Eleko Esugbayi with his Council
Oba Eshugbayi Eleko and Council circa 1912, Source: Happy Lagosians’s Blog

Esugbayi, the Oba of Lagos was designated Eleko of Eko, meaning, “the owner of Lagos”. He was the first Lagos monarch to reinforce the title. Others may have abstained for the reason of the complex nature of the kingdom’s organogram which sees Idejo chiefs, rather than just the Oba as the primary land owners. This affirmation was necessary because of the rift between Esugbayi, the Lagos Oba and powerful elements in the colonial government. He was sacked from his position in 1925 when the Lagos colonial governor endorsed the recommendations of some family members of the ruling dynasty. The provisions includes that he will be paid a compassion stipend as long as he behaves himself. Esugbayi went on exile but did not fully behave himself. He regained the stool in 1931 after a fierce legal battle. He died the following year. In all, Esugbayi reigned as Oba in Lagos between 1901 and 1925 and finally in 1932.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer