Lagos State Divisions
|ADMINISTRATION IN LAGOS STATE: A SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACH|
|Written by S. AJOSE|
|Friday, 16 July 2010 13:55|
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This chapter attempts to analyse the socio-economic and political situations in Lagos state in contemporary time, which have their origins in the historical antecedents of successive administration. The neglect of many years with negative impacts demands a thorough and pragmatic solution which must address the root cause rather than treating the symptoms. It is against this background that this paper considers the historical underpinning factors that have for a very long period shaped the socio-economic and political development in the state.
Lagos Before 1800
The city of Lagos as we all know and familiar with, started as a small settlement of farmers and fishermen. While some historical account said the settlement was found by one Ogunfunminire, a hunter from Ile-Ife, another source supported the fact that it came into being through the Benin people. However, from historical analysis, and research studies, it was more plausible to take the former version that thrown up Ogunfunminire as the founder of Lagos. The young settlement like many African settlements had its own internal government and paraphernalia of authority. The system of government then was confederacy. The socio-economic aspects of life in Lagos during this period were essentially characterized by worshipping of traditional deities such as Ogun. Sango amongst others while the inhabitants, especially men, practiced, hunting, fishing, farming, blacksmiting amongst others as their occupation. Lagos of the period of 1800 was relatively peaceful, there was very small number of people inhabiting the town at this period. Lagos then upland was essentially agricultural emporium. The people because of the availability of arable upland and engaged not only subsistence farming but also produced enough agricultural produce which were supplied to other neighbouring settlements like Ikorodu. Apart from the farming and fishing activities that characterized the socio-economic history of Lagos of the pre-colonial period, the people were also reputed as traders of various items with the people of Yoruba hinterland.
The Lagos of the pre-colonial period was peaceful, the traditional administration enjoyed the support of the people, there were no major criminal activities. The people’s mode of transportation was by trekking on land and through the use of canoe on the available water passages that surrounded the city.
Lagos From Pre-Colonial Era
The pre-colonial Lagos refers to the period between the foundation of Lagos and the British colonial conquest of the region. From the period after 1800, especially from the era of slave trade, the political administration of Lagos witnessed dynastic squabble and political rivalries that were not hitherto witnessed. The reason for these development is not fat to seek. With the advent of Trans Atlantic slave trade, and the power this conferred on the Lagos monarch at this period, the throne became so attractive that succession to the Obaship stool became very competitive and cumbersome. This period witnessed violent wars such as Ewekoko and Ahoyaya wars amongst others. Similarly, with Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the socio-economic make up of the inhabitant changed from hunting, farming, fishing and switched to trading in slaves. With this new trade, a new set of elite emerged on the traditional scene of Lagos. These elites became the rallying point for the moulding of opinion and course of development in Lagos. Along with the slave trade came prosperity and because of the new wealth, there was great influx of the people from the interior Lagos. With the influx of people into the city, the seemingly homogenous identity of Lagos gave a new identity for the city, which were to in later century, lend credence to the cliché that Lagos was ‘No man’s land’.
It is necessary to point out the fact that the abolition of slave trade later in 1880s and the activities of anti-slave trade Crusaders led to the emergence of another brand of Lagosians most of who were freed slaves who settled at the area known as the Brazillian quarters. These people, because of their exposure and special skills contributed immensely to the development of the new emerging Lagos. Some of them were professional tailors, teachers, architects, bricklayers, painters amongst others.
One needs to point out that before 1800 and up to the eve of colonial rule had to contend with minimal socio-economic and political problems. During this period, there were no serious population explosion, dirty environment, high crime rate and social ills bedeviling us today. However, all these were to change with the commencement of modernization and its attendant consequences. The twentieth century opened with great promise.
By the middle of 20th century, the consequences of influx of more people into Lagos had begun to manifest Lagos, with a population figure of about 5,000 up to 1800 witnessed and upsurge in this number by the turn of the 20th century. According to demographers, this development was as a result of the prosperity of the city and its attractiveness to the people of the interior Yoruba country. With the influx came urbanization, change from its rural enclave to a modern, heterogenous and metropolitan city. The former sleepy, rustic and sparsely populated community became a city with road network, new mode of transportation in terms of vehicular movement, new houses and other pre-requisite of modernization and urban growth became visible everywhere.
The first noticeable consequence of movement of more people into the city was that of commensurate facilities like housing, road, adequate security and other necessary facilities. Under this situation of its availability of adequate infrastructure, there was also the problem of environmental sanitation, development of shanties and slums, violation of planning regulation amongst others it is worth mentioning that various governments at these times took some measures to correct these anomalies with little success.
To address the issue of environmental sanitation, there emerged, Health Sanitation Inspectors otherwise called ‘Wolewole’. Even with this, the level of sanitation and cleaningness did not change significantly. This situation made Oba Adeyinka Oyekan appealed to the people in 1965 to make Lagos clean in order to ensure that it remained the pride of the Federation. In a nutshell, the problem of filth and dirty environment had been one of the problems confronting the city as a result of urbanization. In an attempt to tackle other problems of urbanization, the Lagos Executive Development Board was established in 1923, Municipal Transport Service was also established in 1958, a slaughter house amongst others was built to address the consequence of urbanization.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 17 July 2010 09:53|