Culture and Traditions of Rivers State: Why we will continue to respect King Jaja of Opobo – Wike
By PHC Telegraph
Governor Nyesom Wike has advanced reasons why he has cultivated enormous respect for King Jaja, the Amanyanabo of Opobo.
The Governor who was speaking at the inauguration of the library, archives and museum built by the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers paid glowing tribute to its Chairman, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja (Jeki V).
Jeki V, Amanyanabo of Opobo, is a descendant of the famous warlord and King who after leaving Bonny founded Opobo Kingdom along the eastern estuary of the River Niger more than a hundred years ago.
Wike attributed the positive transformation that has taken place at the secretariat of the Council of Traditional Rulers, particularly the building of a befitting complex for natural rulers and the establishment of the library, archives and museum to the innovations that the King has brought to the table.
“Let me commend the chairman because we have had chairmen of traditional council before, but we never had a thing like this.
“That is why I always say to people, leadership is key. When you have a leader who knows what to do, and what to achieve, it’s very easy for him.
“It was under him that we built this secretariat and it is under him we are opening a library that will showcase the history of our people, who we are, the culture of our people.”
Governor Wike said the newly set up facility will help ensure that the cultural heritage of the various ethnic nationalities in the State is not lost.
He lauded the chairman of the Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council for initiating the project aimed at the preservation of the customs, practices, objects, artistic expressions, and values of people of the State.
What King Dandeson Douglas-Jaja (Jeki V) has done, Wike remarked, will be remembered by future generations.
According to him, the king has with great nobility, contributed to laying a foundation that would make the people of the State understand and remember their history and culture.
The governor expressed optimism that the library which is a rich repository of historically and culturally significant collections of the people of Rivers State will be of immense benefit to students of history and scholars across the world.
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (2nd right); Rivers State governor-elect, Sir Siminailayi Fubara (1st right), the Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani (1st left) and the chairman, Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council, King Dandeson Douglas-Jaja (Jeki V) and Amanyanabo of Opobo Kingdom (2nd left) at the inauguration of library, archive and museum of Traditional Rulers Council in Port Harcourt on Thursday.
“Part of the problems we have had is that most of our people don’t even know our history and that is the truth of the matter.
“Most of our people don’t even know our culture and so when you don’t have documentary evidence of this nature, it becomes difficult even for scholars and students who want to carry out research on a particular ethnic group or people of Niger Delta.
“I am sure students of history will find this interesting and supportive in their research work”, the Rivers strongman acknowledged.
Wike equally thanked the renowned historian and archologist, Emeritus Professor Ebiegberi Joe Alagoa for his contribution in setting up the library.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Charles. C. Amadi, said the setting up of the library, archive and museum is part of Governor Nyesom Wike’s achievement.
He said the facility will be of immense benefit to researchers and scholars that are interested in the rich cultural heritage of Rivers State.
King Dandeson Douglas-Jaja (Jeki V) who is also the Amanyanabo of Opobo Kingdom explained that the library will serve as a repository of ancient history.
He also explained that the facility would serve as a sanctuary for preserving ancient records and a home for showcasing archaeological finds that will enable present and future generations to see how Rivers people lived many centuries ago.
The King disclosed that the library contains relevant historical books pertaining to the kingdoms of Rivers State and those of other kingdoms in Nigeria.
He revealed that since the council started the test run of the library, two doctoral graduates, a Nigerian from Ahoada West and a Briton from Oxford University have used the facility.
As the Opobo King and Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers put it, “The archive houses references to documents that could be accessed from National Archives Enugu.
“We have in the archive also CDs of traditional dances such as the famous Okrika Odum, the Kalabari Owu Aru Sun festival and the Queen Elizabeth II visit to Port Harcourt in 1956.
“We are hoping to take custody of some of Dr. Adams Fiberesima’s symphonic works, like Ibini Ukbabi and Opu Jaja. We hope others who have documents they want to preserve will find our facility useful.
“The museum serves as a repository for the preservation of the pinnacles of our ancient civilization.
“We look forward to the day when these facilities will be put to use and render service to researchers and seekers of knowledge of our enviable history most of which have spanned many centuries.”
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