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Àrò Mẹ́ta: The Three White Cap Chiefs

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By Abraham Adekunle

The statue of the three chiefs carries deeper meaning in Èkó culture.

The Àrò Mẹ́ta or Àgbà Mẹ́ta statue (known as Welcome to Lagos) is an Art Deco statue of the three white-cap chiefs which is located in Lagos, Nigeria. Lagos is the largest city and former capital of Nigeria until 1991. Its history is robust, and its population has been estimated to be about 15 million people. Lagos was a Yoruba settlement of the Àwórì people which was initially called Oko (farm). The naming of the city dates back to the Portuguese merchants in the 15th century. The Portuguese explorer Rui de Sequeira visited the place in 1472 and named it “Lago de Curamo.” “Lagos” in Portuguese means “lakes.” Some have also claimed that it was named for Lagos in Portugal, a city and municipality along the Atlantic Ocean just like the one in Nigeria.

Some indigenes of Ìsàlẹ̀ Èkó (Lagos Island) have said that the three chiefs represent the three most important traditional white cap chieftaincies in Lagos known as Idejo, Akarigbere, and Ogalade. The Akarigbere are often referred to as the political leadership of the community and the “kingmakers.” The Idejo (also known as White Cap Chiefs) are a group of fishermen and descendants of some of the early land settlers. The Ogalade are the chief traditional, religious worshippers and spiritual custodian of the local gods.

Statue was built in 1991 and refurbished two times after.

Welcome to Lagos was designed by Biodun Shodeinde in 1991. Standing at over 12 feet high, the three sculpted chiefs were built under the administration of Colonel Raji Rasaki to welcome people coming to Lagos. It was initially placed at the Lagos-Ibadan Toll Gate. It was burnt in 2004 by people who insinuated that it was the cause of the regular occurrence of road accidents along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. On December 17, 2004, it was refurbished and moved to its present location in Epe. After it was burnt again in 2012 during the fuel subsidy protest, the Àrò Mẹ́ta statue was rehabilitated for the third time.

It was erected and placed on a high pedestal to welcome people into the city of Lagos. The statue portrays the image of the three chiefs in slightly different positions. They are wearing white wrappers tied across their right shoulder to enable them make gestures with the right hand predominantly. The dispositions of the chiefs depict the three kinds of traditional greetings in Ìsàlẹ̀ Èkó (Lagos Island).

Site carries deeper meaning in the culture of the Lagos people.

The right fist of each of the chiefs is clenched and raised above the left. Also, their wrappers have been intricately robed over their right shoulders to allow the gesture of the right arm. Their clenched right fists symbolize a strong supremacy of the right (hand) over the left (hand). Little wonder that the Yorùbá believe that almost all the hand gestures made must be with the right hand as using the left connotes disdain, disrespect and abomination.

For instance, as a young person, one must not give or receive something from an elder with the left hand because it is disrespectful. The Yorùbá also say that it is the bastard who describes his father’s house with the left hand. In the Yorùbá culture, the right hand signifies acceptance and respect, while the left hand is viewed with revulsion because it is often used to perform unsavory tasks and chores. The Àrò Mẹ́ta became more popular in the early 1990s when the Yorùbá Fuji superstar, Òbésèré, sang about it.

Star Lager builds 60-feet replica in Eko Atlantic City.

In 2018 after the One Lagos Fiesta, the Eko Atlantic City remained a center of attraction. Visitors and tourists still troop in to capture the Àrò Mẹ́ta statue, which was erected by Oracle Agency for Star Larger, one of the sponsors of the fiesta. The building of the 60-feet replica of the Àrò Mẹ́ta statue was made with over 10,000 crates of the lager beer. The CEO of Oracle Experience Limited said that what the agency has done is to bring life into the age-long belief of the three wise men.


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jdpumping
Member
1 year ago

Those are our three white statutes that welcomes everybody to Lagos and reminds us of our traditions always to always preserve and preserve our culture always.

Kazeem1
Kazeem1
Member
1 year ago

We should know that there is also the theory that it was named after Lagos, Portugal, which is a city and municipality located along the Atlantic Ocean and is quite similar to Lagos, which is located in Nigeria.

Adesanyaj72
Adesanyaj72
Member
1 year ago

The statue of ara Méta was rehabilitated for the third time after it was burned down for the second time in 2012 during the protest against the gasoline subsidy. me.

Abusi
Abusi
Member
1 year ago

History is a very beautiful thing. It helps us to know how to our background and where we hail from. The Aro meta is a beautiful statue that depicts the distinguished the 3 white cap chiefs.

Chibuzor
Chibuzor
Member
1 year ago

It stands tall on a plinth as a beacon for visitors visiting Lagos. The three chiefs are depicted on the statue in somewhat varying poses.

Taiwoo
Taiwoo
Member
1 year ago

They are dressed in white wraps that are tied across their right shoulder, which enables them to make most of their movements with their right hand.

Godsewill Ifeanyi
Godsewill Ifeanyi
Member
1 year ago

Considering showing disrespect to a senior member of the community by giving or receiving anything with one’s left hand is frowned upon in Yoruba culture, it is appropriate that this practice is observed.

Nwachukwu Kingsley
Nwachukwu Kingsley
Member
1 year ago

In Yorùbá culture, the right hand is a sign of welcome and respect. The left hand, on the other hand, is seen as disgusting because it is usually used for dirty tasks and activities.

Hassan Isa
Hassan Isa
Member
1 year ago

The study of history is a really wonderful thing because it teaches us about our past and about the place from which we originated.

Iyanu12345ogg
Iyanu12345ogg
Member
1 year ago

Aro meta speaks about culture and norms. History made to stay in Yoruba land. It practice should be embraced and encouraged

Last edited 1 year ago by Iyanu12345ogg
Tolaniiii
Tolaniiii
Member
1 year ago

The extended right hand is a symbol of hospitality and respect in Yorùbá culture. Conversely, the left hand is considered unclean because it is more commonly employed in soiled activities.

Christiana
Christiana
Member
1 year ago

White wraps are used, and are tied over the right shoulder, allowing the wearer to use their dominant hand for most activities.

Haykaylyon26
Member
1 year ago

Aro meta is a fine statutes that welcome people to Lagos and it part of history of Lagos state the statute stand as a memory and culture a Yoruba place

Bola12
Bola12
Member
1 year ago

Aro meta is a beautiful statue that welcomes visitors to Lagos and commemorates Yoruba culture.

Ultra0711
Ultra0711
Member
1 year ago

Wow I have not get to hear such details about the aro meta statue. It’s actually fascinating hearing how they were burnt down and revived all over again.

Adeolastan
Adeolastan
Member
1 year ago

The statue of the three chief cap is a very good initiative from the military incharge of Lagos then because it is point of reference for history to the younger generation and also serve as act of promoting of art materials.

Tonerol10
Tonerol10
Member
1 year ago

The three white cap chief status welcome people coming to Lagos. This represent culture and value in Lagos

SarahDiv
Member
1 year ago

The Aro Meta statue carries deep meaning about Lagos (Ẹkọ). It is the sum of what Lagos is made of.

DimOla
DimOla
Member
1 year ago

The Aro Meta statue representing the three Elders. It depict the whole history and origin of Lagos.

theApr
theApr
Member
1 year ago

History is an extremely lovely thing. Being aware of our origins and history is beneficial. A stunning statue called the Aro meta features the illustrious trio of white cap leaders.

Remi1
Remi1
Member
1 year ago

The military in command of Lagos took a great initiative with the statue of the three chiefs since it serves as a point of reference for history to the next generation and also serves to promote art supplies.