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Kalabaris seek to regain relevance

Posted by The Port Harcourt Telegraph on 2005/01/09 | Views: 273 |

Kalabaris seek to regain relevance


Signs that the Kalabaris are tired of playing second fiddle emerged a couple of days ago.

Signs that the Kalabaris are tired of playing second fiddle emerged a couple of days ago.

Meeting at the level of the Se kobiri, with King T.J.T Princewill, Amayanabo of Kalabari and the Three-One-And-Half-Portion Chiefs present, chiefs of the Kalabari kingdom expressed regret that the relevance of the Kalabari was beginning to slip away.

Of late, nothing has given the Kalabari more concern than the issue of their relevance within the new Rivers State.
In Kalabari circles, the issue of what to do, and how to do it appear to have picked up a force of their own.

Senator Martyns Yellowe in his new year message reminded the Kalabari of their great past and the benefits that unity had brought among them.

Obviously disturbed by what many see as the slide of the Kalabari, the senator noted it was time for his people to do a re-think.

Even neighbours of the once great kingdom look in amazement as the Kalabaris stutter and stumble, hunted by the internal contradictions and petty differences that is chopping away at their unity.

For more than two decades, the Kalabari dominated the civil service at both the state and national levels, largely due to their industry and early exposure right from the days of the Oil River Protectorate.

It is on record, going by what is available to the Telegraph, that the kin and chiefs of the New Calabar as the British addressed them were among the first to enter into treaties with the colonial power before the amalgamation of 1914.

What is known is that the British entered into the treaty with the Kalabaris on the 2nd of October, 1850.
The King and Chiefs of Bonny were next. Their treaty with the British was signed 3rdOctober 1850 while the Edo monarch elevated to heights in recent times took his cue with his chiefs on 4th April 1851.

The King and Chiefs of Old Calabar, based on archival records, signed a treaty with the colonial power on the 19th of September 1856.

It was on the 17th of November 1856 that the British entered into a treaty with the King and Chiefs of Brass (Amayanabo of Nembe). Lagos came a distant fifth compared with the Kalabari and it was on the 2nd of April 1863 that the British signed a treaty with the Oba of Lagos and his chiefs.

Opobo was the seventh of such ancient nation- states to enter into a treaty with the British overlords. Its treaty was signed on the 4th of January 1873.
Today’s generation of the Kalabari, driven perhaps by a republican spirit anchored on extreme individualism has become a kingdom of so many voices that care little about the purpose of the long term interest of the Kalabari people.

Humbled by circumstances, their leaders beggarly along the corridors of power are mere shadows of themselves.
Out there, the Kalabari bleed at heart but there is some hope. The King intent on making the peace has made peace and now his people say simply,”lead us back to glory”.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.