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Just In

Da - Rocha: The Man, His Life And Times

Nigeria's first millionaire...

Mr. Candido Da Rocha was a native of Ilesha, from Idifi quarters. A slave returnee from Brazil, he returned to Nigeria in 1870 from Salvador Brazil, and quickly built a small fortune plying the lucrative South Atlantic trade route. Da Rocha was arguably the first Nigerian millionaire.

He was popularly known as “BaBa Olomi” and had his head office at Kakawa Street, Marina Lagos. He became a testament to the industrial will, that led to the establishment of the Iju Water Works, that served the entire Lagos in the 1920’s before it was taken over by the colonial administration.

Da Rocha laid pipes from Iju to Lagos Island, Yaba, Ebute-metta and other communities in Lagos where there were high demand for pipe borne water. He was selling to individuals until it was taken over by the Colonial Government, who was paying Da Rocha for the supply of water to Lagos and was thus a pioneer of private ownership of utilities in Nigeria.

He was so wealthy, that it was the popular saying in Yoruba- that, if you lure someone into spending money, the person would resist your trap by saying “do you think I am Da Rocha”. A rich man’s wealth is always comparable to that of Da Rocha –“he is as rich as Da Rocha”.

Da Rocha in his time was highly influential, his intervention during the scarcity of water in Lagos in the early 1920’s gave him the appellation of “BabaOlomi"

What will you be remembered for?
Can your accomplishments be an inhertance from from one generation to another, like that of Author Guiness, another generational example?

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