Oba of Lagos’ Palace - Iga Idunganran

The Oba of Lagos’s Palace is also known as Iga Idunganran. Since the 15th century, it has been the official residence of the Oba of Lagos. It was originally owned by Lagos Island’s first inhabitant, Chief Aromire, who hailed from Ile-Ife and initially used the land on which the palace now stands as a fishing post and pepper farm.

The origin of the land on which it is built informs its name. Iga, in the ancient Oyo/Ife Yoruba language, means royal home; Idun means land; while Igaran, means pepper. Hence, Iga Iduganran translates to mean the palace built on a pepper farm. The palace itself was built in 1670 for Oba Gabaro, the third Oba of Lagos by the Portuguese who brought in the building materials from their homeland. The palace was further rebuilt and commissioned on October 1, 1960 by the then Prime Minister of Nigeria, Tafawa Balewa. The palace underwent further modernization by the trio of Obas: Oba Adeniji Adele II, Oba Adeyinka Oyekan II and Oba Akiolu.

At his coronation in 2003, Oba Akiolu disclosed that the palace had 34 entrances. Outside the palace, there are three cannons from the Royal Navy ship Prometheus, which was docked off the Lagos coastline in 1861, when the British forced Oba Dosunmu to sign the Treaty of Cession. All the Obas of Lagos since Oba Akitoye, who died in 1853, have been buried at the Iga Iduganran palace grounds.