Thursday 6 July 2023


Long time ago, before the presence of urbanization and the british bombardment of Lagos in 1851, the area known today as Ojuelegba was a forest and the consecrated site for the worship of Ẹ̀shù Elegbua also referred to as Légba among the Fon people of Benin Republic, Exu in Brazil, Echu-Elegua in Cuba, Papa Legba in Haiti and to some African-American as Papa La Bas.

Legba is the physical and spiritual guardian of the crossroads and the gatekeeper. He is usually placed in front of the gate or behind the door of a Ifa priest.

 He is also a trickster who acts as the intermediary between the spirit and physical world. As the only divine messenger of the heavens he is prayed to at the beginning and ending of every ceremony. He is the equivalent of Hermes in Greek mythology, Ganesha in Hinduism, Elegba in Yorubaland, and Eleggua in Santería.

Legba represents the part of our consciousness activated when we have to make a decision—in other words, when we are at a crossroads.

it was right under the present-day Ojuelegba bridge that the Aworis who were said to be the first inhabitants of this area used to worship láàlu ogiri òkò - the deity in charge of orderliness and the divine enforcer of natural and divine laws. 

The stone which was of lateritic earth with cowrie shells marking the eyes and mouth of Eshu which worshippers pour daily offerings to appease the god has now paved way for urbanization, the shrine has been moved several times before it was finally settled at its current location, a few steps (to the South) away from the present Ojuelegba roundabout. 

It has on it the inscription ‘Ojú-Ìbọ Elégba' from whence the town's name was coined Ojú-elégba  (meaning eyes of Elegba or the Shrine of Elegba).

In the 1970's, Ojuelegba became known for its boisterous night life, partly due to Fela's shrine which was first located at empire and also due to the fact that it is a vital connection point for travellers within the mainland connecting surrounding districts of Surulere, Yaba and Mushin. It also serves as the connecting link between the ever busy Apapa-Wharf shipping yard and Ikorodu and Agege motor road such that it became famous for its everyday gridlock due to the absence of traffic lights and traffic warden.

It was the subject of Fela's song - "confusion" (1975) in which he described Ojuelegba as crossroads at the centre of the town.

"For Ojuelegba, for Ojuelagba

Moto dey come from south

Moto dey come from north

Moto dey come east

Moto dey come from West

And policeman no dey for center

Na confusion be dat oo

Na confusion be dat oo"

Credit: Yoruba blog & ReVodution

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