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History

Iwe Irohin – The First Newspaper In Nigeria

Iwe Irohin Newspaper - First Newspaper in Nigeria
A facsimile of Iwe Irohin, the first newspaper in Nigeria

In the 1840s, the missionaries of the Presbyterian Church began to arrive in Nigeria. They settled in an area known as English Town in Calabar. Among these missionaries was Reverend Henry Townsend who later moved to Abeokuta in the 1850s.

 

In Abeokuta, Reverend Townsend established a printing press in 1854 which he used, five years later, to publish the first newspaper in Nigeria called Iwe Irohin Fun Awon Ara Egba Ati Yoruba.

The first edition of the newspaper came out on November 23, 1859. The newspaper was published fortnightly (every 15 days) and sold for 120 cowries (Ogofa owo eyo), the English edition cost a penny. Later on, the name of the newspaper was shortened to just Iwe Irohin.

James Ede, an Egba man trained by Henry Townsend served as the chief printer of the newspaper. Iwe Irohin was highly patronized by the few literates of that time living in Egba and other parts of Yoruba land. The circulation of the paper was around 3,000 copies. Its pages were usually divided into two columns and had no pictures.

Reverend Henry Townsend’s main purpose of setting up the newspaper was to make the new converts read and write. He said, “my objective is to get the people to read and to beget the habit of seeking information by reading.”

Iwe Irohin newspaper contents

Iwe Irohin newspaper published news of church activities, arrival and departure of religious dignitaries, ordinations and so on. It later broadened its contents by adding stories about Abeokuta’s affairs, cotton and cocoa statistics. Starting from 1860, the newspaper carried advertisements from local firms and government agencies.

Reverend Henry Townsend
Reverend Henry Townsend

The newspaper was cautioned by the C.M.S authorities in 1863 for some of its contents that antagonized the colonial government, but this didn’t stop Townsend from running the newspaper. Although Iwe Irohin maintained a good level of objectivity, it equally provided alternate opinion on policies such as the closing of Ogun River to trade with the aim of preserving warriors from the temptation of capitalism.

The demise of Iwe Irohin, the first newspaper in Nigeria

In January 1866, the newspaper appeared in two versions, one in English and the other in Yoruba. In 1867, Rev. Henry Townsend’s printing press in Abeokuta was razed by Egba people due to cultural and political clashes that occurred between the Egbas and the British which resulted in the expulsion of all Europeans in Egbaland.

This brought an end to Iwe Irohin, the first newspaper in Nigeria. But before it finally collapsed in 1867, the newspaper had already fulfilled its mission which was to develop a reading habit in the people, therefore, leaving them to yearn for news after its demise.

Iwe Irohin was followed by Anglo African which was edited by Robert Campbell, Lagos Times And Gold Coast Colony Advertiser by Richard Beale Blaize and many others.

Resuscitation

On the 21st of December, 2012, Iwe Irohin was resuscitated in Abeokuta, capital of Ogun State, after 140 years of its demise. The re-launch took place at the Press Centre, with dignitaries in attendance expressing their joy over the resuscitation.

Thanks for reading, highlifextra.com

References:

  1. History And Development Of Mass Media In Nigeria – Ifedayo Daramola, PhD, 2013
  2. Omipidan, Teslim Opemipo. (2016). Development of Newspaper in Nigeria – highlifextra.
  3. Oduntan, Oluwatoyin. (2005). Iwe Irohin and the Representation of the Universal in Nineteenth-Century Egbaland. History in Africa. 32. 295-305. 10.1353/hia.2005.0018.
  4. Times, P. (2012, December 21). First Nigerian newspaper, Iwe Irohin, resuscitated 140 years after it died. Premium Times Nigeria.
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/

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Categories
History

Leave Bobrisky – Meet Calypso King, First Nigerian Man Who Wanted To Become a Woman and Change His Genitals in the 80s

Bobrisky and Bob Actor
Bobrisky (left) and Bob Actor (right)

If we guess right, you are surprised because you have always thought Bobrisky is the first Nigerian man to publicly take up the identity of a woman. Do not be surprised, long before Bobrisky lived a celebrated crossdresser and self-acclaimed transgender named Bob Actor, popularly known as Calypso King!

 

Bob actor
Bob Actor aka Calypso King

Who was Bob Actor/Calypso King?

Bob Actor was a Nigerian musician and actor in the 1980s and was known throughout the country. Bob (Calypso King) lived his life quite different from that of other celebrities of his time. He was married with at least a child but still wished to live as a woman and sometimes, he dressed as one.

Bob Actor
In February, 1989, Bob Actor granted Lagos Weekend an interview in which he made it known that he always felt like a woman trapped in the body of a man. He also talked about getting surgery to fully become transgender and live the life he had always dreamed about.

During the interview, he said,

“I do not even bother myself about what people may say after all no one is above criticism. I only got married to prove to people I’m not impotent either”.

highlifextra.com gathered that Calypso King (Bob Actor) desired to get married to a man after his surgery and then love his wife like a sister after which she can get married to another man of her choice. He said,

“I’ve even received a marriage proposal from a black American man and we intend to have our own children”.

He got several criticisms from the Nigerian public, many even believed he was insane. Bob Actor didn’t get discouraged and still pushed on with the kind of life he wanted. He once said,

“People make history just like history makes people. I know what I’m doing because I’m not insane”.

Calypso King
So, if you’re thinking that the Nigerian Barbie, Bobrisky, is the first celebrated crossdresser in Nigeria, discard the thought for The Calypso King once lived; The Calypso King who wanted to change his male genitals to that of a female.

What do you think of Bobrisky and Bob Actor? Leave a comment below and do not forget to share with friends on social media.

Image credit: Amanda Kirby of Joliba Heritage and Culture.

Categories
History

Queen Elizabeth’s First Visit to Nigeria in 1956 (with Video)

Footage of the Queen’s visit to Nigeria in 1956.

The Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, visited Nigeria for the first time on the 28th of January, 1956, four years to Nigeria’s independence and stayed for 20 days.

 

She was received with a military parade at the Ikeja Airport in Lagos and welcomed by dignitaries such as the then Governor-General, Sir James Robertson, his wife, the Minister of Labour (Festus Okotie-Eboh) and the Oba of Benin, Oba Akenzua II.

Oba Akenzua II and Queen Elizabeth II
Oba Akenzua II and Queen Elizabeth II

Nigerians, eager to see the Queen, stormed the streets of Lagos with banners and flags. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh were driven past the cheering crowds in an open car to the Municipal Boundary.

Queen Elizabeth II also met with the Oba of Lagos, Oba Adeniji-Adele II. Little Folashade Lawson, daughter of the Chairman of Lagos Town Council, presented Queen Elizabeth II a bouquet on her knees.


Before the Queen left on the 16th of February, 1956, she visited other parts of Nigeria such as Port Harcourt and Kaduna where she graced the Dubar festival.

Thanks for reading, highlifextra.com

Categories
History

The History Of Christmas In Nigeria: How The First Christmas In Nigeria Was Celebrated In 1842

Reverend Thomas Birch Freeman
Reverend Thomas Birch Freeman

For hundreds of years, Christmas has been celebrated by Christians across the world as the anniversary of Jesus Christ’s birth. It is one celebration Christians don’t miss because it comes with loads of fun, merriment, love, jollof rice and chicken.

 

Although, the actual date Jesus Christ was born remains unknown, the Western Christian Church tagged December 25 as his birthday and this was accepted all over the world.

You might have been longing to know when, where and how the first Christmas in Nigeria was celebrated or in short, the history of Christmas in Nigeria. As usual, highlifextra has you covered.

History of Christmas in Nigeria

The history of Christmas in Nigeria is traced to the repatriation of freed slaves from the United States of America to Badagry in Lagos, Nigeria in 1838. About five hundred freed slaves settled in Badagry and among them was James Ferguson, a Methodist and leader of a trading group.

On March 2, 1841, this James Ferguson, after being granted approval, invited the missionaries in Sierra Leone to start missionary work in Badagary.

The authorities responded to James’ invitation on September 23, 1841 and then sent a missionary named Reverend Thomas Birch Freeman to Badagry. Reverend Freeman arrived in a ship called Spy which anchored in a place known as Gberefu (Klefu) Sea Beach.

The reverend was accompanied by two African assistants, William De Graft and his wife who were both from Gold Coast (now Ghana). Reverend Freeman with his assistants was saddled with the responsibility of propagating Christianity in Badagry and other parts of Nigeria. A day after his arrival, he preached a sermon about Christianity under the Agia tree in Asisoe Tin, Badagry.

Meanwhile, some of the freed slaves had left Badagry to settle in the rocky town of Abeokuta. Sodeke, the Alake (King) of Egba, then invited Reverend Freeman to preach Christianity in his town.

Reverend Freeman travelled to Abeokuta on December 11, 1842 and returned to Badagry on December 24, a day before Christmas, and met the renowned Reverend Henry Townsend of the Church Missionaries society (CMS now Anglican Church of Christ).

The following day which was December 25, 1842 saw Reverend Freeman and Henry Townsend celebrating the first Christmas in Nigeria under the Agia tree in Asisoe Tin, Badagry. The Christmas celebration was attended by the devoted population of Badagry natives, the freed slaves and Europeans living in Badagry at that time.

The celebration began with Reverend Henry Townsend reading from the scripture and then Reverend Freeman rendered a sermon which he titled ‘The Incarnation Redeemer of Mankind’.

Christmas celebration began in Nigeria as a gathering under a tree in Badagry but as at today, it has gone beyond such to a large and glamourous celebration with fanfare.

Besides being the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas in Nigeria serve as a means of bringing families and loved ones together to share joyous and memorable moments.

References:

  1. Hillerbrand, H. J. (2020, December 16). Christmas. Encyclopedia Britannica.
  2. Omipidan, Teslim Opemipo. (2017). Iwe-Irohin: The First Newspaper In Nigeria by Reverend Henry Townsend. highlifextra.
Categories
History

Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) – First Political Party in Nigeria

Herbert Macaulay of Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) First political party in Nigeria
Herbert Macaulay of Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP)

The Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) was formed in 1923 by Sir Herbert Macaulay who is popularly regarded as the “father of Nigerian nationalism”.

This was the first of its kind in Nigeria. It was the Clifford constitution of 1922 that paved the way for the formation of NNDP because it (the constitution) established the elective principle for the first time in Nigeria.

 

NNDP was founded in conjunction with Lagos brilliant minds such as Dr Adeyemo Alakija, Joseph Egerton Shyngle, C.C. Adeniyi-Jones and Eric Moore.

The Nigeria National Democratic Party (NNDP) as a nationalist organization demanded free and compulsory education, the establishment of a university, Africanization of the civil service, a municipal government for Lagos and an end to racial discrimination.

This Party won all the three seats in Lagos into the Legislative Council in the elections of 1923, 1928 and 1933. It also won the elections into the Lagos Town Council when the elective principle was established. The party’s popularity among different classes of Lagosians is attributable to the leader, Herbert Macaulay’s personality, being a man who identified himself with the people.

However, the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) which happens to be the first political party in Nigeria did not have a national outlook as it was mainly based in Lagos. The party continued to dominate the political scene of Lagos until 1938 when it was defeated by the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM).

For a long time, the party’s activities remained unnoticed until 1964 when Samuel Ladoke Akintola accepted it as his party. It was a move made in an attempt to collapse the Action Group party led by Obafemi Awolowo.

It is worthy of note that the NNDP of Herbert Macaulay founded Lagos Daily News. This was an arm of the party that helped to encourage political activities, especially in Lagos.

Aims/Objectives Of NNDP

  1. To elect members into the Lagos Legislative Council.
  2. To upgrade Lagos to a full municipal status.
  3. To encourage compulsory education to the natives.
  4. To fight for and obtain independence for the country.

Achievements of the Nigerian National Democratic Party

  1. It won all three seats to the Lagos Legislative Council in the elections of 1923, 1928, and 1933.
  2. It provided a platform for testing true representatives.
  3. It fostered political consciousness.
  4. It contributed to the fight for Nigeria’s independence.

As a student, now you should be able to answer questions such as: who formed the first political party in Nigeria? What is the first political party in Nigeria? When was NNDP founded? etc.

Thanks for reading, highlifextra.com

References:

  1. Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM, 1935); Teslim Opemipo Omipidan; highlifextra.com.
  2. Dibie C. Chris. Essential Government Textbook. Tonad Publishers
  3. “Transforming Nigerian Party System” – The Tide.
Categories
History

How the First Known Victim of Police Brutality in Nigeria Was Killed in 1971

Kunle Adepeju
Kunle Adepeju

Adekunle Adepeju was a second-year student of the Agricultural Economics Department, University of Ibadan, as at the time of the incident. Prior to his death, the students of the University of Ibadan protested the poor state of the University which included the quality of the catering services exacerbated by the apparent dishonesty of the hall manageress.

 

The students felt the manageress was inefficient and had poor public relations, and so they petitioned the Vice Chancellor, Professor Lambo, for her immediate removal.

Kunle Adepeju

The management was reluctant to remove the manageress and this resulted in the demonstration which was started by students of Nnamdi Azikiwe Hall, University of Ibadan. The Vice-chancellor invited the police to help contain the students’ protests which began on Saturday, January 30, 1971.

According to several accounts, Kunle Adepeju was a quiet young man who was noted for going about the campus with his flute. But on the 1st of February, 1971, right in the front of Queen Elizabeth II Hall, University of Ibadan, Kunle Adepeju was hit by a stray bullet which a police officer had fired into the protesting crowd. His lifeless body was laid near the bus stop to Queen’s Hall and covered in a white bed sheet.

Kunle Adepeju

It was reported that he was helping a fellow student whose leg had been shot. Kunle’s body fell, dead before touching the ground. Many other students were wounded; this killing created a strong hostile reaction from the public.

A 4-day protest ensued in Ibadan and spread to Lagos. According to Reuters, demonstrators burned down police posts and hunted policemen who took off their uniforms to escape the violence.

In memory of a true hero, Adekunle Ademuyiwa Adepeju, the entirety of Nigerian students remembers his great bravery. The power of his sacrifice, effort, courage, bravery remains a strong fulcrum for justice.

Kunle Adepeju

Today, on arrival to the University of Ibadan Campus, one of the many structures one would see is the University of Ibadan Students’ Union Building popularly known as the Kunle Adepeju Building which houses the late Kunle Adepeju statue.

The location of this structure itself seems to be deliberate to remind every student there is a vibrant and progressive students’ body that will always defend students’ rights.

Thanks for reading, highlifextra.

References:

  • LATE ADEKUNLE ADEMUYIWA ADEPEJU; A QUINTESSENTIAL HERO – Alao Abiodun Joshua, Union of Campus Journalists, University of Ibadan.
  • How Angry Protesters Stormed University of Ibadan in 1971 Over the Death of a Student – Teslim Omipidan, highlifextra.com
Categories
History

Inside the First Storey Building in Nigeria

First Storey Building In Nigeria

It was in 1842 that the foundation of the first storey building in Nigeria was laid by Reverend Henry Townsend of the Church Missionary Society (C.M.S) on the Marina waterfront in Badagry, Lagos, Nigeria.

Three years later, in 1845, some other missionaries finished building what stands today as a significant relic of Nigerian history. The building served as a vicarage for Saint Thomas Anglican Church but was later used by Samuel Ajayi Crowther, the first African C.M.S bishop who translated the Holy Bible from English to Yoruba Language.

 

A room inside Nigeria's first storey building

In one of the two rooms on the upper floor of the building, there lay a glass case containing the English and Yoruba version of the bible translated by Ajayi Crowther. It was said that the English bible is 178 years old while the Yoruba version is 175 years.

Inside the first storey building in Nigeria

The building floor housed the room of the first teacher in Nigeria, Mr Claudius Philips. Philips, who wore a black shirt, suit and a white trouser in the portrait which adorned the wall, lived in the room for 23 years, from 1845 to 1868.

Nigeria's First Storey Building

In another room, the picture of Herbert Macaulay, Ajayi Crowther’s grandson, hung on the wall. There is also a well in the compound which was dug in 1842. The well served as a source of clean water for some residents of the community.

1842 Well in Badagry

The first storey building in Nigeria was initially built with coconut fibres and bamboos on an area of 1,144 square feet. Recently, the monument was given a mild facelift to preserve it for coming generations.

Directions to the First Storey Building In Nigeria

According to Travel Waka, if you are coming from the Lagos Island or mainland or outside Lagos, firstly, you need to get to Badagry roundabout and turn left, once you make the left turn towards Joseph Dosu, drive towards the end of the road where you’d see another round about , the fisherman’s statue, take another left turn and locate Mobee Street, Off Mobee street is Marina Road, Badagry

The Building opens by 8am and closes at 6pm.

Thanks for reading, highlifextra.com

Categories
Cultures

Oba Orompoto – The first Female Alaafin of Oyo

Oba Orompoto

Oba Orompoto is the first and perhaps the only female Alaafin of Oyo. She was known for her bravery and tremendous achievements during her reign.

Who was Oba Orompoto?

Oba Orompoto was the seventh Alaafin of Oyo; she was the sister of her predecessor, Eguguoju. Orompoto assumed the throne because there was no male successor within the royal family at that time (better still, the available males were too young to rule).

 

It was speculated that her reign lasted from 1554 to 1562.

Oba Orompoto was a fierce warrior; she was feared even by her male counterpart. During her former reign as a regent, she made the biggest and final attack to obliterate the Nupe to ensure they never threaten Oyo again.

Coronation of Oba Orompoto as Alaafin

The mystery behind the coronation of Orompoto as the Alaafin of Oyo will forever remain a puzzle.

The Oyomesi who were in charge of installing a new Alaafin were not willing to crown Orompoto king. According to the Oyomesi, it was an abomination for a woman to rule over the empire.

In order to disqualify her from ascending the throne, she was given an ultimatum of seven days to become a man so she can be fit for the throne. Immediately after this pronouncement, Orompoto started dressing like a man wearing Agbada and fila (cap).

On the seventh day, Orompoto unveiled her upper part and it was completely flat, no breast! The Oyomesi were not impressed, they felt it was possible for a woman to have a flat chest.

So she went on to remove her trouser and according to oral tradition, not only did the Oyomesi saw a penis, a scrotum was seen dangling between her legs. Immediately, everyone dropped on their chest and chanted Kaabiyesi oooo – she was immediately enthroned the Alaafin of Oyo.

Oba Orompoto is regarded as the first transgender in history. She was popularly known as “the custodian of the vagina that kills evil plots”.

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Categories
Cultures

How the First Plane Crash in Nigeria Happened in April 1942

Site of the first plane crash in Nigeria
Site of first plane crash in Nigeria which is now a tourist attraction

The first plane crash in Nigeria happened on the 12th of April, 1942 on a hill called Igbo Ilapa in the quiet town of Ikogosi, Ekiti State.

Besides being famous for housing a popular tourist attraction where warm and cold springs meet, Ikogosi happens to be the first place where a plane crash incident occurred in Nigeria.

 

How did the crash happen?

The 2nd world war was ongoing when a cargo plane which was carrying arms and ammunition (including explosives) crashed at Igbo Ilapa in Ikogosi. The explosives made the crash a fatal one as they kept exploding for hours.

First Plane Crash In NIgeria

This set the whole of Igbo Ilapa, now called Igbo Baalu (forest of aeroplane), on fire and destroyed every living and non-living thing in the environment. OldNaija gathered that the pilot, with great efforts, manoeuvred the plane to crash on the forest-cloaked hill instead of the quiet town which would have left many people dead and several properties destroyed.

Till this very moment, two hole-riddled engines and other body parts of the plane can still be found on the hill.

And for Nigerian owned plane, the first crash was recorded on the 20th of November, 1969. The plane, DC-10, was owned by the government. The plane took off in London and crash-landed in Lagos. 82 people, including the plane crew, died in the crash.

This post was first published on OldNaija on April 2 2017.

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