By Alan C. Burns

Lagos State wasn’t the capital of Nigeria for 99 years!

Non indigenes are usually unable to know the difference between Eko, Lagos, and Lagos State.

For comprehension, Eko, the domain in which Oba Rilwan Aremu Akiolu is the traditional head belongs to Aromire. It is the space from Obalende to Idumota (that is Lagos Island, Eko).

This is different from Lagos which starts from Victoria Island,  Lagos Mainland up to Jibowu, Apapa, Surulere up to Akangba. This was the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria created by the colonial masters, before Lagos State was created.

Lagos State on the other hand consists of the entire Lagos and its colonies of Badagry, Epe, Ikeja and Ikorodu which was normally under the old western region.

Lagos State was created on May 27, 1967 by virtue of State (Creation and Transitional Provisions) Decree №14 of 1967

If you calculate 1967 to 1991, that is about 24 years.

Lagos Island (Eko), is different from Lagos (colonial master capital), and Lagos colonial master capital) ,is different from Lagos State!

Oba of Lagos is also not the Oba of Lagos State!

The Eko narrative in Lagos State only applies to Obalende to Idumota, not Lagos State.

A lot of people are mixing the history of Lagos State up because they can’t differentiate between Eko, Lagos and Lagos State.

The Capital within Lagos state was just 27 square miles out of the 1381 square mile landmass of Lagos state today. The rest was completely under the administration of the Western Region.

Calabar was never the Capital of Nigeria or Lagos Colony/Southern Nigeria” after it was formed!

Lagos colony not “Lagos State” wasn’t part of Southern Nigeria until 28 February 1906, In this new region called Southern Nigeria, the old Lagos Colony became the part of Western Province with Capital in Lagos and the former Southern Nigerian Protectorate was split into a Central Province with capital at Warri and an Eastern Province with capital at Calabar.

Note: Lagos colony was in control of majority of the Yoruba South western part of the current country “Nigeria”.

After the Amalgamation of Southern and Northern protectorate in 1914, Lord Lugard made Lagos the Capital of Nigeria

Fact 1: Calabar was never the capital of Nigeria

Fact 2: Southern Nigeria had 3 Capitals in 1906

Fact 3: Calabar was never the Capital of “Lagos colony and Southern Nigeria” after it was formed!

The term ‘Eko’, which is the native name of Lagos Island, is a dialectical variant of the word ‘Oko’, as confirmed in a German journal from 1883. Oko, or Eko, in Yoruba language also means “Province”, “Dependent district or town”, according to Crowther. Only 27 area sq. mi was Federal capital territory.


A well-known name of the island till date among the indigenous people is: “EkoAromi-rẹ” — also sometimes punned as: “EkoAromi-sa”.

His “Koráme”/“Curamo” messy spelling (of the island’s local name) corresponds to no name else than Eko Aromi-rẹ which is the islands local name.

Per Lagos traditions, Aromirẹ is the Awori prince who pioneered its use as oko (farm). This oko (farm) thus became an ereko (a farmstead dependency) of the adjacent Ido island capital.

His “Lago de Koráme” is his Portuguese description of the waterbody surrounding this island.

His “Lago de Koráme” is “Lake of Eko Aromi” which, for short, is “Lake of eko” — his description of the water around the island.

He recorded this in 1472AD, and that is 100 years before the Edos/Binis immigrated to live on the island among the Yoruba autochthones.

This land of the Yoruba autochthones.

This Portuguese description is Lago de Koráme; also spelt Lago de Curamo.

This description first came from Ruy de Sequiera who explored the island area around the year 1472.

This piece of land (eko island) is of course surrounded by water.

He described this waterbody in relation to the island it surrounds.

Of course, this island has long had a name prior to his arrival and exploration. The locals till date still call it eko-Aromirẹ, i.e. Aromirẹ’s eko.

In summation; there exists a textual evidence that demonstrates that the island has had its name “eko” centuries before the Edo/Binis first immigrated here.

(b) Lagos traditions have been maintained for centuries that this island has had its name eko long before it got transformed..

This centuries-old tradition was captured into writing in the 1920s by A. Burns, a former Acting Governor of Nigeria. He collected & documented this tradition as follows:

“Formerly [prior to its name as “Lagos”] it was known as eko, which name it had received before any…colonial master.

Lago de Korame, this in English (partly translates to ‘Lake of Korame). Lake of Eko Aromi.

Koráme (also spelt: Curamo) thus corresponds to the local name of the island. He didn’t rename the island. From a mere farmstead dependency of Ìdó into having actual settlements of its own. Settlements were made on the island”.