Taiwo Olowo Monument

Hannah and Beyond
Oct 9, 2017 · 3 min read

This monument was built to immortalize the memory and achievements of Chief Daniel Conrad Taiwo, who died in 1901. Located on Broad Street and close to Mandilas House and the Continental House in Lagos, this huge memorial has become a facility where people could hold official functions and other social events during festive periods. It is one of the longest surviving landmarks in Lagos and tourists are welcome to snap photographs after obtaining necessary permissions for this.

BRIEF STORY ON TAIWO OLOWO

Oloye Daniel Conrad Taiwo (1781 — February 20, 1901) alias Taiwo Olowo (translated “Taiwo the Rich”), was a highly successful trader, arms dealer, slave owner, political power broker, philanthropist and community leader in colonial la.

By the 1840s, Taiwo had become a protege of Kosoko, Oba Osinlokun’s son. Kosoko reigned as Oba of Lagos from 1845 to 1851 and expectedly Taiwo, leveraged his closeness to Kosoko for mercantile gain, establishing partnerships with European and Brazilian merchants. While it is unclear whether Taiwo fled with Kosoko to Epe after the British Reduction of Lagos in December 1851, bringing about the installation of Oba Akitoye, what is known is that colonial Governor Freemen invited Kosoko back to Lagos in 1862 and Taiwo built a mutually beneficial relationship between Freeman’s administration and successive ones.

In 1863, Kosoko introduced Taiwo to Governor Glover,who took a liking to Taiwo and encouraged Taiwo to pursue trading. Governor Glover then established a political partnership that put Taiwo on the path to become one of the wealthiest and powerful men in Lagos. Glover introduced Taiwo to the firm of Messrs G.L. Gaiser who became Taiwo’s main trading partner and assisted Taiwo in the collection of debts owed Taiwo by Egba traders. Governor Glover also empowered Taiwo as a Baba Isale of Isheri. In his capacity as Baba Isale, Taiwo was a patron and representative of the Isheri people. In return, Taiwo enjoyed monopolistic privileges over all others in access to Isheri trade routes and markets.

In an 1865 letter to Colonel Ord, a British colonial official, Taiwo and other Lagosian merchants wrote that they had been “born slaves” and had “risen by [their] energies” to become successful slave owners, planters, canoe owners, and traders. The historian Kristin Mann notes that the exact dates of Taiwo Olowo’s redefinition as a merchant and man mission from slavery are unknown.

Taiwo was baptized in the late 1870s at the Holy Trinity Church in Ebute Ero, taking the name Daniel Conrad Taiwo. Taiwo also served as an emissary of the British colonial government in Lagos and was ambassador to the court of the King of Porto Novo.

Taiwo and other former slaves contributed generously to the establishment of the first native pastorate church in Lagos (Holy Trinity Church). Taiwo was a benefactor CMS Grammar School Lagos, contributing £5 0 to the CMS Building Fund in 1867.

Taiwo Olowo died in on February 20, 1901 at age 120.Bishop James Johnson officiated his funeral.The Taiwo Olowo cenotaph was erected over his tomb by the Brazilian-Lagosian master builder Senhor Jin 1905. Its plaques were said to have been forged from the melting of hundreds of copper pennies.

His family house is still located across the street from the monument, and still belongs to his descendants. Its name, Iga Taiwo Olowo, literally translates to “Palace of Taiwo the Rich Man”.

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