Categories
History

The Historical Background Of Sanitary Inspectors In Nigeria

Sanitary inspectors in the 60s
Known as ‘wole-wole’ in Yorubaland, ‘Nwaole-ala’ among the Igbos and ‘duba-gari’ among Hausa people, sanitary inspectors are government officials saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the sanitation of houses and neighbourhoods in every part of Nigeria.

 

The office of the sanitary inspector was established during the colonial era of Nigeria. At the dawn of their establishment, they were known as sanitary attendants because their primary function then was to serve as helping hands to colonial masters (sanitary inspectors) who execute sanitary duties themselves.

On a clearer note, colonial masters who oversaw sanitization were called ‘sanitary inspectors’ while Nigerians who worked under them were referred to as ‘sanitary attendants’.

The sanitary attendants handled meager duties such as marking tall or bent trees, noting dilapidated buildings, pasting announcements or warning bills, interpreting for colonial masters, etcetera.

As time went on, the sanitary attendants were assigned more professional functions such as daily sanitary inspection, collection of water samples, noting mosquitoes’ breeding sites, and so on.

Many of the sanitary attendants improved their education level and thus earned more recognition for their office. They began to execute functions such as felling tall trees that were close to residential buildings, identifying infectious disease cases, disinfection and disinfestation, liaison between the colonial masters and villagers, verification of notices issued by their colonial masters (sanitary inspectors), retention of daily, weekly and monthly returns and others.

In the 1920s, Dr. Isaac Ladipo Oluwole played a crucial role in improving the status of Nigerian health workers, including the partly recognized sanitary attendants.

Dr. Oluwole returned from Britain as a public health physician and became the first African Medical Officer of Health (MOH) in the Lagos colony. In 1920, he established the Nigerian School of Hygiene in Yaba, Lagos, which was the first of its kind in Nigeria, and trained qualified people to become sanitary inspectors.

During this period, the sanitary attendants were now referred to as sanitary inspectors and were put in charge of:

  • Routine sanitary inspection of houses, markets, schools, and communities.
  • Waste disposal and environmental sanitation, pollution control, and industrial sanitation.
  • Water sampling and sanitation.
  • Port health duties (air, land, and seaports)
  • Control of communicable diseases (infectious diseases).
  • Building and urban planning.
  • Vector and pest control e.g. Malaria control.
  • Prosecution of public health offenders in the court.
  • Meat and food inspection.
  • The disposal of the dead (corpses).
  • Occupational health and factory inspection.
  • Vaccination/inoculation of both schoolchildren and adults.
  • Health education on personal and public hygiene.
Sanitary inspectors in the 60s
They were dreaded by all and sundry, even more than the then colonial police officers, because breaching their orders was breaching the system, so people avoid getting into their trouble net by tidying up their environments.

Another factor that improved the status of the sanitary inspectors was the establishment of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948 as people with a higher level of education joined the profession.

In 1988, the name of the profession was changed to environmental health officers in line with the internationally accepted name of practitioners of the profession and also to accommodate members of the profession who graduated from the university with a degree in public health, environmental health, and epidemiology.

Fast forward to recent years, the present situation of the sanitary inspectors in Nigeria is disheartening as little regard is given to them and their functions. The profession is withering away at an increasing spate and people now tag it ‘old-school’ while some are not even aware of their (sanitary inspectors now environmental health officers) existence.

Thanks for reading, highlifextra.com

References:

  1. Professional Association of Environmental Health Officers of Nigeria (PAEHON); “Preventing disease through proper environmental management in the 21st century in Nigeria”; 2001;
  2. Sani Garba; Environmental Health in Nigeria, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow; 2004;
  3. Omipidan. Teslim Opemipo (2014). Colonial Rule in Nigeria and Nigeria’s Struggle for Independence. highlifextra. https://oldnaija.com/2014/11/05/colonial-rule-in-nigeria-and-nigerias-struggle-for-independence/
  4. Ayodeji Olukoju; Local And Global Dynamics In The Transformation Of The Port-City Of Lagos Since The Nineteenth Century (PDF); Department of History and Strategic Studies, University of Lagos.
  5. Image Credit – Émi Ni Afrika

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Categories
History

The Igbo Landing – Story Of Igbo Slaves Who Rebelled Against Slave Traders And Committed Mass Suicide In U.S.A., 1803

Jamaican artist, Donovan Nelson’s illustrations paying tribute to the Igbo Landing Event.
Jamaican artist, Donovan Nelson’s illustration paying tribute to the Igbo Landing Event.

Countless accounts of terrifying and dehumanizing events that happened during the slave trade era have been passed down from generations to generations; accounts of irrational cruelty, starvation, resistance, mass killings and suicide. The story of the Igbo landing is another tear-evoking account of resistance to slavery by the Igbo slaves from present-day Nigeria off U.S. coast in 1803.

What Is The Igbo Landing Or Ibo Landing?

 

The Igbo landing, also written as ‘Ibo landing‘ or ‘Ebo landing‘, is a historic site at Dunbar Creek on St. Simons Island, Glynn County, Georgia, U.S.A. where dozens of Igbo slaves took their own lives in a resistance to the cruelty of slavery in 1803.

In May, 1803, a ship named the wanderer, just like other slave ships, conveyed slaves from Africa to America. Among these slaves were set of Igbo people who were known by the then slave traders of the American South for being fiercely independent and unwilling to tolerate chattel slavery. The Igbo slaves were bought by the agents of John Couper and Thomas Spalding at $100 each for forced labour on their plantations in St. Simons Island, U.S.A.

The Igbo Landing, St. Simons Island The Igbo Landing, St. Simons Island

When the slave ship landed in Savannah, Georgia, the chained Igbo slaves were reloaded and shoved under the deck of a coastal vessel named the Schooner York (some accounts claimed the vessel name was Morovia) which would take them to St. Simons Island. It was during the voyage that the group of Igbo slaves numbering about seventy-five rebelled against their captors and forced them to plunge into the water where they drowned. The slaves successfully regained their freedom but it was of no use since they were already out and far away from Africa, and so, on the order of a high chief who was also a captive, they sang, marched ashore and then into the marshy waters of Dunbar Creek where they drowned themselves.

According to Professor Terri L. Snyder, “the enslaved cargo suffered much by mismanagement, rose from their confinement in the small vessel, and revolted against the crew, forcing them into the water where they drowned”.

Igbo Landing Illustration
Another illustration paying tribute to the Igbo Landing Event by Donovan Nelson

A white man, Roswell King, who was an overseer on a plantation known as Pierce Butler plantation was the first to record the incident at the site now known as the Igbo landing. Roswell and another man, Captain Peterson, recovered thirteen bodies of the drowned Igbos while others bodies were lost forever in the water. highlifextra gathered that some of them might have survived the suicide episode and this make the actual number of deaths in the Igbo landing uncertain.

“Regardless of the numbers, the deaths signaled a powerful story of resistance as these captives overwhelmed their captors in a strange land, and many took their own lives rather than remain enslaved in the New World. The Igbo Landing gradually took on enormous symbolic importance in local African American folklore”. – Momodu, Samuel

Igbo Landing SiteIgbo Landing Site

People in the U.S.A termed the resistance and suicide by the Igbo slaves the first freedom march in the history of Africa and the United States. Local people claimed that the Landing and surrounding marshes in Dunbar Creek where the Igbo people committed mass suicide in May, 1803 were haunted by the souls of the dead Igbo slaves.

Igbo Landing Picture FREEING THE SOULS OF IGBO LANDING, THE NEVER-BEEN-RULED. “The Water Spirit Omambala brought us here. The Water Spirit Omambala will carry us home.” (Orimiri Omambala bu anyi bia. Orimiri Omambala ka anyi ga ejina. – Ancient Igbo Hymn)

In September, 2012, the Igbo Landing site was designated as a holy ground by the St. Simons African American community. The Igbo Landing is also now a part of the curriculum for coastal Georgia schools.

In recent times, many artists, songs, movies and others have paid tribute to the Igbo landing/ Ibo landing. A notable tribute is found in the ending part of Marvel’s comic movie, Black Panther, where Killmonger, played by Michael B Jordan, refer to the event by saying, “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, ’cause they knew death was better than bondage”. Beyoncé also was not left out in the tribute paying as she portrayed the incident in of her music videos.

Thanks for reading, oldnaija.com

If you read this to the end, you should have found it interesting and so kindly drop a comment below and share on social media. 

References:
  • Marquetta L. Goodwine, The Legacy of Ibo Landing: Gullah Roots of African American Culture (Atlanta: Clarity Press, Inc., 1998)
  • Igbo Landing,” Glynn County, Georgia History and Lore
  • Igbo Landing May 1803 a Symbol of African Resistance – New Afrikan 77
Categories
History

True and Sad Story of Nigeria’s Former First Lady, Stella Obasanjo’s Death

Stella Obasanjo's death
Stella Obasanjo

On the 23rd of October, 2005, the whole of Nigeria was thrown into a state of grief as the news reported Nigeria’s First Lady, Stella Obasanjo’s death. At first, there were different speculations about the cause of her death one of which was “her husband’s dealings with a secret cult” but it was later revealed that Stella Obasanjo’s death was caused by something else entirely.

 

highlifextra gathered that the Nigerian first lady was making preparations for her 60th birthday when she opted for cosmetic surgery at a private health clinic in Puerto Banús, Marbella, Spain.

US President George W. Bush (C), US First Lady Laura Bush (2nd-L), Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo (R), and Nigeria's First Lady Stella Obasanjo (2nd-R) are presented flowers by children at an arrival ceremony at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria, 12 July 2003. via Getty Images)
US President George W. Bush (C), US First Lady Laura Bush (2nd-L), Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo (R), and Nigeria’s First Lady Stella Obasanjo (2nd-R) are presented flowers by children at an arrival ceremony at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria, 12 July 2003. via Getty Images)

Inside sources revealed that the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo, was not aware that his wife went for surgery in Spain. Obasanjo revealed this in his autobiography, My Watch:

“I found that part of her 60th birthday anniversary, which was unknown to me, was her operation for her tummy and her shape.”

Obasanjo also debunked the claim that “he sacrificed his wife, Stella Obasanjo, to be successful in his political career”. He said,

“Before the verdict in Spain, I was unaware of what I came to hear later that I might have caused the death of my wife to sacrifice her for success in my job. “That is how wicked and satanic some Nigerians can be in their rumours and mischief.”

highlifextra gathered that during Stella Obasanjo’s surgery in Spain, a tube used for removing fat had been mistakenly placed into her abdominal cavity which punctured her colon and lacerated her liver making her seriously ill the following day. This was made known during the court hearing.

Olusegun and Stella Obasanjo before her death
Olusegun and Late Stella Obasanjo

During the court hearing, prosecutors said the surgeon initially failed to answer his mobile phone, and then waited more than four hours before driving Stella Obasanjo in his own car to an intensive care unit, where she died an hour later.

It was concluded that Stella Obasanjo’s death was caused by the carelessness and negligence of the Spanish surgeon because simple blood tests or an ultrasound procedure would have detected the internal injuries which, with more time, could have been treated.

The surgeon /doctor (identified in court documents only by the initials A. M) was sentenced to a year in prison for causing homicide through negligence. He was also disqualified from practicing medicine for three years, and ordered to pay $176,000 (£108,000) in compensation to Stella Obasanjo’s son.

Stella Obasanjo's death
Stella Obasanjo’s casket being lowered into the grave.

Olusegun Obasanjo referred to the doctor who carried out the surgery on Stella as “careless” and narrated how he got justice for Stella Obasanjo’s death with the help of the Nigerian Embassy in Spain and the Spanish authorities,

“I instructed that the doctor and the clinic be prosecuted. The lost life cannot be brought back but the successful prosecution would prevent carelessness and loss of life in the future.”

Thanks for reading, highlifextra.com

References:

  1. Doctor jailed over former first lady’s lipo death”. Australian Broadcasting Company.
  2. Doctor sentenced in death of Nigeria’s First Lady in Marbella”. Typically Spanish
  3. Paul Ohia (22 September 2009). “Surgeon Jailed over Stella Obasanjo’s Death”. THISDAY ONLINE
  4. Nigerian President’s wife dies after plastic surgery operation in Spain”, The Independent
Categories
History

Obas of Benin were buried in Ile-Ife Up till 1914 – Oore Of Mobaland in Ekiti State

Oba (Dr.) James Adedapo Popoola, JP, CON, Odundun I Adimula,
Oba (Dr.) James Adedapo Popoola, JP, CON, Odundun I Adimula,

Reigning Oore of Mobaland is Oba (Dr.) James Adedapo Popoola, JP, CON, Odundun I Adimula, a first-class traditional ruler and former Chairman of the Ekiti State Traditional Council of Obas and Chiefs. He is an economist and a Chartered Accountant and worked with the Central Bank of Nigeria for about 20 years, where he rose through the ranks.

 

While he was approaching the management or executive level at the bank, the people of Mobaland demanded that he be recalled home to assume the position of Oore, a position, he never wanted then. His people were unanimous in their demand for him; it was either him or no other person. It was, therefore, not a surprise that after he was boxed to a corner, he ascended the throne without any opponent. January 20, 2017, made it 17 years since Dr. James Adedapo Popoola became the Oore of Mobaland.

During your 10th year anniversary on the throne, the late Oba Okunade Sijuade said that you are one of the foremost traditional rulers in Yoruba land. How did the late Kabiyesi Sijuade come about this rating?

I remembered the late Kabiyesi saying, when you are talking about one of the topmost traditional rulers in Yoruba land, Oore is one of them. The late Kabiyesi Sijuade was talking with history. History does not recognise population. History does not recognise political influence. In those days, people were very honest, and they documented history. The position of Oore is important to Ile-Ife, this is not disputed and it is also indisputable.  Because Oore was formally in Ile-Ife, and was very close to Oduduwa during the periods of Oduduwa, so he was talking, from a sense of history. The late Kabiyesi Sijuade came to my 10th year anniversary; he slept over in the palace here in Ado-Ekiti. That was the level of the traditional relationship between the Ooni and Oore. He was talking from a sense of history.

It was said that only the Oore is the rightful person to announce the passage of any Ooni of Ife. This, he will do, once it is confirmed to you that an Ooni had joined his ancestors. That means it is now your duty to announce the death of the Ooni to the Alafin of Oyo, Oba of Benin and other Obas down the line. How did you come about this historic role, Kabiyesi?

The Oore was formally known and referred to as an Omolokun. The Oore was also in existence during the itinerant periods when people migrated from one place to the other. History has it that Oore came out of the Okunmoba and he was therefore known and referred to as Omolokun. Okunmoba is around the coastal areas of Lagos. So Oore migrated from the Coastal areas somewhere in Lagos and settled in various places before finally coming to Ile-Ife. When Oore was in Ile-Ife, Oduduwa was also in Ile-Ife, and if you are very familiar with the Yoruba history, there came a time Oduduwa became blind, and all efforts to resuscitate his eyesight, proved very difficult. It was the Omolokun, now Oore, who consulted the Ifa Oracle on behalf of Oduduwa, and said that except they bring water from the Ocean to prepare certain things that eyesight would not be restored.

So, Oduduwa called all his children and wanted to know, who will volunteer to go and fetch the water from the Ocean, as history will have it, one of Oduduwa’s youngest children, Ashibogun, volunteered to go and fetch the water. And when he went, it took an unusually long time for him to return. So, everybody, including Oduduwa thought he had died. At this point, when all the other children of Oduduwa realised that their father was getting old; they decided to have their own inheritance and branched out to form their own kingdoms.

During these periods, Oore kept re-assuring Oduduwa, that Ashibogun will return safely. Before Ashibogun’s return to Ife, all the other children of Oduduwa had left the place, whenever these children left Ile-Ife, whenever they get to where they were to settle they will as expected send a message back home, to say “this is where I have settled.”

And Oore was always with Oduduwa. So Oore knew, where every son of Oduduwa settled. And when Ashibogun came back with the water, it was the Oore who did all the rituals that were necessary, and Oduduwa regained his sight. It was at this point, that Oduduwa started to call Oore my benefactor (Oloremi). Oloremi is the full name of Oore. That was the level of closeness between Oore and Oduduwa in the time of old. It was after Oduduwa had regained his sight that Oore decided to leave him, not without Oduduwa extracting a promise from Oore that anytime he Oduduwa needed Oore, Oore must find the time to come to him.

History did not record the number of years Oduduwa lived after he had regained his sight, because Oore was the last person to leave Ile-Ife, they knew where he was. So, when Oduduwa passed on, Oore was the first person they sent for. Telling him that Oduduwa had passed on. Oore had to go back to Ile-Ife; it was this same Oore, who now informed all his children about the passage of their father. That was the situation and that was where the history was established that anytime an Oba in Ile-Ife passed on, it is the Oore that is the right and proper person to know about such death before any other person.

When I made a royal visit to Ile-Ife in the year 2000 and this history was repeated, the then Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade said, “it is not only when an Ooni passed on in Ile-Ife that Oore is informed, that when a new Oba or Ooni is to be installed in Ile-Ife, they must invoke the spirit of top Yoruba Obas and Oore is one of them,” so he said it, and it was on tape and newspapers. It is not a conjecture. That was why he was in a position to say it, that anytime an Ooni is to be installed the spirit of the Oore must be involved.

In 1903, when the then Ooni prepared the list of Yoruba Obas, the 1903 list, which was published, had the Ooni as number one, he had the Olowu of Abeokuta as number two, the same list had Alafin of Oyo as number three, the Oba of Benin as number four, he had Oore as number five on that list. These facts are not just new; they have been there for a very long time. And in those days, we had people of integrity and truth, things were said the way they were, it was neither for self-aggrandizement nor for personal elevation.

Kabiyesi, for example were you notified about the passage of the immediate past Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, since this was supposed to be the right thing to do. Were you the person that announced the death of the late Ooni?

No. You see over time, the world has become a global village. You know that the news about Oba Sijuade’s death was already in the papers and the social media when the late Ooni died in London. Even during the demise of Ooni Aderemi Adesoji in 1980, Chief Bola Ige was the Governor of Oyo State then, he went to the Oyo State House of Assembly in Ibadan and announced the demise of Ooni Adesoji, the Obas then were very unhappy, and they castigated him, that that was not how the passage of an Ooni is announced. So, if it was not properly done in 1980 you should not expect the proper procedure to be followed this time around.

Is it not proper to begin to put these things in proper perspective since these facts are there according to you, Kabiyesi?

It is very necessary that we begin to do the right thing henceforth. When Oba Okunade Sijuade joined his ancestors, so many papers carried it then, that the proper procedure in announcing his passage was not followed. They made it clear, that it was the Oore that was supposed to announce the death officially. So, that is the situation. It is a known history, whether it is followed or not, it is another thing entirely.

Let me give you a similar example, prior to 1914, when any Oba died in Benin, they must bury such an Oba in Ile-Ife, since the time of Eweka. It was even Oba Sijuade, who said it, in one of the interviews he granted. He said the last one that happened was around 1914 and since that time, it never happened again. The Benin Obas are never brought again to Ile-Ife for burial. Up till now, the Benin people have a grotto in Ile-Ife. Oba Ado Bini where they were usually buried. So people may not now say you must carry the corpse of an Oba of Benin to Ile-Ife to bury. These are the type of things that are fast changing the way and manner things were done in the past.

You will not say that you are unaware of the altercation between the Olugbo of Ugbo and the Ooni of Ife over the stature of Moremi Ajasoro in Ile-Ife. What is your take on this?

I don’t want to be involved in any controversy; Ile-Ife is our inheritance, our source and our home. We are in the era of forging unity among the Yoruba Obas now, the Yoruba Obas before now, have been deeply divided and polarized along ego and political divisions. And the new Ooni of Ife has come in, to contribute his own part in unifying the Yoruba Monarchy. And he has started in the right direction and he is doing it in the right way and he should not be distracted. Unnecessary controversy at this stage would take us back to the days of old, which are not good for the entire Yoruba nation.

As a topflight banker then, who was doing relatively well, what would you say attracted you to assume the position of the Oore of Mobaland in Otun Ekiti?

AS at the time I was called to come and assume the throne of my fathers, I was approaching the management level, if you like call it the Executive level of the CBN. And so I was getting ready to enter into that cadre, which I had already worked very hard, to attain. I was therefore stuck between the decision of continuing with my job and having that personal satisfaction and the decision to come and serve my people as an Oba. My coming to the throne therefore was not by any competition. I did not compete with anybody. I was the unanimous choice after consultation with the necessary Ifa Oracle and the people of my community.

I was driven by the fact that I have always had it at the back of my mind to be of service to my people, I believed that it is an overriding interest than personal satisfaction. If I had wanted personal wealth and money, I would have elected to continue with my work in the CBN. If it is community service and service to humanity, I had to go back home to serve my people. That was how I went back home to serve my people.

Did you consider the overall financial implications of your action?

I have already alluded to that fact, if I was driven by personal satisfaction, I would have turned down the request to come and serve my people as an Oba and continue with my job, but after a very deep thought, I decided to forget about all the attraction and wealth I could make while in the job, and decided to move back home to serve as an Oba. I therefore, offered myself to go back home and help to change the life of my people, this was what propelled me to come back home. As a matter of fact, I knew, that it was going to be very difficult financially but the call to service and my pedigree as a Prince with blue blood, will not allow me shy away from assuming the responsibility of leadership in the community.

Up to the time, I ascended the throne I had been a community man. I have been very close to my people, after having served them in town unions up to the national level. I also knew that my community needed as at then, committed people, who will help to give it a facelift. Give the people some orientation and direction, so that the situation of the people will improve as well as their lives. Yes, the stipend they paid was and is still very bad, as it is not able to sustain any meaningful family activities. But at least, God is feeding us.

I don’t know, Kabiyesi, if you have had the opportunity to read the autobiography of Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona known as the “AWUJALE”. He said in that book that he went into business, because at some point as the Awujale, he could hardly sustain his family and be able to play the role expected of a traditional rule of his status.  Are you towing the same line?

I am a traditional ruler who wants to be able to be on his feet. When I say to be on his feet, I mean not subject to the whims and caprices of the government of the day. One needs to be financially independent. And to be financially sustainable, if one is not a contractor, one needs to try to do some businesses but unfortunately, in the economic climate we all find ourselves now, very few businesses are sustainable. Those businesses that survive are those established a long time ago, and they had passed through the teething stages, those are the types of businesses that can be sustained; that can bring in money.

I am in Ekiti State, which is not a very good business environment. Awujale has been on the throne for about fifty-six years now, has over the years been able to put in place enduring economic activities. But I can still say, that as self-sustaining as Awujale is, his people still rally round him and give him a good standing. But in our case here, we are striving in our own little way, even though I am still very young on the throne. So we are still trying to find our feet, believing that, as the nation’s economic situation improves, the little we are able to do, will bring about useful results.

The present structure does not ordinarily allow traditional rulers to play active role in politics. Politicians have a way of using traditional rulers to garner votes, and once they get there, they forget you. How do you cope with politicians?

I agree with you absolutely, politicians are not very good people. They use and dump people. Not only traditional rulers, they use and dump each other. That is their stock in trade. As a traditional ruler, you must first have the interest of your people in mind. When you have the interest of your people at heart, whatever party comes to government, you will be able to find your bearing. Personally, traditional rulers are not supposed to be overtly involved in partisan politics. But they are expected to be involved in state and national developments. As a traditional ruler, when you see something that is not going very well with the generality of the people, if you have the opportunity not necessarily on the pages of newspapers, offer your own little advice, as much as possible, and let them know, where you stand on any issue. I don’t like pretending. That is my personal philosophy in the last 17 years, I will say, that I have got along with the successive governments in Ekiti State.

When I was the Chairman of Ekiti State Council of Obas, between 2005 and 2007, I had the rear privilege of dealings with almost five governors. I came in when Otunba Niyi Adebayo was there, then Fayose came and was impeached, the then Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly said he was then the Governor of the State, he was thereafter removed and a sole administrator was brought in, the sole administrator stayed for six months. And the then National Assembly, decided not to renew his tenure for the remaining 33 days, so they brought in a new speaker, the former speaker who pronounced himself as Governor of the state in the first instance had been impeached, so a new speaker came in. If you add up all these numbers of persons who acted as Governor of Ekiti State, in those turbulent period, you will see that I dealt with almost five people; and then finally Segun Oni came in as elected Ekiti State Governor. Those were the governors who came on board during my two year-tenure as chairman of Ekiti State Council of Obas and I was able to relate with them.

I was not caught in the web of the political machinations during the impeachment saga and all the activities that followed. So, as a traditional ruler, one is expected to know what one is doing and one should be able to have a focus. When you have a focus, politicians have a way of derailing your focus, if you are not very careful. They will promise heaven and earth, and if you are not level-headed, once you begin to misbehave and at the end of the day, they will use you and dump you. At that point, you cannot go forward and you cannot go backward. You will become stranded. But a traditional ruler, who is worth his salt, should be able to relate with government as a matter of policy, so as to deliver the dividend of democracy to our people.

Culled From: The Guardian

Categories
History

Hausa/Fulani Pre-colonial Political Administration

Pre- colonial political administration in Hausaland
Fulani took over the political leadership of Hausa states in the early 19th century. After the great Jihad war (1804-1810) led by Usman Dan Fodio, the former fourteen Hausa states were merged and then divided into two caliphates.

 

The eastern caliphate (which included states like Yola, Gombe, Kano, Zaria and Katsina) had Sokoto as its capital while the western caliphate (including Ilorin, Argungun and Kontagora) had Gwandu as its capital.

Usman Dan Fodio became the head (Sarkin Muslim) of the whole Hausa land while the control of Sokoto (eastern caliphate) and Gwandu (western caliphate) went to Bello, Usman Dan Fodio’s son and Abdullah, Usman Dan Fodio’s brother respectively.

Furthermore, the Sokoto and Gwandu caliphates were subdivided into emirates for easy administration. Each emirate was headed by an Emir who was appointed from two or three ruling families with the approval of the Emir of Sokoto or Gwandu, depending on the emirate the selection was made. These lesser Emirs were responsible to the Emirs of Sokoto and Gwandu respectively.

However, in each emirate, the Emir was assisted by some officials who were assigned to certain duties. These officials were:

  1. Waziri who was the administrative officer or prime minister;
  2. Galadima who was in charge of the capitals;
  3. Madawaki who was the commander of the army;
  4. Dogari who was the head of the police;
  5. Maaji – the treasurer;
  6. Sarkin Ruwa – the river fishing official;
  7. Sarkin Fada – who was responsible for the administration of the palace;
  8. Sarkin Pawa – the head of all butchers.

In the Hausa/Fulani pre-colonial political administration, these officials who were appointed by the Emir were consulted in running the affairs of the emirate.

This is similar to the Yoruba political administration. But unlike a Yoruba king, power was centralised in the hands of the Emir who had absolute control over these officials and could depose any of them at his will.

Each emirate was further divided into districts which was headed by an official known as Hakimi. The Hakimi was appointed by the Emir to oversee the affairs of each district which included maintaining peace and order and collection of taxes like Jangali (cattle tax), Jizyah (land tax) and Zakat. The Hakimi was however assisted in carrying out these functions by the village heads whom he appointed himself.

The judicial administration of Hausaland was based on Sharia law which covered a wide range of issues like marriage, divorce, theft, murder, debt and so on. These laws were interpreted by the Alkali judges in the Alkali courts.

Each emirate could have more than one Alkali court depending on its size. However, issues that were not covered by the Sharia law were transferred to the Emir court where the Emir could preside over such issues.

The Emir must be careful in making his laws or judgments as they must not go against the will of Islam religion which was the main practice of the people in Hausa land.

For example, the Emir could not legalise the drinking of alcohol in the emirate. Therefore, the legislative powers of the land can be said to be solely wielded by the Emir in accordance to the religion of Islam.

The Hausa/Fulani pre-colonial political administration was a highly centralised one with the Emir possessing almost all the powers. This was one of the main reasons why the Indirect Rule System was very successful in the Northern part of Nigeria (Hausa/Fulani empire).

If you have questions, kindly use the comment box below. Thanks for reading, highlifextra.

References:

  1. Teslim Opemipo Omipidan. Pre-colonial Systems in Nigeria. highlifextra.
  2. C. C. Dibie; Essential Government for Senior Secondary Schools; 3rd edition; Lagos; Tonad Publishers; 2008
  3. E. Ola Abiola. (May 1974). A Textbook Of West African History.
Categories
History

Babatunde Folorunsho – The First Armed Robber To Be Publicly Executed In Nigeria

Babatunde Folorunsho
Babatunde Folorunsho, Ilobo and Oyazimo at the stakes

The name Babatunde Folorunsho sounds nice and pleasant to the ears, but its bearer in history was actually a daylight terror and a nightmare to Nigerians in the early 1970s.

 

Who Was Babatunde Folorunsho?

Babatunde Folorunsho was an armed robber and a hardened criminal who threatened the peace and security of Nigerians in the 1970s with his ruthless bandit group. He reigned almost the same time as the kingpin of Nigerian armed robbers, Ishola Oyenusi also known as Doctor rob and kill.

Babatunde Folorunsho was dubbed ‘Baba oni lace‘ (Mr Lace) because of his strong love for lace outfits which he even wore during robbery operations.

During his horrific reign, Babatunde Folorunsho topped the list of the most wanted criminals in Nigeria. He was hunted by the police and local guards but all to no avail. During this time, the crime rate was at its peak in the country as a result of the civil war that had just ended.

Babatunde Folorunsho alias Baba oni lace seemed invincible but unfortunately for him, he was nabbed by the police during a robbery operation on a fateful day in 1971. He was charged with robbing one Mr Alfred Marshall of a car. The whole nation jubilated as Babatunde Folorunsho was finally caught in the web of the law.

On the 8th and 13th of April, 1971, Babatunde Folorunsho was tried and found guilty of highway robbery. The judge, James Agboola Ojomo, sentenced him to death by firing squad.

Williams Alders Oyazimo
Williams Alders Oyazimo

The execution day came; it was on the 24th of July, 1971. Thousands of Nigerians rushed to the popular Bar Beach in Lagos where the execution was to take place. That was the first of its kind in Nigeria. It was around 1:00 pm and the sun was shining. Babatunde Folorunsho and two other ‘criminals’ were conveyed to the execution ground in a lorry. The crowd was anxious and excited as well.

In chains, Babatunde Folorunsho who was dressed in lace, and other criminals were walked to the stakes and tied up. The other two ‘criminals’ were Joseph Ilobo and Williams Alders Oyazimo. Joseph Ilobo unlike Folorunsho didn’t accept fate easily, he protested till his last moment.

At a point, he looked at the crowd and said,

“are all these people here to see me die? Ah! This is a wicked world. I have not committed any crime.”

Williams Alders Oyazimo was a sub-lieutenant in the Nigerian Navy. He protested his innocence in tears. He said,

if you search your conscience, you will know that a naval officer of my status will never go in the dead of the night to steal. I’ll die today, innocent of the crime for which I am condemned.”

He was approached by the military chaplain, Col. Pedro Martins, and asked to pray for forgiveness but he said, “Father, I am innocent. My blood will cleanse my family and my children will prosper.” Oyazimo’s last words touched Nigerians. It was such a pathetic moment.

According to a source, Williams Alders Oyazimo could have been truly innocent. His execution was likely a result of a personal feud with some officers of higher ranks. He and Joseph Ilobo were accused of robbing One Alhaja Taibatu Opene of a loudspeaker and record player valued at the equivalent of N320. They both pleaded not guilty but were sentenced to death anyway.

However, Oyazimo’s words did not make the executors change their minds. A loud voice let out the command. Joseph Ilobo screamed, “Make una go call that Alhaja, make she come see we die”. Then a rain of bullets fell on the condemned trio’s bodies. Their lifeless bodies were inspected, untied and then taken away for burial.

The whole of Nigeria celebrated the death of Babatunde Folorunsho aka Baba oni lace but only to welcome more of his kind.

Thanks for reading, highlifextra.com

References

  1. Olu Adetule, Death In The Afternoon Sun, Drum, July 1971
  2. Execution at Bar beach, Lagos Nigeria. April 24th 1970. Greg Nwoko
  3. Omipidan, T. O. (2021, February 28). The Real Story of Ishola Oyenusi – Nigeria’s Deadliest Armed Robber. highlifextra. https://oldnaija.com/2019/04/04/the-real-story-of-ishola-oyenusi-nigerias-deadliest-armed-robber/

If you find this useful, kindly share it on social media and drop a comment below.

Categories
History

The Evolution of Afrobeats – The Great 80s

Fela and band members during a dance rehearsal at Kalakuta Republic | TheNetNG
Fela and band members during a dance rehearsal at Kalakuta Republic

Born from a fusion of Jazz, highlife, funk, and traditional Nigerian music, the Afrobeats genre burst onto the Nigerian music scene in the 1960’s, changing it forever.

 

Created by legendary musician and performer, Fela Anikulapo- Kuti, Afrobeats quickly made waves spreading across the world with its killer sound and vibe, influencing generations that would come after.

Afrobeats was distinct from other genres. It combined high-energy, electric, groovy music with political undertones creating a mass appeal that had people thumping and chanting in the streets.

Hypnotic, mystical and untamable, the Afrobeats pioneer, Fela, used it to propel messages of social change, African identity and revolution.

“With music I create change… I am using my music as a weapon,” he once said.

Fela was undeniably addictive in personality and unmatchable in music. He created such memorable hits as ‘Yeye De Smell’, ‘Gentleman’ ‘Lady’ and ‘Zombie’, while still having the free time to perform such legendary personal acts as forming the Political Party Movement of the People (MOP) and running for president twice, and infamously marrying 28 women in a single ceremony and eventually divorcing them all.

He affected dozens of musicians both during his lifetime and after. Paul McCartney who traveled to Lagos in the 70s to see him perform, hailed him and his band “The best band he had ever seen alive.” Virtually every Nigerian artiste from a range of generations, including Tuface and Wizkid, have been influenced by him in some way.

But Fela was not alone. The eighties saw a height of Highlife music; a jazzy combination of western instruments and African expressions. Beginning in different parts of West Africa like Ghana, Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the 1920’s, Highlife combined instruments like the African drums, harmonicas, guitars, trumpets and accordions to produce sound that delighted people for decades.

Records like High Life by Sonny Okosun, Yellow Sisi by Dr. Orlando, Sweet Mother by Prince Nico Mbarga, Gowon Special by Jim Rex Lawson changed the landscape of music, making it that much sweeter.

Much celebrated and immeasurably talented Highlife Singer Victor Olaiya, and his band the ‘Cool Cats’, later renamed the ‘All Stars Band’, actually hold a place in history, performing for Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Nigeria and during the Independence and Republic celebrations in the 60’s. A renowned trumpeter, Dr. Olaiya is still active today, collaborating with Tuface in as late as 2013 for the song “Baby Mi Da”.

One of the most influential musicians of our time and Master of Juju music, King Sunny Ade also has roots in Highlife, tutored by Moses Olaiya, more popularly known as comedic genius Baba Sala at the beginning of his career.

King Sunny Ade's songs
King Sunny Ade

He evolved, becoming one of the greatest proponents of Juju music in history. In fact, the release of his album ‘Juju Music’ to overwhelming critical acclaim, cemented him as a critical music icon of our time. The New York Times credits him with beginning the “world beat movement” in the United States.

The first African to be nominated for two Grammys and a pioneer in sound and technique, he continues to inspire a new wave of musicians such as Lagbaja.

And who can forget Michael Jackson? The undisputed King of Pop, undoubtedly one of the best performers of all time, the eighties were an integral period in Michael Jackson’s career. He created some of his most beloved songs ‘Thriller’, ‘Billy Jean’, ‘Bad’, Beat it, Smooth Criminal. The list is seemingly endless.

He transformed music into Art. Even after his death, he’s remembered as the one of the most beloved musicians and innovators in his music, fashion and dance moves. Everyone knows the moonwalk.

All this great music was pushed on the then revolutionary new technology, the compact disc- CD’s. Created in a joint effort between tech giants Sony and Phillips, it became the primary method of distributing music for the next thirty years. In that time over 200 billion CD’s have been sold.

But all this was just the beginning. If the eighties brought revolution, the nineties brought magic.

References:

  • How and why Fela Kuti married 28 women in a day – highlifextra
  • Jaguda – Nigeria’s leading music blog
  • All you need to know about Felabration – highlifextra
  • Trace Magazine
Categories
History

The Shocking and Unbelievable Story of Jesu Oyingbo, the Self-acclaimed Nigerian Jesus Christ

Jesu Oyingbo
Jesu Oyingbo

Who Was Jesu Oyingbo?

The 1950s in Lagos, Nigeria, witnessed the shocking declaration of a middle-aged Ijebu man named Olufunmilayo Immanuel Odumosu aka Jesu Oyingbo as the long-awaited Jesus Christ. Many people laughed in utter disbelief while those who believed him thanked their stars for witnessing the second coming of Jesus Christ. The latter set of people packed their belongings and deserted their homes and families for the communal enclave of Jesu Oyingbo.

 

It all began in June 1959 when Odumosu declared himself as Jesus Christ who had come to lead the people from darkness to light. He said, “I am He. I am Jesus Christ, the very one whose second coming was foretold in the New Testament. I have come, and those who believe in me will have everlasting life and joy. I am the missing of the trinity. I have come to prepare the faithful for the judgment day.”

One may wonder what triggered Odumosu’s shocking declaration and more importantly, what made some Nigerians believe him. Could it have been his apprenticeship with his carpenter uncle, Pa Odubela, which is more like that of Jesus Christ and his foster father, Joseph, in the Bible? Whatever it could have been, one thing is certain, Nigerians stormed Jesu Oyingbo’s church seeking instant miracle.

Jesu Oyingbo’s church, named Universal College of Regeneration, was at first in the Oyingbo suburb of Lagos which earned him the ‘Oyingbo’ in his alias. He later moved the church to Awoyokun Street, Ikorodu Road, Palmgrove and later to Immanuel Street, Maryland, Ikeja, Lagos.

Jesu Oyingbo's obituary
Jesu Oyingbo’s obituary

highlifextra gathered that Jesu Oyingbo’s mode of worship was in no way related to that of the biblical Jesus Christ and his disciples. In fact, he concocted Christianity, Islam and paganism to form his own mode of worship. Anyway, he cared less about people’s thoughts and he maintained his ground firmly as the beloved Jesus Christ.

Jesu Oyingbo’s communal enclave where his over 700 followers lived was made up of a bakery, a barbershop, a printing press, construction company and so on. It was indeed another world on its own. Some of the structures in the communal enclave and other buildings owned by Jesu Oyingbo had weird sculptures which made people believed the more that he was operating a cult.

Jesu Oyingbo’s Church

Some of the buildings he owned on Immanuel Street, Maryland, had inscriptions such as The Lion of Judah, Immanuel the Christ, Prince of Peace, Merciful Father etc. and also had statues of Jesus Christ, lions and mermaids around them.

As if all these were not enough to falsify his proclamation as Jesus Christ, he baptized his new members with nine strokes of cane and not the usual water. After baptism, the new converts were free to live in his estate. Also, it was alleged that there were constant sexual activities and abuse in Jesu Oyingbo’s church.

It is worthy of note that being a member of the Universal College of Regeneration, one’s properties and partner could be taken at will by Jesu Oyingbo. On one account had he married a member’s wife off to another member. On another account, he married the wife of a member to punish the man for maltreating his wife. Incest was also said to have been a major activity in the enclave.

Jesu Oyingbo’s wives were reported to be over 30 with an estimate of 80 children and this was due to the unquestionable authority he had over his members’ wives. However, not all his children believed in him or his religion. One of his daughters, Bukola Immanuel, said, ‘‘I don’t accept him as my saviour. He’s my biological father. I have only the real Jesus Christ as my saviour.

Oyingbo churchNevertheless, Olufunmilayo Immanuel Odumosu, the Jesus of Oyingbo, was described by his children and neighbours as a kind and funny man. They claimed that he smiled always and even cracked jokes when walking in the neighbourhood. These claims are evident in the film show session he organized every evening in the enclave and neighbourhood. People would always gather in the evening to watch movies with a projector provided by Jesu Oyingbo. It was always festive-like.

Jesu Oyingbo’s story has it that he acquired massive wealth in the course of operating his ministry. He however denied the accusation that his wealth was ill-gotten, mostly by extorting his followers. He said that he is a saviour and a businessman who rely on his business enterprises to manage his ministry and polygamous family.

Jesu Oyingbo shook Lagos and other cities in southwestern Nigeria between the early 1970s and late 80s. He gained wide popularity even that his name was included in a Yoruba gospel song which goes thus: Emi o mo Jesu Oyingbo, emi o mo Jesu Agege, emi o mo Guru Maharaji, Jesu ti mo mo l’apata ayeraye (I don’t know Jesus of Oyingbo, I don’t know Jesus of Agege, I don’t know Guru Maharaji, the Jesus that I know is the rock of ages).

In 1988, the self-acclaimed Jesus of Oyingbo died in a hospital at the age of 73, just like every other man. The whole of his church was thrown into confusion. How could Jesus Christ die on his second coming? They wondered. Maybe he would resurrect on the third day, they hoped.

Immanuel Odumosu
Immanuel Odumosu

Alas, Jesu Oyingbo hasn’t resurrected till today. Jesu Oyingbo’s death cracked his ministry as the centre could no longer hold. His elder children tried to fix the cracks, instead, they widened. Jesu Oyingbo died without a will and this brewed serious war among his children, wives and followers.

His eldest son, Olukayode Immanuel Odumosu, took the matter to the court and this was where the atrocities perpetrated in the communal enclave were unravelled. However, in 1997, the court ruled in favour of the children who then evicted their father’s followers living in the enclave.

What is left of the enclave now are dilapidated and abandoned buildings which are frequented by thugs, weed smokers and criminals.

Thanks for reading, highlifextra.com

References:

  1. Ojo, Matthews. “Religion and Sexuality: Individuality, Choice and Sexual Rights in Nigerian Christianity” – AFRICA REGIONAL SEXUALITY RESOURCE CENTRE
  2. Chambers, Michael (April 9, 1964). “Jesus of Oyingbo,”. New Society. 3 (80): 13–14.
  3. Dad never collected tithe, offering from his congregation — Jesu Oyingbo’s daughter – Punch Newspaper
Categories
History

The Clifford Constitution of 1922 – Features, Merits & Demerits

Clifford Constitution of 1922
Sir Hugh Clifford

Introduction to the Clifford Constitution of 1922

The Clifford Constitution of 1922 disposed the Nigerian Council of Lord Lugard (1914) and set up a new legislative council for the Southern Protectorate.

The membership of the Clifford legislative council was forty-six (46). Twenty-seven (27) out of the forty-six 46 members were officials while nineteen (19) were unofficial members. Ten (10) out of the nineteen (19) unofficial members were Nigerians and out of the ten (10) unofficial Nigerians, four (4) were elected, three (3) from Lagos and one (1) from Calabar. The remaining six (6) were appointed by the Governor.

 

The Northern protectorate was excluded from the council. The governor continued to govern the North by proclamation.

Establishment of the Elective Principle by Clifford in 1922

The Clifford constitution of 1922 established the elective principle for the first time in Nigeria. However, the elective principle was limited to male adults that have resided in Nigeria for over 12 months and have a gross annual income of 100 pounds.

The Clifford constitution of 1922 also gave way to the establishment of political parties in Nigeria. In 1923, Herbert Macaulay founded the first political party in Nigeria, the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) and also established a newspaper called the West African Pilot. The Clifford constitution gave room for more participation and representation in the government than the 1914 constitution.

Main Features of the Clifford Constitution Of 1922

  1. Elective principle to elect the desired person into the Legislative council. NB:- Only an individual earning £100 annually can vote and be voted for. NCBWA struggled for the granting of the elective principle in Nigeria.
  2. All colonial governors were to report to the Secretary of State for colonies who was a cabinet minister in Britain.
  3. The Executive council was an all- European council. No Nigerian was included i.e Nigerians were not part of the decision-making body.
  4. The Legislative council consists of 46 members of which 27 were official and 19 were unofficial.
  5. The North was ruled by proclamation coming from the governor.
  6. Formation of political parties e.g NNDP of Herbert Macaulay.
  7. Establishment of Newspapers e.g The West African Pilot and Lagos Daily News.

Advantages or Merits of the Clifford Constitution

  1. Elective Principle – The Clifford constitution brought the elective principle into Nigeria which paved way for elective representation of Nigerians into the Legislative council.
  2. Political Activities for Nigerians – The Clifford constitution permitted the formation of political parties in Nigeria so as to ensure greater participation of Nigerians in their government. E.g. The Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) of Herbert Macaulay.
  3. New Legislative Council– The constitution created a new legislative council which consists of 46 members of which 27 were official and 19 were unofficial.
  4. Nationalism – The constitution geared up Nationalism among Nigerians
  5. Establishment of Newspapers – Newspapers were established to promote more political activities in Nigeria.

Disadvantages or Demerits

  1. Sectionalism – The Clifford Constitution of 1922 brought sectionalism into Nigeria as the constitution was meant for the Southern protectorate alone. The Legislative council was also created for the south excluding the North.
  2. The Legislative council was dominated by Europeans
  3. Partial representation – The elective principle introduced by the Clifford Constitution of 1922 works only for the legislative council. The executive council is not elective.
  4. Imposition – The people claimed that the constitution was imposed on them
  5. The Governor-General had veto powers on issues discussed in the legislative and executive council
  6. Partial Elective principle – Only Nigerians with resident qualification and have a gross income of £100 per annum which as at then was a very huge sum.

References:

  1. C. C. Dibie; Essential Government for Senior Secondary Schools; Tonad Publishers; August 2008
  2. Constitutional Development In Nigeria – Teslim Opemipo Omipidan, highlifextra
  3. The Nigerian Constitution: History and Development; Oluwole I Odumosu; London, Sweet & Maxwell, 1963
Categories
History

Photos from General Yakubu Gowon’s Wedding in 1969

On the 19th of April, 1969, Major-General Yakubu Gowon who as at then was Nigeria’s Head of State got married to Miss Victoria Zakari at the Christ Church Cathedral, Lagos. It was a joyous and memorable day for Nigerians even though there was an ongoing war in the country. Below are some lovely photos from the state wedding.

 

General Yakubu Gowon's wedding
General Yakubu Gowon and Victoria Zakari
General Yakubu Gowon's wedding
The bride, her father and bridesmaids
General Yakubu Gowon's wedding
General Yakubu Gowon and his bride, Victoria Zakari
General Yakubu Gowon's wedding
Entrance of the bride accompanied by her father
General Yakubu Gowon's wedding
General Yakubu Gowon and his wife cutting their wedding cake
General Yakubu Gowon's wedding
General Yakubu Gowon and Admiral Akinwale Wey
General Yakubu Gowon's wedding
The bride and her Chief bridesmaid
General Yakubu Gowon's wedding
L – R: Yakubu Gowon’s elder sister Maryamu, his mother Saraya and relative arriving at his wedding. Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos, 1969.
General Yakubu Gowon and wife
General Yakubu Gowon's wedding
General Yakubu Gowon and the Bishop of Christ Church Cathedral

Thanks for reading, highlifextra.com