Ejinrin is one town that must not be waved aside in history, trade and commerce, including its importance as a confluence of human life and heritage of death.
Whatever might have prompted Ebenezer Obey, one of the greatest minds of the Yoruba race and very renowned Yoruba musician, to have brought to global attention Ejinrin town in his song, ” Boko kan o re Ejinrin egbegberun e a lo” (if a vehicle refuses to ply Ejinrin, thousands others will do) simply brought into fore the fact that God usually speaks and reveals His awesomeness to three principal persons – the artists, musicians and writers.
According to Ebenezer Obey in his song of the late 60s or early 70s, Ejinrin was a thriving town full of marketing, trade and commercial activities bringing vehicular transportation both on the land and sea but more especially on its vast waterways.
Ejinrin is a coastal town located in the Epe Local Government Area of Lagos State. It was once a slave port during the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and a thriving trade and commercial center when the activities of the Anti-Slavery Naval Squadron replaced the then-thriving slave trade with what the colonial masters and their business partners prided as the
” Legitimate Trade”.
My ever-burning desire to relate history with realities and my adventure into an academic research aspect of ” Postal History and Monuments in Nigeria” brought my encounters with Yomi Akinyeye, a professor of History in the Department of History and Strategic Studies, the University of Lagos, and Oba Babatunde Rafiu Ishola Balogun, the Elejinri of Ejinrin thus, an enriching reward of an admixture of history and monuments of history worth retaining as a heritage for national preservation and pride too.
Whereas Prof. Yomi Akinyeye related as an authentic academic trace of postal history in Nigeria way back un 1852 in Lagos as encapsulated. In his Master’s Thesis entitled ” History of Post and Telegraph in Nigeria 1852-1914″, His Royal Majesty, an amiable Kabiyesi, Oba Rafiu Babatunde Ishola Balogun, the Elejinrin of Ejinrin similarly prided but in the “Oldest Standing Post Office in Nigeria” alleging its trace to about 1857 as domiciled in his royal kingdom.
One funny thing about history was noted by a Swiss Historian who indicated thus, ” History is that great subject which is difficult to begin from the beginning”.
On the Post, Voltaire concludes its realities as they again relate to Ejinrin, once upon a thriving commercial town and trading slave and trade center.
According to him, ” The Post is that link connecting all affairs and all negotiations. By its means absent becomes present”.
If you doubt this submission of Voltaire, try an entrepreneurial voyage and see how the Post Office, the Patterns and Zochonis,(PZ ), the John Holt warehouses the A.B. C markets, and the Port anchor exhibit a beautiful layout of a well planned Central Business District that has weathered centuries past but still has glorious past and heritage to preserve and promote.
According to Elejinrin of Ejinrin, an Alumnus of the Posts and Telecommunications, the combined efforts of the Management of the Nigerian Postal Service and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments may help revamp the already dead spirit of appreciating the glorious past and bringing forward and promoting historical monuments as a national heritage for preservation.
Similarly, like prayer, may Almighty Allah bring back to life, at Ejinrin economic buoyancy, peace and tranquility to all Nigerians.
On our way out of Ejinrin township but still in its axis lays two important living reminders of events that you and I will die one day, anyhow and anywhere.
First, the refuse-infested alleged grave of Julius Berger, now à dump site of a man whose Julius Berger Road Construction Company like Biblical Moses has and is parting rivers, seas, lagoons, waterways, and lands so Nigerians can move and criss-cross safely and happily too.
Secondly, is the arcade, obelisks, or monument for over one hundred of some the most refined military officers of middle-level military cadres that met their untimely deaths in a plane crash a couple of decades ago during General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida’s era.
As a confluence of ironies, with lives in them, on-air the soldiers flew, inside the sea swamps the soldiers crashed and back to land Julius Berger a German Company helped Nigeria to intern the tattered bodies of her fine soldiers.
I remembered as if it were yesterday, my senior at Titcombe College Egbe, Taiwo Awoniyi, Femowe, and my very good friend at the 23 Armoured Brigade Bauchi Ismail Garba who died as a Major in the unfortunate crash thus nipping in the bud a glowing career.
In life and death, for better or for worse, Time will always relate us and our actions as stories in History.
Remember, time will tell.
**Mr. Olaniyi, a retired postman, is a public analyst and culture promoter