The Great King Jaja Of Opobo
After exploring Ikot Abasi, me and my team members started strolling down to the main point to get a bike to the jetty where we can enter by boat to cross over to the next village called the OPOBO.
We waited for like 8 to 10 minutes before entering a bike that could take us to the jetty. It was only 5 minutes until we got to the jetty. My tour guide that guided us at Ikot Abasi followed us to the jetty. She later told me let’s charter a boat that will take us to Opobo and bring us back to Ikot Abasi. Which we agreed. The boat man we meant said we are going to pay 10k going and coming. Which we did because we don’t have much time to waste time. We enter the boat and flow to Opobo.
Before getting to Opobo, my tour guide said I should hold like 3k to give to the tour guide that will take us round the Opobo kingdom. After spending 15 to 20 minutes on water, we finally got to our destination. So we came down and I saw the way all the villagers were staring at us. I was so surprised that the Opobo Town was located in the river’s area. Opobo is part of Port Harcourt. I was like, so I’m now in port Harcourt. That was when I knew that someone could migrate to Port Harcourt from Akwa Ibom by water. It’s just a 15 minute journey on water.
So my tour guide took us round the city of Opobo. I saw the pot used in preparation of the oil and the pot has been there for over 200 years. There is a building beside the giant pot where all the chiefs are having their meeting. Besides that same building, there is a bell, anytime that Bell is being rang, just know that there is trouble in the land of Opobo. The bells closer to the palace are rang only on new days to notify people that we are already at new year…
Finally I entered the palace of King Jaja of Opobo. The palace is so beautiful and magnificent. At the front of the palace lie’s the cannon gun that is preserved for war. There is another bell at the front of the palace. This bell ringing only summoned the chiefs to the palace. Opposite the palace lie’s the old palace of king Jaja of Opobo that was blown away during the war but some of the remains of the palace are still standing strong.
There is this culture they practice till now. Whenever you visit the Opobo village, Don’t step at the door pillar rather you cross it when entering. If you step at the door pillar, you will pay a fine to appeal to their gods of their land.
We explore the market of Opobo and other beautiful places. History made us understand that the grandchildren of Opobo are still in this town. The grandchildren belong to the ruling party.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF KING JAJA OF OPOBO
The Story of king Jaja of Opobo
King Jaja of Opobo was born Mbanaso Okwaraozurumba in Umuduruoha, Amaigbo (present day Imo State) in the year 1821. He was sold into slavery and taken to Bonny Island (present day Rivers state) under circumstances which are far from clear.
He was renamed Jubo Jubogha by his first master, Chief Iganipughuma Allison of Bonny, and later resold to Chief Alali who was the head of the Opubo Manilla Pepple Royal House. It was here that the British who couldn’t pronounce his name called him “Jaja”.
Jaja worked for Chief Alali and ran businesses on the side until he was able to buy his freedom. He was soon recognized as one of the smartest businessmen in the city and became one of the greatest leaders of the head of Anna Pepple house.
Later on, a power struggle ensued in the houses at Bonny led by People House’s High Chief Oko Jumbo which led to the breakaway of a faction led by Jaja. He established a new settlement which he named Opobo in 1869 where he became King Jaja of Opobo.