Comments On The Book, ‘The Foundational History Of Kalio-Ama In The Okrika Kingdom” – By Sir E. D. Kalio
This is a book of 378 pages printed by Osia Digital Press and published this year, 2015. I congratulate the author for finding time to write it and the self-discipline in doing so. As the author himself noted in the introductory chapter of the book, “History, per se, like an ordinary story is easier told than written”. Otherwise, many people having the wish to do so would have done the same too. But no, wishes are not horses. As the saying goes, ‘if wishes were horses beggars would ride’. In any case, not all who mount horses have an easy ride.
- The author’s intention in writing the book, as clearly stated on its page 7, is, among others, the elimination of ignorance, falsehood and fraud existing in Kalio-Ama, probably over historical issues. But in reality, the book is basically an odd requiem for the disintegration of the Fuamakiri War-Canoe House as mentioned on pages 333 and 336, while its tone is undoubtedly ireful; and that appears to have been strongly provoked by successive leadership excesses within the war-canoe House as stated in the book.
In any case, the author should be reminded that, people who fly into a rage over serious issues always make a bad landing, while attempting to resolve them in that frame of mind. Sometimes too, truth suffers more by the heat of its defenders than from the argument of its opposers. And quite often, the sanctimony displayed through the condemnation of others turns out to be a mere mask for one’s own misdoings or faults.
- It will be pertinent at this stage to also point out that the methodology used is definitely deficient, in the sense that the author went beyond the scope of his work and the coverage of the bibliography on page 378. He delved into issues which he could not authenticate. In some cases, he was simply wrong or abstruse or went haywire completely.
- For instance, the author as an Okrika man, failed to use his fishing experience in writing a book of this nature. He should have known that the techniques of the fisherman casting net and those of the angler, using his hook, are not necessarily the same. He studied Literature-his Master’s degree being in Education, English and Literature. And so he set out to write this supposedly historical book under review, forsaking historical methodology, and rather resorted to the methods of writing fiction.
- Let me go straight to business by pointing out concrete examples in the text. The illustrated Oxford Dictionary describes a continental shelf as “an area of relatively shallow seabed between the shore of a continent and the deeper ocean”. Kalio-Ama, which is an island, is up a tributary of the Bonny River about 25 nautical miles from the Atlantic Ocean. And yet the author states on page 11 that it “has coastal front with a fairly deep continental shelf”. If one of the stated intentions is the elimination of ignorance, then such statements rather than eliminate ignorance in fact compound it. It is misleading. Geography is an important and to history and so should be exact in its own explanation of locations aid not to mislead.
- Facts are different from conjectures, or people’s imaginations. On p.19 of the book, the author states that “Kingoli was a core settler Primus interperus of the Ambeme biri area of Okrika”. ‘Primus interperus’ is printer’s devil, he meant to say ‘primus inter pares’, that means, ‘first among equals’. The word ‘core’ as used in the said statement is somehow abstruse. If however, ‘core settler’ was intended to indicate earliest settler, then definitely the statement is false. The earliest settlers in Ambeme Biri, just as others on the Okrika Island, settled there in the 13th Century AD. As the author himself correctly stated on p. 18 of the book, Kingoli migrated to Okrika in the 16th Century. In other words, Kingoli was in Okrika Island three centuries after it had been settled. So, he could not have been an equal of the earliest settlers, not to talk of being the first among them. The statement is therefore a complete falsehood.
6.1 In secondary school boarding houses, first year students who run errand for final year students are usually called ‘fags’. For a fag to claim that he was the primus inter pares when talking about his relationship with students that left the school about 10 to 20 years before his admission into the school, is to say the least, ridiculous.
The same is true of Kingoli in reference to Opuambe, Eleya and others who settled in Ambeme Biri, Okrika, 300 years before him (i.e from the 13th century to the 16th century). Kingoli was not their contemporary. It will surely be foolhardy to refer to him as their equal and even worse, to refer to him as the ‘primus’ amongst them.
- On p. 20 of the book the author states that the mother of King Ado the first, Ibiere (whom he called Ngeibiere) was married to Kingoli through the traditional “Opuwari Igwa” system. This is also completely false; and distorts Ado Royal family history. “Opuwari Igwa” by Okrika tradition, is usually contracted between a man and a woman from the same war-canoe House. Kingoli and Ibiere were, at no time ever, in the same war-canoe House. Besides, they were never married. As a young lady she was betrothed to Ibulubo, but before the marriage was to be contracted, she fell in love with Kingoli and became pregnant for him. In the ensuing troubles over the pregnancy, Ibiere was married neither to Kingoli whose child she carried nor to Ibulubo to whom she was betrothed. As a young lady, she made her mistake; but she came over it and settled down with Opu-Oropoyaolu to whom she was married and with whom she bore Olobiri her second son, the ancestor of the Ibanichuka war-canoe House. Both Ibiere and Opu-Oropoyaolu were members of the Eleya family that later became known as the Ado Royal War-canoe House.
- On p. 23 the book, the author referred to Ibulubo as Ibiere’s uncle. This is grossly false. At nowhere and at no time has the Ado Royal family ever mentioned Ibulubo as Ibiere’s uncle, not even in the 1962/63 Graham’s Commission of Inquiry. Her blood relations were Egberi and Fuku. And although Kingoli was the biological father of King Ado the first Amanyanabo of Okrika, in certain traditional circles, reference is made to Ibulubo as Ado’s father (albeit, foster father) and not his uncle or grand uncle.
- On p. 36 of the book the author asserted that “the ancestors and ancestresses of Kingoli-Fuamakiri House were among the foundational indigenes of Okrika Town”. It has already been explained in paragraph 6 above that the earliest settlers on Okrika Island did so in the 13th century. The progenitor of the Kingoli Fuamakiri House was Kingoli who migrated to Okrika in the 16th century AD as the author rightly indicated. So, the issue of “foundational indigenes” status assigned to the ancestors and ancestresses of the Kingoli-Fuamakiri House who came after 300 years of the foundation of Okrika Island, is a historical blunder.
- The author’s story of the amorous relationship between King Fibika (Ado V) and a certain priestess, Kiri, said to be daughter of Amba and grand daughter of Fuamakiri, is fabricated and totally untrue. The fact, however, is that King Fibika had a beautiful priestess, Aya by name and of the Oba family, as his mistress. She lived at the Egbelegbeya Island where she served/worshipped her deity, the water spirit, Egbelegbeya. King Fibika’s death in 1874 was alluded to have been caused by Egbelegbeya. In anger from the fetish belief, the Ado Royal family organized a raid of the island in order to destroy the shrine of the water spirit, Egbelegbeya. On reaching the Island however, some members of the Oba family living in that Island, raised a stiff resistance. In the ensuing fracas, the village was completely sacked and sequestrated by right of conquest. It was renamed Ogbo-piri, forest held in common or jointly owned; and then divided among the three chiefs of the Ado Royal family, namely, Inyanaboitamuno George, Abam (Dikisikiboka), and Ilalamaoku Ogan.
10.1 Thereafter, it was settled by the families of two out of the three chiefs that shared it. Today, there are two Ado House villages-Ogan Ama, and Dumo Ama (occupied by members of Chief George’s family). The unoccupied portion belonging to Chief Abam, was in recent years taken over by the Ogans.
10.2 Ibanichuka then a war veteran, who became King in 1876 was in the Ado Royal family contingent that ransacked the Egbelegbeya village in 1874. The event is well-known in the annals of both the Ado Royal family and the Oba family. The Ado Royal family confirmed the 1874Egbelegbeya Island episode. The Oba family confirmed it too. The author’s story is therefore nothing but a hoax.
- In furtherance of the false story above, the author stated an imaginary fight in Ambeme Biri in 1874 in which he claimed that the Ado Royal family was “woefully defeated” and that it was as a result of that fight that members of the Kingoli-Fuamakiri family left Okrika to found Kalio-Ama where they settled till this day. This is a barefaced lie. The Ado Royal family and the Kingoli-Fuamakiri House had never engaged in a fight. All the same, let us examine the circumstances critically.
(a) By 1874, the Ado Royal family was leading the Government of Okrika. Okrika was a sovereign state and not yet colonized by the British. So, the Ado Royal family with the reins of authority at that time had the military might and the hardware for war.
(b) In strategic man power requirement, the Kalio-Fuamakiri House was less than one-third of the Ado Royal family at that time.
(c) By the dates shown on p. 338 of the book, Obudibo was the Chief of Kingoli-Fuamakiri House whereas within the Royal family at the time, were Chiefs Inyanaboitamuno George, (the well-known Okrika General), Abam (Dikisikiboka), and Ilalamaoku Ogan.
(d) In wealth at the time in Okrika, the Kingoli-Fuamakini House could not be compared to the Ado Royal family. Chief Ilalamaoku Ogan was the wealthiest man in all of Okrika; and when he died, Chief Inyanaboitamuno George became the wealthiest. At least missionary sources confirmed this.
11.1 In manpower, military hardware, and wealth, the Ado Royal family was superior at the time, and constituted the government of Okrika. How then, could the Kingoli-Fuamakiri House “woefully defeat” the government of the day in Okrika? Why did they not take-over the rulership of Okrika at the time from the Ado Royal family?
11.2 Besides, from history in these parts, it is usually the defeated party that withdraws to settle elsewhere: (a) In the 18th century Nembe, it was Ogbodo who left Ogbolomabiri, crossed the river to establish his dynasty at Bassambiri, leaving Mingi in control at Ogbolomabiri.
(b) In 1869 Bonny, it was Jaja who left Bonny to found Opobo where he became Amanyanabo, leaving the victors behind in Bonny.
(c) In 1874, it was the Oba family members who deserted the Egbelegbeya village for the Ado Royal family which sequestrated it and settled on it till this day
(d) In 1892, it was the Somiari’s who left the ‘Iwoama’ for the Kalio to occupy it alone, and it is now called Kalio-Ama.
11.3 It is usually the victor who remains behind in a place after a duel. But according to the author on page 43 of the book, “the destructive incident was the immediate cause of majority of people of KingoliFuamakiri War-Canoe House to leave Okrika for another place of settlement”. In other words, it was not the so-called “woefully defeated” Ado Royal family that left Okrika for another place. Rather it was the so-called victorious Kingoli-Fuamakiri House members who ran away for dear life and did not take over the reins of the government of Okrika from the defeated Royal family. What a ludicrous story!! “Tell it to the marines — the sailors won’t believe it”
The author has to realize the fact that accuracy is a duty for any historian. The past which a historian studies and writes about is not a dead past, but a past which in some sense is still living in the present. For example, the Egbelegbeya Island sequestrated in 1874 from the Oba family members after a fight, is still in the hands of some Ado Royal family Houses. And of course, history acquires meaning and objectivity principally, when it establishes a coherent relation between the past, the present, and perhaps the future.
- On page 117 of the book the author described the exploits of Orumokpo; but in doing so, stated a so-called event that did not take place at all. He made reference to “the maritime War between Okrika and Bonny in the 18th Century”. Indeed, there was no war whatsoever between Okrika and Bonny in the 18th century. Rather, as mentioned in colonial records, both sides forged an alliance. Prof. K. O. Dike also mentioned it in his book. Then G. I. Jones in his book mentioned the Okrika attack on Elem-Kalabari, in the 18th century, bombarding it heavily with cannon fire. According to Dr. Kingta-Data Princewill, the Okrika attack was about 1745 during the reign of Amakiri the first. For Okrika, it was in the reign of King Boka (Ado
12.1 The 18th century saw two reigns in Okrika; that of King Boka (Ado III) as stated in paragraph 12 above, and that of King Nemiduko (Ado IV). During King Nemiduko’s era Okrika fought no war with Bonny but with Bille; and that was not even in the 18th century but early 19th century. There was no war between Okrika and Bonny in the 18th century. Okrika tradition does not mention any. Bonny tradition too does not mention any. Let the author tell the reading public how he got that bit of information and then stop writing propaganda which he has tried to embroider here and there with fictitious historical accounts.
- On page 135 of the book, the author unwittingly defamed the much revered late Amanyanabo of Okrika, King Ibanichuka (Ado VI). According to him, King Ibanichuka “was reported as being unjust, anti-Christian and inhuman in behavioural attitudes within and outside the Royal Palace”. For such serious allegations levelled against one of the greatest among Okrika’s rulers; the author owes both Okrikans and the reading public a duty to mention the report he referred to.
13.1 During King Ibanichuka’s reign, there were at least, three basic sources of information, namely, colonial sources, missionary sources, and records of traders. None of those sources referred to him as an unjust ruler. None of these sources referred to him as inhuman. Colonial sources even reported that King Ibanichuka wanted the education and progress of his people, and an all embracing peace with neighbouring states.
13.2 With respect to Christianity and the actions of King Ibanichuka, the author is so warped in his reasoning and has little regard for the facts of history. King Ibanichuka (Ado VI), Amanyanabo of Okrika, was not a Christian king. He practiced traditional religion all through. Even so, he was liberal, and he allowed Christianity to be established in his realm. The author failed to mention that it was King Ibanichuka with some of his chiefs, who concluded with Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther the Church Mission Agreement of 1881. In those parts of the country where traditional rulers did not welcome missionaries at the time, Christianity is still fighting a running battle for survival.
13.3 That King Ibanichuka was not anti-Christian, and in his days, he allowed freedom of religion just as it is today in the Nigerian Constitution, the author and the reading public should read the following Christian publications:
(a) The Establishment of the Niger Delta
Pastorate church.. .by Archdeacon D.C. Crowther published in 1907 — on page 106 the Amanyanabo was stated to have said “that everyone should be at liberty to embrace whatever religion he likes”.
(b) The church in the Niger Delta by E.M.T Epelle (LCP) published in 1955 — on page 30 it is stated that in August 1880, when Archdeacon D. C. Crowther led the missionary team to Okrika, King Ibanichuka, the Amanyanabo, “imposed no restrictions on his mission but rather declared the principle of religious toleration”.
Sir E.D. Kalio has no justifiable reason for his invectives on late King Ibanichuka (Ado VI) Amanyanabo of Okrika. I am not in a position to pontificate whether or not the writing of false history is moral or immoral or amoral.
- On page 137 of the book, the author made reference to chieftaincy wranglings, splitting of war-canoe Houses, political bickerings, monarchical rivalries and factionalism in Okrika; and in a derisive manner he gave such examples as “autonomous monarchical kingdoms such as ‘Opu-Ado’ without ‘Kala-Ado’, ‘Ogu Kingdom’, ‘Ogoloma Kingdom’, ‘Koni-Ama’. He then pontificated that “this seems like a fun that had brought a big shame to Okrika…”
14.1 Indeed, the author has, by such statement, flown a kite in the hope of receiving a loud ovation from his admirers. But I stand to tell him that discreet people never gorge themselves on vulgar applauses. On the part of the Ado Royal family, we will not shoot at his kite. We will not also advise him as Lady Macbeth advised her husband in Shakespeare’s book that bears his name: “to beguile the time, look like the time”. No. But we will caution him to realize that ‘discretion is the better part of valour’. Caution is the word — caution in speech, caution in writing, caution is an essential ingredient for those who handle the pen.
14.2 Although in Okrika we have come a long way, it is a pity that there are still some people among the elite who have lived through the earth-shaking events since 1952, that have not been basically modified in their outlook nor has there been any sobering effect on them. But they should know that it is not the events only that are in a flux, the elite themselves who monitor the events are in a flux. And indeed, the entire Kirike Se society is in a flux. Kirike Se can be compared to the human body. When there is a cut on the body and there is bleeding, you allow time for the blood to coagulate rather than inflict more cuts. Careless talk inflicts cuts on the society and can cause the bleeding to continue.
- On page 346, the author put down the entire Ado Royal family past kings of Okrika as part of the Genealogical Tree of the Kingoli Fuamakiri war-canoe House. The author’s action is tantamount to a defoliation of the Kirike/Eleya genealogical tree presented to the Graham Commission by the Ado Royal family in 1962/63. It may also mean, ipso facto, that the entire Ado Royal family is part of the genealogical Tree of the Kingoli-Fuamakiri House. Indeed, that is the height of deceit. What gave the idea to the author that Ado was the father of the entire Ado Royal family? The answer is capital ‘No’. While a few may be Ado’s descendants through his son Ojusa, and his grandson Inichinbia, most of them are his relations and children of his relations. How can you put such people in a Kingoli-Fuamakiri genealogical Tree?
15.1 Let us give the example of King Boka (Ado III) who was the son of Pereya, the son of Olobiri, the younger brother of King Ado. They were of the same mother but not of the same father. Kingoli was the biological father of King Ado whereas Opu-Oropoyaolu was the biological father of Olobiri.
15.2 Another example is King Dokube (Ado II) who was the son of another younger brother of King Ado. These facts about Dokube and Boka can be ascertained from paragraph 20 of the Memorandum submitted by the Ado Royal family to the Graham Commission of Inquiry in 1962/63.
The author should not disseminate false information about others he knows nothing about. Facts are sacred and should not be twisted to satisfy personal whims and caprices.
- Let me make an observation that does not concern the Ado Royal family but which I have to make because it is abstruse and the author went haywire completely. On page 338 of the book he placed Kingoli’s rule over the war-canoe House from X — 1769. In other words, one does not know when Kingoli really started the war-canoe House, but probably stopped being its chief or died in 1769.
16.1 On page 18, the author correctly stated that Kingoli migrated to Okrika in the 16th century A.D. His son Ado who became Amanyanabo of Okrika was born about 1555 AD and became Amanyanabo in 1605 vide page 374. From these we can now make the following eductions:
(a) If Kingoli was made chief of his own war-canoe House the year his son became Amanyanabo, then he was chief from 1605- 1769 i.e. a period of 164 years.
(b) Since King Ado died in 1651 (1650), then Kingoli died about 118 (119) years after the death of his son.
(c) Since his son, Ado, was born about 1555 AD and if he Kingoli was about 40 years of age when he had his son, then he himself might have been born in about 1515 AD. That also means that he became chief when he was already 90 years old 1515-1605. And since the author stated on page 338 that he stopped being a chief or died in 1769, it means he lived from 1515 to 1769, a period of 254 years. Wa-o!!
- With respect to Fuamakiri, page 338 of the book indicated that he was chief of the war-canoe House from 1770-1827, i.e a period of 57 years. But let us also make the following deductions.
(a) On the table on page 342, Fuamakiri was placed above King Ado, and next to Kingoli. That means that he was Ado’s elder. If he was about 5 years older than Ado, and since Ado was born about 1555, that means Fuamakiri was born about 1550 A.D.
(b) As indicated on page 338, Fuamakiri became chief from 1770. That means he became the chief of the war-canoe House when he was 220 years of age i.e from 1550-1770.
(C) And since he stopped being a chief or died in 1827 as shown on page 338, that means Fuamakiri died 176 (177 years) after the death of king Ado I, and that he died at the age of 277 years. Wa-o!!
(d) If we continue the calculations down the line, the more we will find out the author’s assertions to be rather outrageous and dubious.
These are facts and figures; no doubts whatsoever. “He who doubts from what he sees will ne’er believe, do what you please”.
- Let me also point out the fact that the author applied the Nazi policy (and in recent years, the Biafran policy) of repeating a false story with the hope that it will eventually be accepted as fact by the reading public. The following are a few examples of false stories repeated:
(a) The falsehood of Kingoli being one of the earliest settlers in Ambeme Biri and Okrika, was stated on pages 19 & 36.
(b) The falsehood of a traditional marriage between Kingoli and Ado’s mother was stated on pages 20, 24 & 37.
(c) The falsehood about a fight between the Ado Royal family and Kingoli-Fuamakiri House was stated on pages 42, 43 & 78.
(d) The falsehood of a marriage between King Fibika (Ado V) and a priestess, Kiri, was stated on pages 42 & 127.
Oh! What abominable lies!! But let me end this paragraph with a quotation from the Holy Bible:
“God in his mercy has given us this work to do,
And so we do not become discouraged.
We put aside all secret and shameful deeds
We do not act with deceit,
Nor do we falsify….” (2nd Corinthians 4: 1 & 2 Good News Bible)
- There were false claims made by the author to parcels of land owned by some families of the Ado House. Since the land matters are subjudice, I shall make no comment on them.
- Finally, I congratulate the author once again, but this time, for including in his book the photographs of some beautiful buildings with flamboyant architectural details. Their presence in the book has aesthetic value and produces a tonic effect on the sensibilities of readers of the book over the inability or unwillingness on the part of the author to state the historical facts on certain issues which I have tried to point out. One can also describe it as a comic relief from the tedium in reading the book for which the author might purposely have inserted them.