The Legend of How A Mystical Clay Plate Led Awori People to Lagos

– What
the name ‘Awori’ Literally Means
–         – The
Oduduwa connection
As a history student (there is nothing like graduate of
history as some people claim), I enjoy reading more about myths, legends and listening to oral tradition of great historical
and places across the globe.
Aside the entertainment angle, one tends to get more insight
as to how and why people from a particular region adapted quickly to evolution over time.
One of such myths has a lot to do with Lagos and its age long tradition of
commerce and culture.
I recently came across a historical classic from fellow
historian and Guardian Columnist, Abdu
, supposedly on how the Awori people found themselves in modern-day
Lagos, courtesy of a mystical plate.
I have heard the Biblical version of how a star led the Three Wise Men from the East to where the Messiah was born. 
legend looks more like it, but completely different.
“Is it not fascinating to read, for example, how Oduduwa the Yoruba eponymous ancestor
gave a burnt clay plate to a prince called Olofin
and instructed him to place it on a river, presumably Ogun
River, and follow it until it sank?
The plate stopped at various places and finally sank at
present Idumota. Olofin and his
followers were to settle where the plate sank. It first stopped at Olokomeji near present-day Abeokuta and
after 17 days it started moving until it again stopped at Oko-Ata.
When it moved it stopped once more at the southern fringes of
Abeokuta. A group led by Osho-Aro-Ologbo-Egan
decided they would go nowhere any more. But the plate had not given up and the
rest of the crowd still led by Olofin followed it until they got to Isheri. They waited there for nearly
one year.
The plate gave them the impression that they had reached
their destination having remained at Isheri for precisely 289 days and Olofin
had asked his followers to begin to construct their settlements. This was how the
Aworis got to settle at Isheri and all the places along the way. But then the
plate would not still sink at Isheri.
After the 289 days, it suddenly began to flow again until it
finally reached Idumota and after swirling round for some time it sank and the
Aworis from Ile-Ife derived their
name from “Awo ti ri,” meaning the plate has sunk!”

An historical account
of Abdu Rafiu, a Guardian Columnist on “History, the human anchor”
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