Almost people of all Nigerian ethnic groups are found in Lagos State. These ethnic groups range from the usual suspects like the Yoruba, the Igbo, and the Hausa, to the not-so-famous ones like the Eggon, the Obanliku, the Dukawa, and the Afizere.
Lagos State is also home to several foreign ethnicities. Foreign ethnicities in Lagos State include the Han, the Malay, the Zulu, and the Mandiba among several others.
Debates over the indigenous ethnic composition of Lagos have however been raging in recent times. Different groups and individuals have been making bold claims and counter-claims, the most prominent being that by Oba of Lagos himself in which he set the record straight on the ownership question that has been hanging on Lagos’ neck.
I did my own little research, and I hereby table my findings. Below are the indigenous tribes in Lagos State, their history, their culture, and which area of Lagos State they are indigenous to.
The Awori constitute the bulk of the indigenous population of sixteen out of the twenty local government areas of Lagos State, the exceptions being Epe, Ikorodu, Badagry, and Ibeju Lekki local government areas.
Legend has it that Prince Olofin, the ancestor of Awori and his followers left the palace of his father, King Oduduwa in Ile-Ife and migrated southward along a river.
King Oduduwa had given Olofin a mud plate, instructing him to place it on the water and follow it until it sank. It was in Idumota in Central Lagos that the mud plate sank.
Prince Olofin, however, did not return to Ile-Ife after the mud plate sank. He and his followers rather settled in the area now known as Lagos, and it’s their descendants that form the bulk of the people now known as the Awori.
Most Aworis profess to be either Christians or Muslims, however, they hold on to traditional religious practices in private.
The Ijebu people of Lagos are found in Epe, Ikorodu and Ibeju Lekki local government areas. Traditions of the account of origin link them to the old Ijebu kingdom in Ijebu Ode and Iremo Quarters in Ile-Ife.
Most of the Ijebu settlements in Lagos State were established during the era of the trans-Atlantic slave trade especially in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, Ijebu settlements in Lagos State, just like those of the Awori and the Ogu were not founded at the same time nor by the same person. For instance, while the Ijebu in Epe continue to remember Hurakaloye as their founder, those in Ikorodu cannot forget Oga and Lasunwon. The Ijebu people of Ibeju Lekki on the other hand fondly celebrate Abeju Agbeduwa.
The Ijebu are very enterprising people who are self-reliant and innovative. By the middle of the 19th century, they have become very prosperous not only in terms of understanding the dynamics of the emerging modern facilities, but also in terms of building physical and social infrastructures.
In recent times, there have been calls for the Ijebu region of Lagos State to be rejoined to the old Ijebu kingdom in Ogun State for the purpose of creating an Ijebu State.
The Ogu, popularly referred to as the Egun are another of the indigenous tribes in Lagos State. They account for around fifteen percent of the state’s indigenous population.
History has it that the Ogu are a descendant of those who migrated from Whydah, Allada and Weme which are now all part of the Republic of Benin as a result of persistent violence in those areas in the 18th century.
The Ogu are majorly found in Badagry, and also in the Yewa region of Ogun State.
The Ogu language has varieties of dialects including Thevi, Xwela, Seto, and Toli.
As they live in an area surrounded by water, the Ogu are mostly into fishing, coconut processing and salt production. Some Ogu are however also into trading and farming.
The Ogu are a largely Christian tribe.