Adekunle AbdulLateef Alli is an octogenarian, a public historian, and a bibliophile. He was a member of the Nigerian Federal House of Representatives during the era of Alhaji Shehu Shagari (1979-83), the sixth president of Nigeria. Alli served on the science and technology and finance and appropriation committees in the National Assembly.
Although Alli studied accountancy at the City University of London from 1961 to 1964, he developed a passion for historical inquiry after he visited the British National Archives in 1962. Since then, Alli has tirelessly accumulated archival documents from the British National Archives, Church Missionary Society archives, Nigerian National Archives (Ibadan and Abeokuta), as well as Kenneth Dike Library at the University of Ibadan. He is not only a bibliophile, but also a self-trained historian, who continues to write on the socio-political and cultural histories of Lagos. He has self-published some of his sources as well as essays and lectures on Lagos. Few of his published works, British Naval Attack on Lagos in 1851 have been uploaded on Our Lagos History.
He served as the executive director and acting managing director (1986 to 1996) of Lagos News, founded by Lateef Jakande. He contributed articles in Eko Today and Island News from 2006 to 2012. His newspaper articles especially of biographies of personalities in Lagos are available on Our Lagos History. In 1996, Alli founded a historical consultancy agency, Akete Independent Communications, which produced television series entitled, “This is Lagos,” and published pamphlets on Lagos history.
Many organizations such as Association of Lagos Indigenes, National Union of Lagos State Students, Eko Heritage and Lagos Television News have awarded Alli for his untiring efforts towards the creation of new historical knowledge and development of cultures of Lagos. In 1981, Alli was honored with double chieftaincy titles, Otun Maiyegun and Baba Oja of Lagos by Late Oba Oyekan. In 2006, he was turbaned as the Otun Baba Adinni of Brazillian Olosun Mosque. Recently, he was conferred with another chieftaincy title in 2018 as Bobapitan of Oko Faji and awarded with the Personality of the Year Award by Lagos Studies Association. Alli continues to mentor young scholars and regularly publishes historical essays and materials on his Facebook page.
Olakunle Abdul-Rasheed Lawal was one of the pioneering history lecturers at Lagos State University (LASU), and a Professor of History at the University of Ibadan before his untimely death in 2013. Born on Lagos Island on May 9th 1959., Lawal attended Federal College of Arts and Science, Lagos before he proceeded to the prestigious University of Ibadan, where he obtained his bachelors (honors), masters, and doctoral degrees in History. He received his doctoral degree in 1991 and published his doctoral thesis as Britain and the Transfer of Power in Nigeria, 1945-1960 in 2001. Lawal was a J. William Fulbright Senior African Research Fellow in 1993 and authored sixty-seven articles and book-chapters including two self-authored books and three-edited volumes. His published and unpublished papers on citizenship and identity in Lagos are available on Our Lagos History.
Lawal served in many administrative capacities. He worked as the Dean of Faculty of Arts and Head of Department of History and International Studies at LASU. He was the director of LASU’s Office of Foreign Affairs and International Linkages and of Ford foundation/ Lagos State University Center for Development and Democratic Studies. From 2001 to 2003, He was Chairman of the Governing Council at Adeniran College of Education, Otto-Ijanikin. Later, he served a member of Nigerian National Council of Education from 2003 to 2006.
Alongside his duties as a professor and mentor, he was an active participant in socio-political activities in Lagos state since the 1990s. In 1991, he became the secretary of Diamond Group, a political group within the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the leading Populist Party in Lagos as well as Director of Ibile holdings, (Investment Company of Lagos State government). He was a member of Lagos state Productivity Committee from 1995 to 1999. He held the position of Secretary of Awori Leaders Forum from 1989 to 1996. He was a member of the Lagos state committee on the creation of additional local governments from 2001 to 2002. He later served as the Commissioner for Education from 2003 to 2006 and as Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in 2006. In 2007, he was governorship aspirant under the Action Congress of Nigeria and later a running mate to Jimi Agbaje, the governorship candidate of Democratic Party Alliance.