Post Image
  Oba Oyekan I reigned as the Lagos Monarch from March 1885 to September 30, 1900. He ascended the throne about a month after the death of his father, Oba Dosunmu.
Read more about Nigerians in history

Prince Oyekan vs. Chief Apena Ajasa incident

In 1883, Oba Dosunmu, Oyekan’s father called a meeting to heal tensions between Chief Apena Ajasa and Chief Taiwo Olowo however Chief Ajasa was threatening the Oba and other chiefs. On viewing Apena Ajasa’s threatening stance, prince Oyekan slapped Chief Ajasa adding that Ajasa should not insult the Oba at Iga Idunganran (the Oba’s palace). Oba Dosunmu disapproved of Oyekan’s actions and cursed him saying “The boy who has thus acted should be lost”. Chief Taiwo Olowo, Chief Apena Ajasa’s rival, was delighted by Oyekan’s action and countered Oba Dosunmu’s imprecation saying “The boy shall not be lost but he will live a long life of prosperity”

The decline in the influence of the Obaship during Oyekan’s reign

The Obaship declined both financially and in terms of influence during Oyekan’s reign. Oyekan accepted a drop in income paid by the British colonial government from £1,000 to £200 (eventually raised to £400 in 1898). Oyekan also lacked the backing of powerful chiefs such as Apena Ajasa who he clashed within 1883.
Sign up for the Connect Nigeria daily newsletter
Finally, the lack of support from powerful chiefs such as Apena Ajasa prevented Oyekan from exercising certain legal powers provided for Oba Dosunmu in the 1861 Treaty of Cession.

A Peep into The sacredness of the Monarchy system in Yorùbá

The sacredness of the Monarchy system in Yorùbá land is one of the few reasons why Yoruba traditional systems and values have garnered so much respect and admiration over the years. The Obaship inspires nothing short of reverence. The almost magical and legendary feats of Yorùbá Oba’s in times past have also blessed the chapters of oral history, with in-depth documentation of historical accomplishments. In the often larger-than-life narrative surrounding royalty in Yoruba land, these Obas didn’t rule their domain as mere mortals, but like gods and custodians of art and culture. One part as a King and one part as a father to all living and non-living creatures; including the beings that abide in the forest, under the sea and below and above the different layers of the heavens. The Oba’s power is likened to that of the gods!
Register to attend the Connect Nigeria Business Mixer
Kabiyesi Oba alaase ekeji Orisa; this places the king on the same pedestal as the gods. Still, the Oba is accountable to his people and the gods of the land. His primary duty is to develop his domain, as well as protect and develop every aspect of the socio-cultural well-being of the land.


Oba Oyekan died on Tuesday, September 30, 1900 after being ill for some time. He reigned for 15 years as Oba of Lagos.


Folami, Takiu (1982). A History of Lagos, Nigeria: The Shaping of an African City. Exposition Press, 1982. pp. 37–40. Losi, John. History of Lagos. African Education Press (1967). p. 52 Featured Image Source: Vanguard News
Got a suggestion? Contact us:  

You might also like:
This article was first published on 24th June 2022 and updated on June 25th, 2022 at 12:11 am


Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

Comments (96)

96 thoughts on “Nigerians In History: Oba Oyekan”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *