THE GREAT MADAM EFUNROYE TINUBU -- (1805 - 1887)
Efunroye Tinubu was a king maker, Business tycoon and Slave Trader.
She is among the most Prominent/Powerful Yoruba women Born in Abeokuta (also known as Egbaland) in Yorubaland, Nigeria.
It is because of their hard work that they end up influential, Powerful and wealthy.
The 19th century business-woman Madam Efunroye Tinubu exemplifies this belief.
And the woman who would be make kings.
Not only did she have wealth, she was influential, a kingmaker and Owns so much lands.
Madam Tinubu Owns the Land were LUTH is:
She had many farmlands and plantations in Lagos. The land on with Lagos University Teaching Hospital was built was a part of Madam Tinubu’s estate.
Her vast kolanut plantation at Yaba was called Igbo-Obi ( Kolanut Plantation) and the school built on part of the 32 acres of land from her estate taken from this farm by the missionaries was called Igbobi college.
Tinubu Square in Lagos and surrounding lands were also a part of her estate.
And also many houses on mainland Lagos as well.
Though, She hails from Egbaland (Abeokuta), but became so powerful in Lagos.
Let's take a look at the life of this extraordinary Woman.
Her story starts in 1805 when she was born in the heart of Egbaland, Ojokodo.
Her father's name was Olumosa and her mother's name was Nijeede.
Her full name is Osuntinubu because it was believed she was gotten from the water goddess Osun.
Not too long, her first husband died.
As a widow and single mother, she took to business and was successful thanks to her grandmother and mother who were business women.
She married for the second time.
She married King Adele of Lagos who was in exile.
She moved-in with her new husband and her two Sons to a Coastal place called Agbadarigi (Badagry) in Lagos.
While at Badagry, Prince Adele was Temporarily recognized as ruler.
Fortune soon smiled on Madam Tinubu: her husband Prince Adele won the right to the throne and he became the Oba of Lagos.
She started dealing on arms and ammunition.
She also established a profitable trade in tobacco and salt.
Most importantly she became a slave trader.
By this time,the Slave Trading Business was a highly profitable venture. And as such, Madam Tinubu keyed into the Nefarious lucrative Business.
Madam Tinubu was Never again blessed with children, she invested her growing income in tobacco, Palm Oil and salt.
As a shrewd businesswoman, Madam Tinubu became the most important middleman in trade between Europeans and the Yorubaland interior by creating large trading networks.
Her portfolio included a near monopoly on many commodities traded in Lagos between Europeans and the natives.
She enjoyed monopoly on Commodities such as gold, spice, salt, tobacco, slaves, guns & ammunition.
As a trusted broker between two continents, Europeans gave her merchandise on credit for future barter exchange. This credit line was a major factor to her wealth.
As Queen of Lagos, She used her royal authority to solidify her business empire.
Ironically, Four (4) years after marrying Oba Adele and two years after he became king, Madam Tinubu became a widow again as the Lagos monarch passed away untimely.
Using her Power/Influence she helped install Adele's son Oluwole as the new Oba of Lagos.
She then Married for the third time, to Yesufu Bada who was Oluwole's Military adviser
The ammunition she got from selling slaves were used in the Yoruba wars of 1840s and 1850s.
Her business acumen in this area made her very rich and powerful.
This time around Madam Tinubu got her brother-in-law Akitoye to become king.
In return, he gave her important stores in a choice area of Lagos.
At this time Madam Tinubu had reached the Peak of her powers.
Although she was not from Lagos, she was seriously meddling in Lagos politics.
Due to her influence in Akintoye’s court, rumours abounded that Madam Tinubu was the real power behind the throne.
It was said she had 360 slaves of her own.
She also built a mighty residence for herself at this time to reflect her position in Lagos.
Her Exile Out off Lagos:
Her monopoly and control of power was broken in May of 1856 when she challenged the British Consul Benjamin Campbell.
His first move was to restrict the ‘iwofa’ system where a lender could use his son/daughter as collateral for a loan.
Tinubu escaped to her farm at Ebute Metta and later fled to her hometown at Egba.
She went back to Egba, her origin.
Madam Tinubu's business continued to flourish.
While at Abeokuta, she traded gunpowder, bullets and other firearms (she also traded in palm oil and food produced on her massive plantations).
King Gezo, the warrior king of Dahomey ascended the throne in a palace coup and rebelled against Oyo.
For over 100 years, Dahomey paid tribute to Oyo after the defeat of Dahomey by Alaafin Ojigi about 100 years earlier.
The Brave-Heart and nationalist who would later rise to the occasion was Madam Efunroye Tinubu.
She financed the war, built an arsenal in her courts, imported arms/ammunitions and enlisted soldiers in her payroll. Throughout the war, she fed the soldiers.
This was a title she was never given in Lagos.
Some believe it was While in Abeokuta that Madam Tinubu developed and adopted a staunchly anti-British stance.
She eventually stopped selling slaves to the Europeans, it seems,after she learnt of the ‘evils of transatlantic slavery’...
She fought European slave traders to liberate slaves in Lagos.
However there is No mention if Madam Tinubu liberated the slaves she owned when she became anti-imperialist
Monuments in her Honor:
Today, Madam Tinubu has several monuments dedicated to her, in Abeokuta, Lagos etc, such as;
- One Stands ‘in the town square named after her Ita Iyalode.
- The famous Tinubu Square in Lagos is named after her.