BY CHIEF YOUNG OBENE CLARKE GEORGEWILL DATED 4TH SEPTEMBER, 2015.
Angulama Community which was the most ancient town in the present Kalabari kingdom, followed by Ke community. Minus these communities, all other cities, towns and villages immigrated from one place or the other to the present place which constituted the Kalabaris, otherwise called, the Kalahari kingdom that spreads into 3 LGAs viz: Asari-Toru, Akuku-Toru and Degema.
The 3 biggest cities, Buguma, Abonnema and Bakana were one entity who immigrated from the Benin kingdom in the present Edo State in the 16th century as they were then speaking the Edo language unarguable or deniable likewise all the rest immigrants have their respective languages too. The only communities that were in these areas of the present 3 LGAs were: Angulama in the North and Ke in the South who were speaking the Kalabari language that compelled the immigrants changed their languages
to the incumbent language owners of the Angulama and Ke people. Though Bukuma (Agum), Udekema, Isoku and Bille have their languages and hear the Kalabari language and can speak it but in pretence speak their languages even now. Apart from Ke, Soku, Abbisa, Kula, Ifoko, Bille, Okpo, Isoku and Ido, all other communities including Buguma, Abonnema and Bakana which were originally a single community as they came down from the said Benin kingdom and settled at Elemuama-very close to the Atlantic ocean in the New Calabar River after their gradual split in .1881, 1882 and 1884 followed respectively, adopted their communities names by ending it at ma and na including the colonial masters named ma for Degema Headquarters respectively too to endorsed the Angulama suffix ma as they moved Northwards, except Oproma community who still retained its name from Opuroama community in the present Bayelsa State where they came from. Ke and Bille who stayed behind. Their communities names ended with ma or na was not by force by the Angulama people but it was an act of God which made them to end the name ma and na for Angulama being the original owners of their new settled places when there were no other human beings but later came first by the Bukuma (Agum) people.
No doubt, the present language of Kalabari was adopted through Angulama being original spoken language which Providence made it so to the Angulama people forcing them not. The Abaniye Ziga of Bille inversion of gorilla war reduced Angulama population in the old against 7 autonomous communities which spreads across from Omekwe-Tariama to Krakrama on the present Angulama/Krakrama highway of 18.5k/m, the longest land in the whole of the 3 Kalabari LGAs.
Many Kalabari communities especially Buguma, Abonnema and Bakana claimed all good things to themselves and hide certain historical facts but the truth is that; the language being spoken by all Kalabaris today was the language spoken by the Angulama and Ke people. But faulty Historians would rise up after this publication to state their unfounded claims against this true story. Yet, Nature is the witness of all as there was no Western education to have recorded events of ownership for Anuglama people in the old in black and white more especially Angulama who started to benefit Western education from 1946.
SOCIO-CULTURAL/TRADITION OF KALABARI
Minus Angulama and Ke, the rest immigrated communities from their original settlements, the socio-cultural/tradition of them differs until King Amachree “1”, the founding father of the present Kalabari kingdom whose amalgamation at the close of the 17th century against enemies attacks was adopted as a unified force. But today it had spread a common socio-cultural/tradition of the entire Kalabari kingdom in most important areas e.g:
- The Ekine-Sekiapu; its traditional owners were: Angulama and Ke, but it is today spreads across to nearly most important communities in Kalabari lands;
- The chieftaincy institution as a culture was introduced by King Amachree “1” before Buguma, Abonnema and Bakana splited in 1881, 1882 and 1884 respectively;
- Likewise the traditional culture of “Iya” (marriage) which is today the most expensive in all the marriages across the length and breadth of Nigeria was also introduced by the same King Amachree “1” and the entire communities in all Kalabari lands, adopted it in its marriage culture too;
- The Ira (a woman after delivery to a baby boy or girl in the fatling room) is a traditional culture in all Kalabari lands and no one can claim to be the initiator in this respect;
- The Bibife (Buying of mouth) in a marriage is the same at clause 3 above;
- To mention a few, the foregoing cultures spread across the Kalabari people, while tradition differs according to the holistic beliefs in each of the communities in the Kalabari land;
- Finally, we have the greatest of it all as mentioned above who is Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ introduction of Christianity 2000 years ago has now been the most sociocultural/tradition of the Kalabari people and in all lands in the globe.
Written and submitted by Chief Y.O.C.Georgewill and his brother in 1975 Rivers State Chieftaincy Inquiry of Professors Tekena Tamuno and Alagoa, respectively.
HOW DA-OMEKWE LINKED WITH ANGULAMA
The father of the HERO DA-OMEKWE named Dokubo, had several births in Elemuama (Old Shipping) and all died at premature ages. In those days when Christianity was not known, the then people believed on deities as their gods and consult oracles from time after time. In one of the consultations, Dokubo himself was told that unless he finds a place called Angulama where there was a powerful deity, he should go there and promise to that deity that if in the event, his wife have an issue, that child might not die premature again after delivery and mature up to manhood, for him to appease it in return.
So, Dokubo set out his journey and sought to trace Angulama which was not easy then to reach until he managed to land it. Fortunately to him, the oracle (kalafeni) itself was on a science prove stage. He welcomed him immediately and told him how his mission was and how he suffered to trace out the place called Angulama, that he should not bother himself any longer but very soon his wife would be placed in an expectant condition again, and at the end of the nine months, she will born a male child. This male child will be a great man and when he grew up a little, he should come back and appease the deities. And later, inform him regularly that Angulama should be part of his second home and he should not disregard it -whatever condition of his life. Dokubo was very pleased and assured the oracle the commitment to do so in fulfilment of his journey if it happened in that way.
Fortunately, the wife got conceived as he went home and knew her again, and by the 9th month, gave birth of the child, DA-OMEKWE, been a bounced Baby Boy then. Thanks to the Supreme father who created the heavens and the earth and all things therein. Dokubo did not forget his pledge and when DA-OMEKWE grew up a beat, he came to Angulama and appeased the deities as he promised and as directed by the oracle (kalafeni).
When DA-OMEKWE reached manhood and attained the HONOUR OF AN HERO, he spent greater part of his energy and wealth and assisted Angulama as a true citizen in the following ways
- He safeguarded Angulama. He took the permission from the then King Okun Berena Pere II for allocation of lands in the South and in the North of Angulama to establish communities to protect Angulama in case of outside aggressors. This was granted on the spot by King Okun. DA-OMEKWE without hesitation, brought persons to the said South of ANGULAMA and called by Him, Orukalama (now Omekwe-Tariama) and to the North Omekweama respectively mainly also again for food productions for Angulama people not to suffered or lacked food in commercial quantities.
- The deities unchanging Gold Spoon was provided by him for use by the King and the Priest. It is over one and a half century old and is being used to this day without any crack or stain by the deities celebrants;
- All the above mentioned areas were not enough for him and being a Great Hero with Excellent Wisdom and Foresighted, he requested from King Okun Berena Pere II to permit him to find ways and means to dialogue with the deities because human beings were used for sacrifice at that time as to change this system for either Dog or Ram animals instead. This was because, a time shall come when human beings could be difficult to get to appease these deities. King Okun immediately approved for him to do so. Then, DA-OMEKWE consulted oracles from far and near, and the deities succumbed to his plans and was today saved from human beings sacrifice to these deities as some people are still adopting such primitive system by appeasing their deities;
- He wanted to create and establish chieftaincy institution for the Community to grow much further, but this was turned down by the people. Many people thought he founded Angulama like Omekwe-Tariama and Omekweama but this was not true. Angulama had been existing many centuries ago before his birth as the record showed. But DA-OMEKWE was a complete citizen as everyone of us who claims Angulama to be his or her home.
In 1964 an ugly incident happened in Angulama. Late Chief N.B. Wokoma Horsfall hired a big ferry boat, collected a good number of agiled Youths. One of them was easily remembered was a popular person at that time, and his named was Jim Danger. This man was included in the trip also and they landed Angulama and moved straight to King Dabibi Berena Pere IV palace and disclosed to the King that he and the combat followers mission was to collect A.L.C. (assumed local Contribution) from Angulama people to maintain the compound called Omekwe Polo (compound) in Buguma City.
The King and some of the Elders sensing trouble, gave him the go ahead order and they started collecting the said money. It was ten shillings then. And anybody who refused to pay, properties were confiscated and carried to the KING’S PALACE SQUARE until the exercise was completed.
I, and my brother Clinton Sunday Seleba were twenty five years old when this incident happened. They also ceased our little properties as we refused to pay the stipulated levy. After the whole exercise had been completed, Chief N.B.Wokoma Horsfall while addressing the gathered members of the community said that anybody who refused to claim his or her properties shall be carried to Buguma and a fine shall be imposed in addition and that they will come again in the near future like the Bill Aabaniye-Ziga did in several centuries ago.
We, little Young and Clinton went into our house and brought out our ten shillings each with a well sharpened matchets to the face of Chief N.B.Wokoma Horsfall that today would be his first and the last including any other person(s) from the compound for such an ugly mission to Angulama again, and if he or they dared tried it to come back or his representatives, these matchets as we showed him, we will butcher him or them like the butcher pieces his meat to customer. We finally told him that in such process of our action and we killed him, he the Chief died a bad death while we shall be turned heros that this community Angulama was existing before the birth of Da-Omekwe to become its citizen and he Da-makwe did not found it nor installed it like Orukalama and Omekweama respectively in defence of Angulama, we concluded.
Chief N.B.Wokoma Horsfall fled immediately and left the confiscated properties behind. The King and the Elders gathered later in the day and got to know how came about. We told them all that happened and they were fined in appreciation of our gallantry behaviours, and since that day till this day, the descendants of DA-OMEKWE know their Bounds with Angulama.
DA-OMEKWE love to Angulama made King Okun authorized him to make use of any land belonging to Angulama as all other citizens of Angulama might use. The King did not Sell to him nor Mortgaged as some people might speculate. This was not true. Angulama people are the owners and are free to make use of it if the Black Gold could be found any moment and in any part of its lands, they have the supreme authority and control of ownership without any other Claimant(S) hope to do so.
DA-OMEKWE track records of History with Angulama could be Indelible in many centuries to come because the records could be traced from time to time. He was a Hero of Supreme Class as far as Anguluma is concerned being a direct citizen and let posterity of Anguluma know this Legacy and indeed the descendants of Da-omekwe in Horsfall’s compound, Buguma city-(Asalga)for the co-operation of love and unity instead of anarchy.
HOW DA-OMEKWE (KALA-DOKUBO) ALIAS FIYASIRI OR CHIEF HORSFALL 1ST OF BUGUMA WAS PERMANENTLY ALLOCATED THE BUGUMA CITY ISLAND TO HIM BEFORE BUGUMA MOVED IN 1884 FROM ELEMUAMA (OLD SHIPPING) AND SETTLED.
Truth as it is always bitter when true History is a replete particularly in on Angulama lands since we have come of age that those who are bestowed by God Almighty shall do the work He sent us without fear or favour. This is a showpiece of my writings for the present generation and yet to come generations to know in the old how something happened or came into being.
From the foregoing brief History of how Da-Omekwe (“1 One”) linked with Angulama, the leaders and concerned citizens on both Angulama, Horsfall’s group of Houses and compound in Buguma in particular and the rest citizens of Buguma city in general – itself, should now know their bounds in this present time and in the years ahead as long as the earth remains by God’s Will.
At the close of 1883 from the old shipping (Elemuama), Bakana had already left in 1881; Abonnema later again left also in 1882; it now remained King Abbi Amachree IV and his War Lords particularly Da-Omekwe, the Lt. General to King Abbi Amachree IV asked he (Da-Omekwe) what place would be for their new settlements since their brethren had left them? Da-Omekwe replied, we have a place to settle since my second community (Angulama) had several lands at the uplands yet not occupied, so let me go and dialogue with the King (Okun) and bring a feedback to Your Kiniyanabo (Majesty). So he set forth his journey and landed Angulama and met King Okun and told him of his mission movement to him on the Buguma Island.
King Okun being the second father to Da-Omekwe after his paternal father gathered the Elders into his palace and disclosed why he gathered them; during that deliberations, this said (where Buguma is) Island was made known to Da-Omekwe as one of their economic values and lands of livelihood such as crab settings, cutting of rubber canes (Aga) for fishing materials etc, but since, he was their son and he wanted to come closer to them, the better for them, as they agreed and libated for peace, love and unity. They demanded interalia that as soon as they settled on this said land, a canal should be constructed for easy communications, and he Da-Omekwe should take the water front opposite the community (Angulama) for their easy arrival into his house too. These were accepted in all by Da-Omekwe. King Okun and his Elders did not call him Da-Omekwe but rather, he was their son. I, being the author used Da-Omekwe because he was my great great grand father on my maternal home in Orukalama now Omekwe-Tariama being one of his descendants and a Prince as he bestowed the Kingship to my grand mother father-King Orumeresi Horsfall in the old, and since then, we are in control of this said stool to the glory of him (Da-Omekwe) and the Almighty God without anybody interference more than 150 years ago.
So, Da-Omekwe after appeased the deities for several days with fanfares later went back and met his Boss, King Abbi Amachree IV, and narrated all his successful journey to him; and King Abbi Amachree IV was extremely delighted by this news. And in 1884, they first went to the land of Buguma and appeased all that was appeasable by their faiths, and finally left their old settlement and settled permanently in this Island as the River was called by the Angulama people Asari-Toru. So, Buguma was initially called Asari by Angulama people through Da-Omekwe and its second name Buguma to reflect the surfix ma. Thus, due to the terms of the discussion with King Okun, Da-Omekwe allotted for himself where Horsfall compound is, and King Abbi stayed opposite him against untimely attack by enemies to King Abbi as well as easy communication to he Da-Omekwe vis-à-vis Angulama respectively also.
The noble men of valour in Kalabari past, were much aware that Angulama and Ke were the first communities settled being unknown period of years both in the North and in the South hence the Sombriero River was divided into 2 and its boundaries stated from upper sombriero River to Imopeleboko for Angulama community and from that point to Ke community down to the Atlantic ocean in order to collect land fees of satellite fishing settlements in those days. There was such recorded document of this nature but can be denied by this present generation in order to hide the TRUTH since TRUTH is always bitter in most cases as a means for oppression by the Buguma and other Lords. Finally, Da-Omekwe died in 1895 and King Abbi Amachree the IV later died in 1900 at the turn of the century. While King Dabibi Berena Pere IV was born in 1894 a year later before Da-Omekwe died.
King Dabibi Pere of Angulama was one of the foremost War Lords who saved the Kalabari Kings and Chiefs of 1948 War between our brothers Okrika-Kalabari from the colonial masters. He lived 79 years only and died on 30th May, 1973 and was burial on 1st June, 1973. The King burial day was also the date the foundation stone of Angulama Town Hall was laid.
One significant remark I want to make is about the present Monarch, Prof.T.J.T.Prrincewill Amachree XI, the Amayanabo of Kalabari for the readers and the public to note is that, all those who migrated from their old shippings of New Calabar River and joined their kits and kins where Angulama had all the lands, creeks and Rivers dwelled free of charge was denied by the present Monarch not to benefit from the Cawthorne Channel Royalties from the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) together with Oproama Bukuma (Agum), Sama, Omekwe-Tariama and Omekweama respectively. The present King had forgotten or perhaps he did not know, without Angulama given this said land to Da-Omekwe, his grand father King Abbi Amachree IV would have not gotten this Island they settled today by not considering Angulama community for the said benefits. Wonders would never never end, and it is indeed most unfortunate of the action of the Monarch governing style who did not appreciate what Angulama community had done to his grand father through Da-Omekwe.
At this juncture, let me make it sound and clear, the tributary of the Calabar River that separated Buguma and Angulama, which in the ancient time to this day is called Asari-Toru by Angulama as said above. And from thence opposite Buguma are mangroves forest owned by Angulama people, and any encroachment by Buguma people must be resisted at all cost. For example, the Ido Town, which Buguma people annexed to itself and settled them where they are, the Ido community did not give the citizens of Buguma a breathing space and defeated them in a competent Law Court, the record of History is there for reference, whilst more of Angulama, the Papas land, given to Da-Omekwe must not be denied unless by the Truth hiders and by God’s Grace, they will never, never, achieve their oppressive tendency in this regard.
The immediate past Chairman, Hon. Ojukaye Flag Amachree who spent 6½ years as council Boss of Asari-Toru Local Government Area did not execute a project in Angulama as well as in the whole of Ward 13 otherwise called Central Group. The electricity he installed at Krakrama, Minama and Sangama was given to him on contract. While Omekweama, Angulama and Omekwe-Tariama were left out of these contract project. Let the evil minded deceivers do not twist the said contract project he took and executed. As some unfaithful persons will say it was a council project. This is to keep the records straight for people to know all about it. If Hon.Ojukaye Flag Amachree may claim that it was a council project, it was purely a blantant lie. He obtained this said contract through his boss, former Governor Rotimi Amaechi.
Secondly he tried to clear a part of the Angulama mangroves forest in order to sand fill it and claimed to say, it is Buguma West Development project. I looked at him and laughed this time he was doing it. I know that this said project is either the State or Federal Governments who can undertake such project to completing it and since I observed, he cannot achieve this ambition, I stayed behind and watched him. Had it been that he was succeeding to a climax, and if Angulama citizens stay quiet, I, as an individual, and the ‘First Chief’ since unknowing existence of Angulama history would have taken him to the Court of Law for a redress. But thank God, that that had been a past story. The little sand he pumped, our sand providers should go and load it and sell to the citizens of Angulama only who are having their structures setting up now and never to sell to outsiders. The sand is Angulama’s own.
I therefore use this medium to warn both big and small in Buguma city minus Da-Omekwe siblings to keep clear in any part of Angulama territorial lands now remaining. If Da-Omekwe siblings want any part of our land to make use of it, they will meet Angulama community Chiefs and Elders for a dialogue as was in the days of their father in the old with Angulama King and its Elders. The rest are warned in this medium, as no part of Angulama territories would be given out again as was in the old without western education for documented agreement. The Chief authority of Buguma Island was/is Da-Omekwe the first. And through his effort, being their son, hence this said Island (Buguma) was given out by King Okun and the Elders of Angulama. And to crown it all, Da-Omekwe was also buried in
Angulama land through the canal he constructed undeniable to this day by the People and Historians.
It is a good news and the first of its kind: (Names withheld) that Angulama was the first to put up a Parafet Roofing upstair in the whole of WARD 13 otherwise called Central Group.
Finally, I speak on behalf of Angulama people (community), my humbleself, as well as the King and Elders I met before they joined their Ancestors. They sometime appear in the dream to tell the dreamers; and they asked; was I, Nnana Obene Clarke (these were the names the Elders knew me before their departure, then followed permanently my present names) Chief Young Obene Clarke Georgwill, being around, when certain things which ought not to happen were happening? This, encouraged me to write as long as I live on the planet earth by God’s Grace, being the first Chief in Angulama community, and later years, recognized, and received the 2nd batch of chiefs as well, and automatically inaugurated the Chiefs council ever, in my parlour, on 27th December, 2009.
A True citizen of Angulama /Kalabari.