A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and former Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Olasupo Shasore, has canvassed for a special status to be accorded to Lagos, owing to its importance and uniqueness in the history of Nigeria.
Shasore made this call in Lagos, during a media briefing ahead of the public presentation and launch of his new book; POSSESSED: A History of Law and Justice in the Crown Colony of Lagos: 1861 – 1906.
Arguing that Lagos played, and still plays a very significant and unique role in the evolution of Nigeria, the former commissioner said ‘’The recognition to be given Lagos is because of its uniqueness, which it doesn’t share with any part of Nigeria. It is the truth that there had to be a colony in Lagos before there could be a colony in Nigeria.’’
He noted that it is very important to emphasise the outstanding and special status of Lagos in order to put into proper context ‘’Where we are coming from, where we are now and where we are going,’’ adding that history puts human experience in context and allows us understand ourselves as a people and culture; and helps people understand past triumphs and tragedies, so as to fashion out a way to succeed where others have failed.’’
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, in his bid to outline the uniqueness of Lagos, pointed out that, during the colonial era, ‘’There were people from all walks of life, from all parts of the West Coast of Africa, living in the colony of Lagos, who proudly referred to themselves as Lagos-Africans, which forged a great sense of unity and communion and de-emphasised ethnicity into a much larger picture, thereby giving them the force to survive, and ultimately defeat colonialism.’’
According to him, one of the reasons he wrote the book is to highlight the true strength and position of the former federal capital in the history of Nigeria, and also to use it galvanise people to recognise, and emulate the gift that Lagos will always offer to the existence of the country.
Explaining why he wrote the book, which foreword was written by Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, from a legal perspective, the former commissioner said ‘’I have chosen law and justice for obvious reasons; largely to do with my principal vocation as a lawyer. I am privileged to be able to write on history and law, subjects for which I have considerable curiosity and passion; but which is by no means intended to be a comprehensive history of Lagos.
“It is merely an account through records of the interplay between pride and prejudice, power, liberty and the struggle for the independent development of Lagos.’’
When asked what readers should expect in the book, Shasore stated ‘’In this book, I have tried to employ narrative history for several reasons, not the least being the desire to tell the story from recorded fact, to avoid interpretative ambiguity.’’
He added, however, that he expects a flurry of critical responses, analysis, counter-claims and outright rejection from interested parties, and readers.