Taiwo Conrad Olowo

Taiwo Olowo Cenotaph
Taiwo Olowo’s image on his cenotaph at Lagos Island. Photo: Titi Wanderlust

Daniel Conrad Taiwo (alias Taiwo Olowo) was a 19th Century manufacturer born 1781 circa in Isheri. Taiwo, a son of Oluwole the Olofin of Isheri, came to Lagos in 1848 as an apprentice basket maker. He quickly learnt his trade and was able to establish his own business. Olowo’s success in the highly feudalistic Lagos of his time is remarkable, though he was never bestowed with any chieftaincy title, an almost exclusive right of accomplished men of his day. Olowo began his basket making craft that will catapult him to greatness during his stay in Idumagbo area of Lagos. He was given a plot of land by Chief Faji where he built his mansion located at the family seat in the street named after him.

By 1861 when Lagos was ceded to the British crown Olowo had become a prominent political figure rendering valuable service to the new government. He was criticised for showing ambition with the size of his marina house but was able to maintain a cordial relationship both with the local nobility and with the colonial authority for most of his life. When he died in 1901 an impressive funeral service was held at Ebute–Ero church where he worshipped as a member in life.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer