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LAGOS AND THE EVOLUTION OF OYINGBO MARKET

Lagos State is unique in many ways. It is the most populous state of Nigeria and is the leading non oil sector contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic product (GDP). In 2006, it contributed 30% of the nation’s GDP, consumed more than 60% of its energy, paid 65% of its value Added Tax (VAT), and accounted for 90% of Nigeria’s foreign trade and 70% of all industrial investments. With three lighter terminals and two ports, Lagos generates 50% of Nigeria’s port revenue and the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, is the major hub for aviation within West Africa, and between the region and Europe.
Lagos State is indeed blessed by its position as Nigeria’s financial, commercial and industrial nerve centre with over 2,000 manufacturing industries and over 200 financial institutions. The State alone harbours about 60 per cent of the Federation’s total industrial investments and foreign trade while also attracting 65 per cent of Nigeria’s commercial activities. It accounts for more than 40 per cent of all labour emoluments paid in the country.
Aside all these empirical indices, Lagos is equally unique in terms of its numerous iconic markets. All across the metropolis, especially in places such as Ketu, Mile 2, Mile 12, Oshodi, Ikeja, Ojota, Jankara, Yaba, Balogun, and Oyingbo among others, there are massive markets where varied trading activities take place. Oyingbo market, in particular, has a chequered history. What is today an ultramodern market complex in Oyingbo, a metropolitan city in Ebute Metta area of Lagos State is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Lagos. The saying that Oja Oyingbo ko mo p’enikan o wa (Oyingbo Market does not recognize the absence of anyone) is a tribute to its sheer size, patronage and prominence among markets in the country.
The market was traditionally established by the Aworis who inhabited the southern and central part of the Lagos Mainland in the remote past before the British Establishment in 1851. It used to be a depot for agricultural produces from across the country. But then, rapid socio-economic development around Ebute-Metta, Oyingbo and the Lagos Mainland had impacted hugely on the evolvement of the market, thereby making it to grow bigger not only in size but also in the variety of goods available within the its confine. In one instance, in the 1930s, traders around Apapa road were moved to the current location to further boost the size of the market and expand the array of available goods to include meat and livestock. As a major commercial centre, the market attracted patronage from across Nigeria and beyond.
According to Otunba Augustus Payne’s “Principal Almenack and Dairy for 1886” , the Oyingbo market which held every four days was a trade fare established by Aworis as a disposal centre for their surplus produce and craft and it served the inhabitants of the sparsely clustered hamlets (village communities) which spread on the littoral of Lagos. However, when the Egbas attacked the communities in the 1830s in search of direct outlet to the coast, many of the communities abandoned their land and sought refuge on Lagos Island.
The word “Oyingbo” is a perversion of the Yoruba phrase “Eyin Gbo” which itself is a contracted form of “Eyin Gbongbo”. “Eyin” means “behind” while “Gbongbo” means “huge tree root”. Hence, the name “Oyingbo Market” was used to describe where the market was situated. It was claimed that there was a big tree with enormous roots and it was behind the tree that trading activities were carried out.
Oyingbo Market in the early days was situated near a small hamlet known as “Ebute M’ata” now called “Ebute-Metta”. According to Iwe Irohin Eko of 16thFebrauary, 1889, “Ebute M’ata” which full pronunciation is “EbuteImu-Ata” is from the Awori language. Among the many meanings of “Imu” in Awori is “a place where something is situated” while “Ebute” means “wharf”. Thus, “Ebute Imu-Ata” or Ebute- M’ata” actually means “the wharf where Atta tree is situated”.
History has it that a big Atta tree was formerly situated at the wharf (Ebute) on the Mainland right opposite the Ota village before it decomposed and fell down. However, with the many and different tribes that make up the population of Lagos and by whom the original settlers were so rapidly overwhelmed, it is not a surprise that the spelling, pronunciation and meaning of the word was perverted to “Ebute-Metta”.
It is pertinent to mention that at various times, the running of Oyingbo Market had been under different Local Government Authorities. In 1918 its management was under the Market Department of Lagos Town Council which later metamorphosed in 1963 to the Lagos City Council. Between 1976 and 1977, the responsibility of running the market fell on the Lagos Mainland Local Government and it has remained so till date, despite the carving out of Surulere Local Government from the Lagos Mainland Local Government.
However, due to the dilapidated structures, failed facilities occasioned by extensive neglect of needed maintenance which usually resulted in the flooding of the market and the destruction of the wares of the traders and an immediate need for space expansion, the old Oyingbo Market was demolished by the Chairman of Mainland Local Government, Mr Adetayo Oyemade on the 17th August, 1991 for reconstruction, but he could not award the contract for the reconstruction before leaving office. Another attempt was made in November 1991 during the Otedola’s Administration with late Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola as the Chairman of the Fund Raising Committee. For a combination of factors, this effort equally brought limited success.
In 2000, a joint venture was put in place between the Local Government and private financiers. Under the arrangement, the Local Government was to donate the land as equity participation while the private partners will finance the project. The Lagos State Government finally took over the project and the construction of the ultramodern Oyingbo market was finally completed and commissioned on Sunday, 15th March, 2015.
The new ultramodern Oyingbo market complex is a four-storey building built on a 504 square meters land with about 150-car capacity parking lot on the ground floor, 622 open shops, 102 lockup shops, 49 open offices, 134 toilets, six exit gates, water treatment plant, sewage and refuse treatment plants, fire safety gadgets, 1,000KVA transformers among others.
Today, Oyingbo Market has become a one –stop-shop for all kinds of items and products. Perhaps, more importantly, through the diverse economic activities that go on in the market, thousands of people can boast of a consistent source of livelihood. This, indeed, is a major path to prosperity

Biodun Onayele - DG, LASRAB

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TIME OUT WITH HON. ADEKUNLE ALLI

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In line with the Bureau’s statutory responsibilities of capturing full and accurate records of the State and also increase its holdings on documentary heritage as part of the historical research and knowledge management functions, Lagos State Records and Archives Bureau led by the Director General, Mr. Biodun Onayele paid a courtesy visit to Hon. Adekunle Alli at his residence in Iyana Ipaja in continuation of the exercise tagged “Time out with Living Legends”.

According to Mr. Onayele, the visit was important in order to obtain first-hand information for posterity and possibly reproduce or acquire private materials of individuals who have vast knowledge on the history, culture and traditions of the people of Lagos.

He stated that Hon. Alli has become a repository of high standard and the volume of materials in his custody is colossal which thereof needs to be preserved as a reference point for researchers on the history of Lagos.

He further stated that the elder statesman has shown tremendous support to the establishment and development of the Bureau from inception by sharing with the Bureau materials from his private archives.

In response, Hon. Adekunle Alli was delighted to have the delegation as he shared his experiences on the historical and cultural development of Lagos, family background, the Lagos of his time, his historical research journey and contributions to humanity.

Hon. Alli, a thorough bred and humble “Omo Eko”, a former member of the House of Representatives on the platform of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), a records & archives master and an acclaimed history trainer who has an unquantifiable passion and fantastic knowledge on the history of Lagos.

Hon. Alli informed the team that he started his research works as far back as 1962 and he is still researching till date. He also stated that his insatiable taste for historical research works driven by interest and passion to preserve the history of Lagos.
He further encouraged the Bureau especially the Director General to continue the good work of consultation and collation of archival materials from various sources in order to provide accurate information to the public on the historical development of the State. He promised to continue to share with the Bureau his private materials on Lagos history.

The LASRAB’s team that visited Hon. Adekunle Alli with the Director General comprises: Mr. Olufemi Oladunjoye, Deputy Director (A & HR); Dr. Kolawole Oseni, Head, Records & Archives; Mr. Luqmon Durojaiye, Head – Public Affairs Unit, Mr. Deji Hamzat, Head, Records Management. Others are Miss Ajoke Lukoh, Senior Archivist; Senior Archivist; Mr. Julius Onileowo, Principal Executive Officer and Miss Aisha Animashaun, Senior Public Affairs Officer.

LASRAB REITERATES IMPORTANCE OF RECORDS AND ARCHIVES MANAGEMENT

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Lagos State Records and Archives Bureau (LASRAB) says it is committed to providing assistance to both public and private schools in the State by educating the pupils/students not only on the history, culture and people of the State but also the importance of records and archives management in our personal lives.

This assertion was made by the Director General, Mr. Biodun Onayele during the courtesy visit of owners of private schools under the aupices of Organisation Mondiale pour l’Education Prescolaire (OMEP) which means World Organization for Early Childhoold Education in his Magodo Office, Lagos.

The visit to the Bureau by OMEP members was a follow up of the advocacy/courtesy call on the organization by the Director General during one of its meetings held recently at the Lagos State Government Women Development Centre (WDC) Agege, Lagos.

According to Mr. Onayele, the relationship between the Bureau and the Organization will be symbiotic in the sense that the Bureau is ready and willing to compliment the classroom teachings on history of Lagos by providing the necessary practical support needed by various schools. He stated that the Bureau has in its holdings documents on the developmental strides of the State as far back as the Colonial days and still acquiring more records of enduring value.

He also stated that records and archives management is not only important for the Government to plan but it is necessary for individuals to domesticate it to help organise our private lives. He used the medium to enjoin the members of OMEP who were from various districts in the State to spread the good news about the Bureau and its importance to their colleagues.
He further implored the Educationist to imbibe the culture of records keeping in their various schools and to seek advise from the Bureau if the need arises as the Bureau also provides consultancy services in records and archives management to both the public and private sectors.

In her response, the President, OMEP, Lagos Chapter, Mrs Sola Adenmosun thanked the DG for the warm reception accorded to the team and confirmed that the visit made to the Bureau was not in vain as they have learnt something new.

She assured the DG of spreading the news about the Bureau to other colleagues and promised to bring their pupils/students to the Bureau on excursion visits. She said that OMEP Nigeria is a nongovernmental organization which comprises of proprietress of private schools, lovers of children and early childhood education.

According to the National President, OMEP Nigeria, Mrs. Tokunbo Doherty, she thanked the State Government for establishing the Bureau to help the children in identifying with their history because some of our children can neither speak yoruba nor have knowledge about the State. She further requested the State Government to make it mandatory for Year 5 students of both the public and private secondary schools to visit the Bureau before they graduate.

Rounding off the visit, the team was led round the facilities such as the reference library, gallery, reading room, reprography and the mini museum.

KONSOL SCHOOLS VISIT LASRAB

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The Students from Konsol Schools (Primary & College), Egbeda as part of their activities for school excursion trip visited Lagos State Records and Archives Bureau (LASRAB) today.

The pupils/students numbering 51 were conducted round the facility by Officers of the Bureau to the Mini Museum, the Reference Library, the Search/Reading Room and the Gallery.
While making presentation to the pupils, the Director General, Mr. Biodun Onayele thanked the Proprietor of the School for choosing the Bureau as a place to visit. He enjoined the pupils/students to cultivate the habit of keeping and protecting their private records for future reference.

According to the Head, Records & Archives Department, Dr. Kolawole Oseni, he informed the pupils/students the importance of the establishment of the Bureau which is to regulate, preserve and disseminate to the general public accurate records of enduring value on Lagos State in a professional manner.