Recently, precisely in the month of September, 30th, 2020, a group of Journalists from the Wakirike ethnic nationality paid a courtesy visit to the king (Amanyanabo) of ancient Abuloma Kingdom in Port Harcourt, His Royal Highness (HRH), Brigadier General Bright Ateke Fiboinumama, Obeomomu-Odu (Rtd); probably their courtesy visit was to assuage him to become their grand Patron and to know how the kingdom is fairing in terms of the present Rivers State Government’ democratic dividends on kingship reclassification (upgrade), economy, socio-cultural-education, human capital (skill) development, security, among others.
Their courtesy visit became an eye opener when the retired Nigerian Army General, a former Army Depot Commander and infantry paratrooper narrated how the ancient Abuloma Kingship stool had been subjected to the background, as past and present government of rivers State had refused to upgrade the ancient Abuloma stool from 3rd class to may be 2nd or 1st class, as the case may be, at a time when the present State Governor, Chief (Barr) Nyesom Wike upgraded other kingship stools within Port Harcourt, from their lower classes to 2nd class and 1st class, respectively.
The bone of contentions are that:
(1) Abuloma was an economic hub in the early and late 70s; and it is still contributing its economy quota into the purse of Rivers State, through the berthing of small cargo tankers, sea going vessels, Tug boats, loading and offloading of cargoes at various jetties of Abuloma sea shores.
(2) The sitting of the Federal Government Girls’ college, otherwise known as Unity School. (Abuloma is the Host to the Federal Girls’ college).
(3) The leasing of a larger parcel of land to the Federal Government through the then military Governor of Rivers State, Commander Diette Spiff in 1974.
(4) In terms of security, it is a known fact that residents of Abuloma and its neighbours has a slogan’that: “if you want to have your two eyes close at night go to Abuloma”.
(5) On skill (man power development), the presence of the cargoes sea vessels have persuade youths, young men and women from all the states of the Federation to become welders, pipe-fitters, riggers, scaffolders, quarter masters, deckhand (roaster about) engineers, just to men a few.
During the visit of the said Wakirike Bese practicing Journalists, the Amanyanabo of Abuloma revealed that his ancient kingdom was 3rd class in 1979, in the then Rivers State Traditional Rulers Law and up till 2014, 2015 and 2017, respectively.
King Fiboinumana also pointed out that in 1956 Abuloma became a district; subsequently, various government that came on board in 1983-1986 declared Abuloma a district Headquarters: other district community (towns) he pointed out in 1956 were Ogu, Bolo, Ibaka Ogoloma towns etc. But what went wrong in those years? Why the dream of 1st class stool has not been realized up till now when the Rebisis who are also signatories to the Hargrove Harcourt (Port Harcourt) agreement alongside or with the Okrikans are enjoying 1st class stool and had probably formed Port Harcourt Traditional Rulers Council? On what basis would they have formed such Port Harcourt Traditional Rulers Council, if there was any? Is it on the basis of District or Kingdom? Whichever or whatever basis of such formation, it is a known fact that the Rebisis too are co-owners of the Garden City (Port Harcourt), as coowners their stools have been upgraded to 2nd class and 1st class respectively; it is also a known fact that, the Okrikans who are also signatories to the Hargrove Harcourt (Port Harcourt) Agreement represented by various Chiefs and personalities from Abuloma, Amadi- Ama, Fimie Ama etc. are also co-owners of the said Garden city (Port Harcourt), as the communities and descendants of the said signatories are still in existence in Port Harcourt City, where the marginalization of upgrading the stool of Abuloma from 3rd class to 1st class is coming from? Is the Rivers State Government not aware that Abuloma Kingdom is still existing in Port Harcourt and that the forebears of the Ancient Abuloma Kingdom were also signatories to the Port Harcourt Agreement? Is the refusal to upgrading Abuloma to 1st class coming as a result of ethnicity or ownership tussle behind Port Harcourrt? Who is holding back the upgrading of Abuloma stool and why? Is it because the Okrikans in Port Harcourt are not speaking in one voice as a result of their communal factions (JU), and or as regards to Kingship tussle amongst themselves? Or are they not aware of the creation of districts in the late 1950/60s and up till 1983?
Available records show that:
In 1956 there was creation of Okrika county council, including Ogoloma, Ibaka, Ogbogbo, Abuloma and Ogu as local councils.
In 1961 Abuloma became a district in the then Degema Division of Bonny County Council.
In 1981 there was Obumutu chieftaincy title. In 1983 there was Rivers State official Gazette on creation of Local Government and Districts in PHALGA; and Trans-Amadi became an urban area, (Abuloma and Rainbow Town as District Headquarters of the Trans-Amadi Urban area).
In 1985, PHALGA became a district and there was Port Harcourt municipality comprising the New Layout, Borikiri (that is old Port Harcourt Township), Diobu, Woji, Obio and (Abuloma in PHALGA as a District), covering the whole of Trans-Amadi, including Elekahia etc.
16th May, 1978, the Rivers State Chieftaincy Council Law 25 indicates that Abuloma stool is still 3rd class (Amadabo); Eze Apara Rebisi 1st class.
The chieftaincy law passed by the former Governor of Rivers State Rt (Hon.) Rotimi Amaechi still left Abuloma on 3rd class.
Governor Nyesom Wike came on board and updated the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers (serial 32) still left Abuloma on 3rd class (Amadabo), PHALGA-vacant.
It will recall that the King of Abuloma recently reacted to a pending court case on land Mou entered with Federal Government and the people of Abuloma on April 2019.
It will also recall that in 2006 Obulom (Abuloma people’ native) language was gazetted as one of the languages recognized in Rivers State and to be taught in schools. But what happened then or thereafter? Why is it that the language has not been used? Does it have to do with ethnic bias? These and many other questions are left unanswered.
In August, 7th 2015 the same thing was repeated in one of the stool upgrading meetings. But
King (Amanyanabo) of Ogu (His Majesty) Nicholas Nimenibo pointed out to the Governor Nyesom Wike) of the need to also upgrade the Abuloma stool.
In July 25, 2020, a letter for admission into the PHALGA Council of Chiefs was written by the King of Abuloma, his Council of Chiefs and Elders to the then chairman of PHALGA Council. That letter was never replied. Did the letter hit a brick wall?
“A Divisional Council of Chiefs is formed based on districts. Every stool, every community has a history. Government should stop politicizing the Abuloma stool because Abuloma stool before and after the creation of Rivers State had met all requirements to be recognized: Government of Rivers State should do the needful because Abuloma people have not done any wrong. Abuloma people are patience, and peace loving people, but they should not be pushed too far or taken for granted. So I’m confining myself as a King of a District,” HRH Brigadier General Bright Ateke Fiboinumama (Rtd).
In all of these realities stated herein, the King of Abuloma is appealing to the Rivers State Government to consider upgrading Abuloma stool to the same level of others in Port Harcourt, because Abuloma is contributing so much, economically, and have been waiting patiently since after the creation of Rivers State.