» » Opobo Island

 

Opobo Island

Author: nick on 24-08-2013, 16:00, views: 3 855

0

View of the river estuaryView of the river estuaryOpobo (Town/Island), the heart of King Jaja's short-lived but powerful commercial empire, was established after his flight from Bonny in 1869 at the site of small fishing-port islands, situated at the river estuary.

 

After securing his position through brotherhood pacts and intermarriages with the neighbouring Andoni, Ogoni, Ibibio (Kwa) and Igbo people, Jack Jaja Pepple, now King Jaja, took the title of Amachachi (Amanyanabo) i.e., Founder and Owner of the Town and proceeded to establish his will and name on the river. Commanding the approach routes to the richest hinterland markets and relying on the network of markets, trade colonies, agents and local middlemen, and on its close relationship with the Miller Brothers of Glasgow, the small city-state grew under Jaja's leadership into the most important Delta port after Bonny. Its swift flotilla of fifty war canoes, full of armed warriors and fitted with breach-loading Gattling guns, was a formidable force on the rivers. Long after Jaja's demise, the 15,000 Opobo Island inhabitants remained almost exclusively engaged in trade and owned houses at all important trading centres and canoe-landing beaches along the Imo and Qua Iboe River tributaries, returning to Opobo 3 to 4 times a year, mostly during the annual end-of-year festivities (Webber, 1927).

 

The small Opobo Island, known as Kilibiama to the Bonny, Okoloba to the Andoni and as Idoro to the neighbouring Ibibio settlement of Ikot Abasi, is seen across the river from Uta Ewa beach, lying serene and desolate on the water. Its narrow streets, twisting among traditional clay-sticks-and-zinc compounds, colonial storey houses and spectacular sky-rising buildings, shrines and canoe-sheds, competing for every free inch of soil, attract visitors from far and near.

 

View of Opobo TownView of Opobo TownKing Jaja's grand palace, an upstairs prefabricated wooden building, has long gone, but his large, 1917 brass statue specially ordered from Britain and erected opposite the compound gate, towers behind heavy metal railings and lined canons. The huge, 1878 brass bell hanging nearby in the centre of Opobo Town, which tolls on each New Year Day and in emergencies, transmits effectively the historical urgency of his reign. Family heirloom items: the symbolic Opobo manilla trees, faded photographs and antique furniture abound in the old family houses in a town, which prided itself on its overseas scholarships, war-canoe flotilla, brightly-coloured masquerade plays and the ability to provide a succession of imported iron buildings for its Anglican Church. Today, Opobo Town offers a curious mixture of traditional, antique, colonial and modern development, in which people, songs, dances and objects reflect the independent spirit and proud history of this unique island-monument.

 

Nearby is Epellama, the first Christian settlement in the area. It was established in 1873 by Bonny refugees, led by Chief Око Epelle, who, though one of Jaja's chiefs, being of foreign faith, was not trusted enough to be allowed to settle in Opobo Town itself. On the Strongface Creek is the old African Association site, known as the Venice Factory of the 1890's. It was rented by Henry Renny, the only independent trader on the river in the 1920's, and was later inherited by SCOA, which offered a stiff competition to the UAC conglomerate at Egwanga waterfront across the river (Swanston, 1920; Gibbons, 1934; Harcourt, 1944).

скачать dle 11.1смотреть фильмы бесплатно

Category: Ikot Abasi

Dear visitor, you are browsing our website as Guest.
We strongly recommend you to register and login to view hidden contents.
Information
Users of Guests are not allowed to comment this publication.