, canals, and swamps. The local government is geographically below sea level, and virtually half of the total landscape is a reclamation of swamp and mash. Its dense population comprises diverse populated settlements, towns, and communities made up of people of disparate ethnic origins or nationalities and cultures. The local government is essentially residential and is best described as a semi-urban community with an overtly retail economy.

CENSUS

The 1991 provisional census result of Lagos State put the figure at five million, six hundred and eighty-five thousand seven hundred and eighty-one (5,685,781.00). Ojo Local Government under which Amuwo Odofin and Ajeromi/Ifelodun were then Area offices in 1991, by the provisional figure released, had a total population of One million and eleven thousand, eight hundred and eight (1,011,808.00) the highest recorded in any of the twenty local governments in Lagos State and in the 774 Local Governments in Nigeria as a whole. The recent distribution of the National Identity Card in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government in Lagos State alone has, however; shed more light on the population of this local government. Approximately, over four million National Identity Cards were said to have so far been distributed to the populace with hundreds of thousands still to be given out. This does not include figures for the underage and those that did not meet the age requirement at the time of registration. As a matter of fact, not many States in Nigeria have the population concentration as exists in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government, yet what comes to the local government from the federation account as the grant is far less than what the states do collect. The fact that Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government is more populous than most States in Nigeria implies that the socio-economic responsibilities and challenges being borne by the local government are far greater and enormous than what most of the States in Nigeria shoulder. And by extension many countries in Africa: Countries as Togo, Chad, Burkina Fasso to mention just a few do not have the socio-economic responsibilities being borne by Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government.

To further illuminate the over-whelming responsibilities being shouldered by this local government is the fact that presently, it has within its jurisdiction, Seventy-two (72) Public Primary Schools and Thirty-nine (39) Public Secondary Schools, while it has over two hundred (200) Private schools (Primary and secondary inclusive). The population of students in AJIF local government is over two hundred thousand and this clearly suggests that more infrastructural development is needed in the local government.

GEOGRAPHY

Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area is bounded on the North by Suru-lere Local Government, on the South by Atlantic Ocean Apapa-Tincan, Oshodi, Apapa Expressway, and on the Eastern flank by Apapa Local Government, and the North by Ogun State. The land size is 2,216 hectares, with 97% development and leaving 3% which comprises gutters, canals, and swamps. The boundary stretched eastwards from Apapa in Lagos to Seme border in the West.

ECONOMY

Predominantly petty trading and diverse commercial enterprise, increase in major, mini markets and night markets dotting nooks and crannies. And in recent times, the proliferation of hospitality businesses and other entertainment hubs.

MAJOR MARKETS ARE:

Alayabiagba, Tolu, Awodi-Ora, Alakoto, Cemetery, Ibafon, and Temidire .

CORPORATE: Ajegunle commands buoyant hospitality cum entertainment business. It is home to Apapa-Plant, construction giant, Julius Berger, Sunny foam, and Federal Government Press amongst others.

SOCIO-CULTURAL: It is a potpourri of the volatile, complex, and sprawling urban slum, the cosmopolitan population mix and setting comprising major and minor ethnic nationalities, tribes, cultures, origins, and tastes. The rich cultural tradition of Egungun festival and Igunu Ko festival are the major cultural highlights in the Local Government Area. Ajegunle commands a formidable pool of renowned international superstars and local soccer stars. The community is a haven for many accomplished popular Nigerian musicians, recording artists, and entertainment gurus. Ajegunle is referred to as mini-Nigeria and the national headquarter of PIDGIN English.

ESTIMATED POPULATION: About 2.2 million people resident in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government, comprising densely populated communities, towns, and settlements, which comprise various ethnic, tribal, and multi-national origins and cultures, large population spread and geographical density rank it as one of the largest L.G.A in the federation. Described as mini Nigeria because of the large presence of every tribe/denomination and tongue who populates this sprawling land mass.

THE COMMUNITIES IN AJEROMI-IFELODUN LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Ajegunle

Alayabiagba

Aiyetoro

Alakoto

Araromi

Dankaka

Tolu

Awodi-Ora

Ibafon

Onibaba

COMMUNITIES IN IFELODUN LOCAL COUNCIL DEVELOPMENT AREA

Layeni

Amukoko

Oridilu/Oke-Oja

Alaba Oro

TRADITIONAL INSTITUTIONS

This comprises numerous towns/settlements that all have traditional rulers and are called BA’ALE, they are Ba’ale Alayabiagba, Ba’ale Aiyetoro, Ba’ale Araromi, Ba’ale Dankaka, Ba’ale Tolu, Ba’ale Ibafon, Ba’ale Awodi-Ora, Ba’ale Onibaba, Ba’ale Alakoto, and Ba’ale Tolu. Others include the Baloguns and Iyalodes, including other titles Chiefs, and traditional heads of other ethnic/tribal groups.

FOR IFELODUN LCDA

-Baale Amukoko, Baale Layeni, Baale Alaba-Oro, Baale Oridilu/Oke Oja and their Baloguns and Iyalodes, including other titles Chiefs, traditional heads of other ethnic/tribal groups.

STREETS UNDER EACH COMMUNITY IN AJEROMI-IFELODUN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND IFELODUN LCDA

ALAYABIAGBA WEST It comprises the following Streets:

Alayabiagba Street, Mobil Road, Tieda Street, Alaba Street, Baale Lane, Baale Street, New Baale Street, Navy Road, Navy Alley, Odofin Street, Arizuka Street, Boundary Road, Ugbewankwo Street, and Arumoh Street.

AIYETORO NORTH: It comprises the following Streets:  Tunkarimu Street, Ugbewankwo Street, Young Lane, Brambafia Street, Eradiri Lane, Eletu Street, Anthony Agboje Street, Okorogbo Street, Okunola Street, Aromire Lane, Yisa Abiodun Street, Akatakpo Street, Adaramola Lane, Opah Lane, Ugbewankwo Lane, Ikeji Street, Akande Lane, Jimoh Lane, Robert Lane, Kolawole Close and Rasheed Ayinke Close, Boundary Road, Sidi Street, Rufai Street, Ayinde Street, Muibi Street, Etuigbo Lane, Iduma Lane, Amaechi Street, Amaechi Crescent, Alkali Lane, Jibowu Street, Boundary Road, Sanusi Street, Ijaiye Street, Layinka Street, Layinka Lane, Kodjo Lane, Garba Close, Olatoye Close, Arumoh Street, Baale Aiyetoro Street (North), Olowojeunjeje Street, Iyalode Street, (North) Ojora Street, Overe Street, Olubukunola Street, Ezie Street, Ezie Lane, and Eradiri Street.

AIYETORO SOUTH: It comprises the following Street: Baale Aiyetoro Street (South) Opaleye Street, Bolaji Street, Awero Lane, Olugbode Lane, Odufuwa Street, Kehinde Street, Salami Street, Cemetery Street, Ajose Lane, Akintoye Street, Agugu Street, Raliatu Street, Iwu Lane, Ojoo Street, Barra Street, Alafia Street, Oduduwa Street, Ayawo Close, and Iyalode Street (South).

AJEGUNLE EAST It comprises the following Streets: Uzor Street, Abukuru Street, Goriola Street, Orodu Street, Orodu Lane, Nosanmu Street, Baale Adeyemo Street (East) Police Lane, Mba Lane, Mission Lane, Mba Street, Ago-Hausa Street, Iya Modupe Street and Rasaki Achakpo Street.

ONIBABA – It comprises the following Streets: Zacheus Lane, Akanbi Street, Freedom Street, Durojaiye Street, Boyejo Street Godo Street, Babani Street, Onibaba Street, Ikenne Street, Fatai Street, Aromire Street, Aiyepe Street, Akure Street, and Baale Adeyemo Street.

AWODI-ORA– It comprises the following Streets: Okito Street, Okulaja Street, Akerele Street, Baba-Sule Street, Koripamo Street, Sulaimon Street, Bakare Street, Abiodun Ajayi Street, Otakoya Street, Market Street, Chidi Street, Dada Onijama Estate, Cardoso Street, St. Mathew Daniel Street, John Close Omowunmi Street, Etife Street, Olaolu Street, Oresanya Close, Akanmu Close Rotimi Crescent, Olorunishola Street, Adegoke Street, Akaka Lane, and Otuniyo Street.

ARAROMI– It comprises the following Streets: Idewu Street, Muyibi Street, Palace Road, Akogun Street, Kudaisi Street, Jones-Waribi Street, Emordi Street, Salawu Street, Sufianu Street, Yusuf Adebayo Street, Hospital Road, Oboh Street, Bolaji Oloro Street, Owokoniran Street, Ibafon Street, Trinity Street, Berger Close, Kirikiri Road, Itohanmo Close, Osho Drive, Molade (Swamp) Street, George Close and Ben Onyeka Street, Fatimoh Street, Rorobi Street, Amodu Tijani Street, Amore Street, Kumuyi Street, Idi Street, Salami Street, Ba;ale Street, Olodi Street, Tolu Road, Akinbo Street, Asalu Street, Market Street, Market Lane, Taiwo Street, Mensah Street, Wowo Street, Gbadesere Street, Asibejoye Street, and Ohuntan Street.

DANKAKA It comprises the following Streets: Muyibi Street, Idewu Lane, Kirikiri Road, Yahyah Crescent, Ora Street, Ohikere Street,

TOLU: It comprises the following Streets- Ashafa Street, Oluwa Street, Ladega Street, Oguntokun Street, Tolu Road, Ilaje Street, Ilaje Quarters, Ilaje Alley, Oguntimehin Street, Ihenacho Street, Mission Street, Salubi Street, Omowale Street, Ayorinde Street, John Ladipo Street, Okun-Owa Street, Alhaji Salawu Street, Odusanya Street, Rabiu Adio Crescent, Tajudeen Alade Street, Aribo Ambrose Akinsemoyin Street, Oshodi Street, Awori Close, Oyewole Street, Ojumola Street, Tomoloju Street, Salawu Lane, Ogundipe Lane, Afolayan Street, Aminatu Street, and Magbeyin Street.

TOLU (TEMIDIRE) It comprises the following Streets: Temidire Streets, Apena Street, Ebun Oti, Mokoya Street, Adeolu Street, Oshodi Street, Ajadi Street, Oremeji Street, Olowonsun Street, Ojoku Street, Ashogbon Street, Adebumoye Street, Ajasa Street, Alaka Street, Idowu Street, Mustapha Street, Rasaki Street, Afosheri Street, and Alakoto Road.

ALAKOTO: It comprises the following Street: Oyegunle Street, Oyegunle Lane, Oyebo Street, Agbe Street, Bashiru Lane, Lawani Street, Rasheed Afuwape Street, Prince Fadina Street, Silver Street, Ogunmade Davies Street, Isikalu Street, Isikalu Lane, Akpiri Street, Tess Olawale Street, Egbailo Street, and Buraimoh Street.

THE ORIGIN OF AJEGUNLE

Like the many folktales that heralded communities and nations, Ajegunle is not an exception. The socio-cultural heritage of this land cannot be dissociated from some families who have survived many generations and have continued to exhibit their cultural values and customs in the face of the growing cosmopolitan nature of what Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government has become.

It is on record that the Ojora Royal Family, formerly Ojora Chieftaincy family and Oluwa Family are the original owners of the land, with Ojora Royal Family as owners of Ajegunle and Oluwa as owners of Araromi. Hence the coinage, AJE-ROMI, is a combination of abbreviated words from Ajegunle and Araromi.

However, some people, groups of people, and families are regarded as the first settlers in Ajegunle. These families such as the Adeyemos, Fakunles, Bakares, Adekunbi, Thomas, and others have ensured that their socio-cultural antecedents in these communities remain progressive for historical, academic, and social relevance.

It is on record that the Adeyemo Family invented the name AJEGUNLE (Ibi ti Ajemi Gunle Si Ree) meaning ‘This is where my wealth resides’.

Whereas the Fakunle Chieftaincy family since 1872, and whose sojourn began in 13. Afnah Street at Ita-Faji, Lagos-Island, was the first settlers at Apapa-Elemu (Marine Beach), before moving to the now Federal Government Press, and then became the first known settler and Ba’ale of  Alayabiagba in 1872, before the family finally founded Aiyetoro (Aiye mi to toro) in the early 19th century.

MYTHS:

It has been adduced that the Urhobos were the first people in Ajegunle. Their presence according to reports derived from oral interviews by respectable and reliable residents in Ajegunle, claimed that the Urhobos were passive, mainly coming to Ajegunle for commercial purposes, and would leave, but with no plans for future settlements.

Aside from this, the early influx of population by tribes to Ajegunle recorded people from Kwara State as one of the early settlers in Ajegunle, no wonder, Streets like Ojoku, Oshodi, and Ajadi Streets amongst many others testify to the continuous concentration of indigenous Kwara residents among some of the notable communities in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government.

Written By Fakunle Sheriff Ekundayo

Fakunle Sheriff Ekundayo is the editor at Project 3:16 Metro, an online news platform for rural and urban areas. He is also the Principal Partner and Editor-in-Chief at Project 3:16 Metro Newspaper. His youth advocacy and academic drive have made him discover the need to bridge the gap between youths, communities, and government institutions through his journal; Project 3:16 Metro. This he has also modified with the company’s website page, www.metro316.com.ng.

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