Awori Welfare Association of Nigeria (AWAN), on Tuesday said it was deeply concerned about what it called the distortion of the history of Lagos.
NAN quoted President of the group, Chief Solomon Ojolowo, as saying the recent comments by some highly placed people and politicians that Lagos does not belong to the Aworis was not only false but also mischievous.
Ojolowo contended that the Aworis were the real owners and Aborigines of Lagos and nobody could controvert the historical fact for economic and political benefits.
”The outburst from a political leader, Prince Tajudeen Olusi, the leader of APC Elders Forum, who declared not only that Awori is not in Lagos but also that Awori is not in Yorubaland is an obvious false declaration.
”Almost everyone in Yorubaland, even non-Yorubas, definitely know not only that Awori is in Yorubaland but Aworis are the Aborigines of Lagos, but if no rebuttal is made, a wrong impression would have been unwittingly created,’’ he said.
Ojolowo said the Aworis had been in Lagos for centuries before any settler and that they were descendants of Ile-Ife, the root of the Yoruba race.
He explained that the Aworis constitute the largest single ethnic sub-group in the state and that they account for 75 per cent of the indigenous population of Lagos.
Ojolowo said that out of the 20 old local governments in the state, the Aworis could be conveniently found in 17 local governments.
He listed the local governments to include Lagos Island, Ojo, Badagry, Amuwo-Odofin, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Apapa, Oshodi-Isolo, Mushin, Ikeja and Alimosho.
Others are Eti-Osa, Surulere, Lagos Mainland, Ifako-Ijaiye, Agege and some parts of Ifako-Ijaiye and parts of Ikorodu and Ibeju-Lekki.
Ojolowo said the Binis were settlers in Lagos and that they had fully integrated in parts of Aworiland owing to the long-standing hospitality of Aworis to outsiders.
He claimed that the crowning of people of Bini descendants as Obas in Lagos was on the instructions of the Ifa Oracle in early times and not because they were owners of the land.
”In the early days, the Ifa priest would say that a visitor was on his way to town or that they should look out for a settler or a stranger who would arrive in the morning and should be conscripted and crowned as Oba.
”This is how the Binis became Obas in some of the places they settled in Aworiland,” he said.
Ojolowo said the Aworis were not opposed to outsiders coming to the state to settle and succeed, but that the success of settlers should not be at the detriment of the original people.
Ojolowo said Aworis, who are also found in Ogun State and other parts of the country, are lovers of visitors and would continue to welcome outsiders with open arms.
Similarly, Mr Adewale Williams, a representative of Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, said that it could not be disputed that the Aworis are the real owners of Lagos.
He explained that the Aworis were originally from Ile-Ife and that the progenitor of the Yorubas, Oduduwa, sent one of his princes to Lagos to who found Aworiland.
He said the Ooni recognised the Aworis as true owners of Lagos and advised against the distortion of the state’s history for whatever reason.