On saturday, my friend was getting married and it was in Lagos Island. Unfortunately for me and fortunately for you guys, it was raining, PDP was having a rally and the bridge was under construction. This meant I ended up spending 4 hours in traffic. It was while I sat down fuming that I realised I could see Lagos Island properly for the first time and take some pictures.
Lagos Island also known as Isale Eko (meaning down town Lagos) used to be home to the Brazilian Quarter who lived in Lagos. Alot of slaves who returned from Brazil settled down there and most of the families lived on Broad Street which is in Marina. It is part of the Lagos division and home to the Yoruba fishing village of Eko. From about the 16th to the 19th century, it was dominated by the Benin Kingdom.
Now, the original settlement which is the Northwest has become some sort of slum with narrow streets, poor housing and over crowding.
Lagos Island contains many of the largest markets in Lagos. It is also a central business district. Commerce, Education, administration, finance and a lot more can be found here. This is in the south western area of Lagos Island. The palace of the Oba of Lagos is also situated here, Iba Idungaran to be precise.
Although run down, Tinubu Square on Lagos Island is where the amalgamation ceremony took place of the North and South in 1914, and also where the first independence ceremony was held in 1960. This therefore makes it an important piece of history.
Now that we’ve read a brief history of Lagos Island, we can move on to the pictures that were taken. It was a rainy day so most pictures were taken from inside a car.
This the cathedral church of Christ Marina. It is the oldest Anglican Cathedral in the church of Nigeria. It also serves as the seat of the Bishop of Lagos and the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos.
Construction was started in 1924. The first foundation stone was laid by the then Prince of Wales and the building was completed in 1946.
How amazing is the building? The architecture type is Norman Gothic. You can’t go to Lagos Island without seeing it. Besides I like to think of it as Nigeria’s Big Ben. LOL
Like the picture shows, First bank has been around since 1894. I hear that in terms of assets, it is the country’s largest bank. It is also the country’s first indigenous bank. It was originally used by the British Shipping & trading agencies in Nigeria. It was founded by Alfred Lewis Jones. It’s history began with Bank of British West Africa. In 1957, its name was changed to bank of West Africa, and after our independence, they started extending more credit to indigenes of Nigeria. Later on it was acquired by Standard bank, and became standard bank of Nigeria. After a bit of scuffle with the Nigerian military government, in 1979, it was changed to First Bank of Nigeria.
This is the old CMS bookshop. It was established in 1869 and rebuilt in 1917. Possibly one of the oldest bookshops in the country. The new building is just a little further down on the opposite side of the road in the bookshop house.
The CMS bookshop was established by the Church Missionary Trust to source and distribute devotional service/religious books, stationary products and educational books. I am almost confident any book can be found here. Random, but once I was looking for a full blown map of Nigeria and I was referred there, and I’m pretty sure students still go there to look for books for school.
They also have branches in Osun, Kaduna and Oyo to name a few but I don’t know if they are still functional.
In front of the bookshop house is a statue of Herbert Macaulay. He is often referred to as the father of Nationalism in Nigeria. He is the grandson of Bishop Ajayi Crowther (the first African Bishop). Herbert Macaulay was a politician, an engineer, a journalist and most importantly a Nigerian Nationalist.
He started campaigning against the British colonisation after he moved back to the country which led him to establish the Nigeria National Democratic Party in 1923. They ended up winning all the seats to the legislative council.
In 1944, together with Nnamdi Azikiwe, the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC) was formed. This was to encourage Nigerians to fight for their independence.
Unfortunately he fell ill and died in Kano in 1946, therefore he couldn’t see the independence of the country he fought so hard for.
The Lagos city hall was the foremost seat of local government council administration in Nigeria. It recently got a facelift as it was burnt a few years ago.
This is found at the top of the building. ‘Eko Akete, Ile Ogbon’. This is written in the yoruba language and simply means ‘Lagos, the land of the smart’
This is found inside the city hall and is named after Alhaji Hassan Adisa Babatunde Fasinro. He is a lawyer, an Islamic leader, former president and vice president (at different times) of the Anwwar-Ul-Islam, former councillor of the Lagos state council and later on elected as a senator representing Lagos in the Nigerian Second Republic.
These are some of the places of interest that can be found on Lagos Island, nearly impossible to cover it all in one day, besides I was running late for a wedding. I did however decide to take pictures of people in their element, I mean what’s a place without the people and random buildings? Remember I said it was a rainy day so some pictures are blurred.
Street hawkers still going about their business in the rain. I have to say that gala has been saving people’s lives in traffic for as long as I can remember. It is basically sausage roll also known as pigs in blankets in the western world.
Lady hawking sardines
Girl selling stock fish
You have to admire Nigerians, always looking for a way to put food on their table despite their circumstances.
I keep on wondering how she balanced all that on her head and was still able to walk around normally.
‘Recharge card’ also known as airtime in other countries.
How cute is she? I used to do the same style she has on her head when I was younger. It’s called thread.
Bus transport popularly known as danfos. The driver in the first picture was just fed up with the traffic.
These are other types of buses used for transport.
‘Okada’ (motorcycles) is another form of transport in the country, people usually get on them when they are in a hurry as they are much faster. They have been banned by the government because they are dangerous and cause too many accidents, but you still see some of them around
Come rain or shine, Lagosians go about their business. No one really has the patience to wait around. It is seen as a waste of time.
A popular saying in Lagos is often found written on walls ‘Eko oni baje’ meaning ‘Lagos will not spoil’. Pay your taxes everyone. 🙂
I think the beauty of Lagos Island are all the random buildings and things which are just found scattered everywhere. Salvation army and a funeral home on the same street, what are the odds? The funeral home above is MIC. Some say it’s the best around. Sadly, the owner died in a plane crash last year.
Some PDP supporters walking in the rain to the rally. If this isn’t support/loyalty, I don’t know what is. Of course some of them were probably just touts and miscreants going to see what they could get from people there.
The pictures above reminds me that there are still good people in Lagos. In the first picture, a lady was driving and all of a sudden her car stopped and she was having issues. One of the guys in the subsequent pictures gets down in the rain and offers to help her, because honestly that was the worst place and time to have such an issue. Lo and behold the problem was rectified. When he got back into his car, I asked him and his friend to smile for a picture. They were clearly shy. There are still good folks here, despite our security challenges.
Non-Lagosians, this is what bumper to bumper traffic looks like. It can be one of the most frustrating things you will ever experience.
These buildings are in Apongbon. It is on the way to the island if you are coming from the mainland direction.
Lagos is surrounded by water. Lagos is actually Portuguese for lakes. Our proper name is ‘Eko’. So you see canoes, containers and ferries on your way to the island.
This man stopped at the window of my car to beg for money. This is common in Lagos and in Nigeria in general. It is sometimes hard to know who really needs it because crooks, 419ers and touts sometimes put up this front of needing money and end up causing trouble or using it for drugs and other irrelevant things.
Some other structures that are found in Lagos Island – UBA Bank head office, Conoil, Union Bank head office and St Nicholas House.
After this my phone died, so I went off to enjoy my wedding.
When I go back, I’ll be sure to enter as many buildings as I can and learn more about them. Did you know the first millionaire in Lagos lived on road street and his building is still there? No? Neither did I.
When you go to Lagos Island you can see the heavy influence of the colonial masters despite the place becoming run down. I do hope to go back there and explore it a bit more. But I advise that if you’re going there you take someone along. Area boys (touts) are a big issue here, but aside from that, its a place to visit. It has alot of history, and a lot of people in the older generation have fond memories of it, most of them started their careers in the many offices scattered around there.
This makes you wonder why the government has allowed the place to become as bad as it is, considering what it represents in the country.
So when you hear of Isale Eko, these pictures show a glimpse of it, and for the first time, I appreciated traffic because it allowed me see things I wouldn’t have noticed before.
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