Lagos State is located 709 km south-west of Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja, and some 511.8 km east of Ghana’s capital city of Acrra. Lagos State is bounded to the north and west by Ogun State, to the south by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the west by the Republic of Benin.
Lagos State sits on area of 3,345 km². This means that Lagos State is the smallest state by area in Nigeria.
With a population of 9,113,605 as at the 2006 national population census however, Lagos State is the second largest state by population in Nigeria.
Lagos State has 20 local government areas out of the 774 local government areas that alongside the 36 states constitute the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Lagos State has a significant population of almost every ethnic group in the country. The indigenous population nonetheless comprises of the Awori, the Ijebu and the Ogu (or Egun).
The History Of Lagos
The Ancient History Of Lagos
Lagos Island, which is the epicenter of present Lagos State, is one of the oldest kingdoms on the West African Coast. Reportedly, Portuguese merchants who, because of geographical location of Lagos on the lagoon, gave the Island its name Lagos.
Lagos Island, to the indigenous population, is called EKO; a name whose origin is told in two well-known traditional but controversial accounts.
One version of the name relates to the advent of Awori, while the other is connected to Benin adventures in Lagos. What is fairly certain is that the Awori settlement in Lagos was earlier than that of the Bini which eventually subjugated the emergent settlement.
Written records insist that Olofin, the leader of the Awori at Iddo, divided Lagos among his children. Although many versions exist with regards to the number of children of Olofin, these children established various settlements within the Island and beyond.
Losi would want us believe that Aromire, as a son of Olofin left Iddo for Isale Eko, while his brothers settled in other areas of Lagos Island.
The sons of Olofin, who settled in different parts of Lagos, became the class of chiefs known till this day as Idejo.
Unlike, the Awori, the accounts of Benin relations with Lagos were fundamental to the evolution and eventual administration of the emergent settlement. A perusal of the various accounts suggests what could be described as hostility and accommodation.
After several failed attacks of the Island and later conquest, the Bini first encamped at Enu Owa but eventually moved to Idunganran, not far from their original settlement.
The Benin/Edo connection with Lagos had indelible implications for the governance of the emergent city state. As Kunle Lawal has shown, Benin undoubtedly established a monarchical system. Thus, the Obaship in Lagos became a centralized one akin to the system in Benin and Idunganran as the seat of government.
While Oba Ado and Oba Gabaro were busy with consolidating their foot holds on the Island, the business of building a central monarchical system in Lagos was the handiwork of Oba Akinsemoyin. It is important to recall that those who assisted Akinsemoyin in his administration became the class of chiefs known as Akarigbere. These chiefs were Bini dominated.
There were other two classes of chiefs: the Ogalade and the Abagbon. Not only was Akinsemoyin an architect of centralized government in Lagos, he was also good at trading and fostering relationships with Europeans, most especially the Portuguese.
Akinsemoyin would seem to have followed this line of action with a view to improving the position of Lagos vis-à-vis other coastal areas of West Africa.
Apart from that, Akinsemoyin was also reported to be enthusiastic about Lagos traders who were encouraged to travel to such areas as Badagry, Awori and Egbado areas to buy goods such as cloth, palm kernels, palm oil and other materials for exchange with gunpowder, tobacco and salt among Europeans on the Lagos Island. It is not an exaggeration to say that before the death of Akinsemoyin, Lagos had gained reputation as an Island that could yield benefit to European traders.
The History Of Lagos As A British Colony
On the 6th of August 1861, Lagos became a British Colony, following a seven-day standoff with the British Navy.
Earlier, Oba Dosumu and his Chiefs had been invited aboard the British Naval Steamer, the Prometheus. While there, Acting Consul. William McCoskry, told him that Her Majesty’s government had decided to occupy Lagos and gave him 48 hours grace to discuss with his Chiefs and sign a Deed of Cession.
On 1st August, McCoskry, Bedingfield (Commander of the Prometheus) and others visited the Oba for a response to their proposition. Dosumu refused to sign, and was less than nice to his visitors.
He accused them of being impostors and they in turn, advised him to reconsider.
Unknown to the Oba, the expatriate community and their African charges had been informed that he would cede Lagos.
Upon his refusal, McCoskry and others adopted a sign-or-we-destroy stance. Prometheus guns were pointed at Lagos Island, a forceful reminder of a bombardment that occurred much earlier in 1851, that caused panic amongst Lagos residents.
Initially, the Oba stalled, but two days later, Dosumu signed the papers whereupon the Prometheus fired a gun salute and the British flag was hoisted.
For about 40 years thereafter, the Colony of Lagos continued to evolve on its own and remained separate and insulated from other neighbouring territories.
The turn of the 20th Century precipitated the end of the insulation that the Colony of Lagos had hitherto enjoyed from neighbouring British territories, and on 16th February, 1906, the amalgamation of the Colony of Lagos with the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria became official, with the renaming of Lagos as Colony of Southern Nigeria under Letters of Patent. An Order in Council of the same date, demarcated the borders of Southern Nigeria from the Atlantic Ocean to the South, French territory to the West, the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria to the North and Northeast and German territory to the East.
In actual fact, the amalgamation process actually started two years earlier, with the appointment of Sir Walter Egerton as both Governor of Lagos and High Commissioner of the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria. The two administrations when fully amalgamated in 1906 became known as the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria with headquarters in Lagos City. For administration purposes, the territory of the former Colony of Lagos was now designated Western or Lagos Province of the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria.
The History Of Lagos As A State In Nigeria
Lagos State was created in 1967 by the regime of General Yakubu Gowon. It was one of the twelve states created following the dissolution of the four northern provinces created by the regime of General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi.
Before its creation on 27 May 1967, Lagos, which was the country’s capital had been administered directly by the Federal Government as a Federal Territory through the Federal Ministry of Lagos Affairs, while the Lagos City Council governed the city.
Towns in present day Lagos State like Ikeja, Agege, Mushin, Ikorodu, Epe and Badagry were then in the Western Region, which was one of the three regions of Nigeria till 1963, and one of the four regions from 1963 to 1966.
These towns were eventually captured to create Lagos State and its present twenty local government areas.
Lagos City played the dual role of being the Lagos State Capital and the Nigerian Capital until 1976, when the state capital was moved to Ikeja.
Lagos City remained the capital of Nigeria until 12 December 1991 when the seat of the Federal Government was formally relocated to Abuja.
Lagos State has however remained an important centre of commerce not only in the country but in the whole West African sub-region.
The ‘Future History’ Of Lagos
Since the 1970s, Lagos has witnessed some of the most rapid urban population growth the world has ever seen. Even after losing its status as Nigeria’s capital in 1990, its physical growth has remained unrivalled in Africa, swallowing several border communities of neighbouring states and even expanding into the Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. Alongside this journey into becoming a mega city and global hub have come several geographical changes and infrastructure projects that are changing the face of this city forever. Here is a look at some of the major changes and challenges that Lagos will be seeing in say, 2027.
Currently the only operational daily rail service in Lagos runs along the NRC’s narrow gauge line linking Lagos with Kano via a number of stops along the decades-old route. What this has meant is that the exploding volumes of passenger and cargo transport that come with increased population have been borne almost exclusively by the roads in Lagos. This is the reason for the permanent traffic logjam and poor road conditions around the city.
2 major rail lines under construction are set to change that within the next five years. The Lagos Light Rail Blue Line linking Okokomaiko with Marina and the Lagos – Ibadan Standard Gauge Railway are set to not only take substantial passenger and cargo volumes off the roads, but also affect everything from property valuations to future settlement patterns. The LLR Blue Line, which has been under construction since 2007 has reached an advanced stage of completion, with only the bridge linking Iddo to the Marina still under construction. After missing several construction deadlines, testing is tentatively set to begin late 2019, with the line opening to the public sometime in 2020.
This line will give commuters another way of reaching the Island CBD from the mainland, giving some much-needed relief to the only 3 existing Island-Mainland road links in Lagos. The construction is set to alter the physical appearance of Marina, Iddo and Ijora, with new bridges and road links to service the new train stops.
The Lagos – Ibadan SGR on the other hand, will give people an alternative to living in what is becoming an overcrowded city. Giving a throwback to when it was possible to live in Ibadan and commute to work in Lagos daily, the rail line will run at a maximum speed of 160km/h and also connect Abeokuta, once another popular commuter city. Preliminary construction work has begun, with the line projected to be completed by 2024.
Growth Of Satellite Town To Badagry Corridor
As the Blue Line inches toward completion, there is already a property speculation and development feeding frenzy underway along its Mainland route spanning Satellite Town to Okokomaiko, and even further beyond its last stop, up to the Seme international border in Badagry. The palpable excitement is because this corridor is set to become the first genuine commuter belt in Nigeria, and it still has a large stock of relatively cheap and undeveloped land available. The Lagos State government is also constructing a 10-lane highway concurrently and planning to integrate the bus and train stops with the overall LAMATA transport masterplan for Lagos. What this means in plain English is that in an area that is the last untouched area of Lagos State with lots of cheap land available, a world class transportation nexus is set to become active, bringing billions of Naira in property investment, trade, hospitality and infrastructure.
For one thing, unlike the sandy, soft, unsuitable land that most of Lekki is built on with attendant issues like unusable borehole water, the Badagry corridor is mostly made up of dry, packed land perfect for building permanent structures and conventional roads. The sheer size of the available area up for development is also mouth-watering for those in the property business, with several developers scrambling to lay their claim to parcels of land for housing estates, retail establishments and waterfront hospitality developments. By 2027, the urban sprawl of Lagos will have reached its physical border with Benin Republic.
Rents And Property Valuation Continue Upward Trend
Despite the uptick in property supply that the building boom sparked by new transport infrastructure will cause, rental and sales valuations for property in ‘decongesting’ areas will not decrease. One major reason for this is that said decongestion is likely to be marginal. Realistically, there will not be a great migration of people from high density accommodation in Yaba to new builds in Ojo, just because there is now a shiny new rail link from there to the Island. The people who will make the switch are likely to first of all be those who can afford to buy their own property, taking advantage of comparatively cheap initial house prices in the newly opened up areas.
These are not the people who cause the blight of congestion in Lagos because as a group, they are maybe 1.5% of the city’s total population. The vast majority of daily commuters in Lagos are struggling renters who do not have the wherewithal to immediately pick up sticks and move across the city.
In addition the way property valuation is carried out in Lagos is very heavy on speculation and hope, as against actual value.It is unlikely that a landlord in Okoko close to a Blue Line station will offer a 2-bedroom flat for N200,000 while an equivalent in Yaba costs N400,000. Over and above all this, there is the fact that an estimated 80 people migrate into Lagos every hour, so regardless of any uptick in supply, it is unlikely to overturn the market balance which is firmly weighted in favour of excess demand.
The only way property prices can ever come down in Lagos is through a government intervention to construct and market subsidized housing, which will cool the market down. In the absence of this, prices will only continue trending upward.
3rd Mainland Bridge Will Still Be The Main Artery Of Lagos
37 years after being opened in 1990, 3rd Mainland Bridge will still be the main link between Island and Mainland in 2027. Despite the Blue Line linking the Mainland to Marina, the majority of the vehicular traffic commuting across this bridge daily will not reduce significantly. This is because the vast majority of the vehicles making the commute are private vehicles conveying upwardly mobile people who will always prefer to make use of their own private transportation regardless. Perhaps there will be a slight reduction in the volume of public transport buses plying the route as those commuters use the rail service instead, but this will barely make a dent into the amount of vehicular traffic on 3rd Mainland.
Lagos as a whole was built around its roads, not giving much allowance for large scale rail transport unlike New York or London, so until the 4th Mainland Bridge is constructed, 3rd Mainland Bridge will continue to be the most important route for people moving around Lagos everyday. At present, the prognosis for the 4th Mainland Bridge does not look great, with the state government yet to close on a financing arrangement. Even the most optimistic estimates put the project construction duration at about 7 years. When you compare that with 3rd Mainland, which took 11 years to complete despite being less than half the length of the proposed bridge, it does not look great.
Eko Atlantic will Exist Completely Parallel To The Chaos Of Lagos
Nestled in a comfortable cul-de-sac the size of Victoria Island off the coast of Lagos, Eko Atlantic will continue to rise out of the sand, populated almost exclusively by the super-rich and expatriates. Home to most of West Africa’s finance industry and blue chip business establishments, the city will be by far the most exclusive part of Lagos, with entre heavily restricted and regulated. Even now at an early stage of completion, entry into the city is heavily restricted, with the area given special autonomous status by the state government, including its own law enforcement, utilities and building codes.
Critics have contended that the location of the city at the mouth of Ahmadu Bello Way will cause an interminable traffic jam of vehicles coming in and going out on what is already an extremely busy and small thoroughfare. What they do not reckon with is that Eko Atlantic is not being built to be a part of ‘Lagos’ at all, and its developers have been very upfront about this. There has even been talk of giving new residents a special orientation program to teach them how to live and behave within the city limits. It is built to function as a completely self-sustaining entity with its own schools, hospitals, leisure establishments, hotels and heliports. This is not a new suburb of Lagos, but a new city in its own right, which just happens to have geographical proximity to Lagos.
In summation, Lagos will look very much like it does now, hosting an even greater number of people and increased wealth concentration. It will also still suffer from an infrastructure deficit, with the main difference from today being an increased convergence of services like water, power and sewage treatment in the newer housing developments slowly springing up.
The Government Of Lagos
The Lagos State Government, like every other state government in Nigeria is made up of three arms: the executive arm, the legislative arm and the judicial arm. The executive arm of the Lagos State government is headed by an elected governor assisted by commissioners who the governor appoints to head the various ministries of the state government. The current executive governor of Lagos State is Akinwunmi Ambode.
The legislative arm of the Lagos State Government which convenes at the Lagos State House of Assembly in Ikeja is made up of 41 members elected by the people of the 41 state constituencies of Lagos State. The Lagos State House of Assembly is headed by a speaker who is the legislative head of the state government. The current speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly is Mudashiru Obasa.
The judicial arm of the Lagos State Government is headed by the Lagos State Chief Judge. The current Chief Judge of Lagos State is Justice Opeyemi Oke.
Zones In Lagos
Lagos state has a total of 20 local government areas grouped into 3 zones that are otherwise known as senatorial districts. The 3 senatorial districts of Lagos state are:
- Lagos Central
- Lagos East
- Lagos West
Lagos Central senatorial district has 5 local government areas. The 5 local government areas of Lagos Central senatorial district are:
Lagos East senatorial district has 5 local government areas. The 5 local government areas of Lagos East senatorial district are:
Lagos West senatorial district has 10 local government areas. The 10 local government areas of Lagos West senatorial district are:
The Population Of Lagos
The widely disputed result of the 2006 national population and housing census put the population of Lagos State at 9,113,605, with 4,719,125 males and 4,394,480 females.