Please may I have a chance in your daily read newspaper to express my feelings towards the above mentioned subject (Opobo Kingdom and Seniapu Installations).
Opobo Kingdom is one of the kingdoms in Nigeria that maintained and had a respected tradition and culture until 17th century when the tradition and culture of the ancient kingdom started falling apart. In Rivers State, when tradition and culture are mentioned, Bonny is always leading followed by Opobo Kingdom, but now Opobo Kingdom is scored zero percent in terms of traditions and cultural performances all over Nigeria.
Let me come to the real subject of the day which is Opobo Kingdom and Seniapu installations. During the period of our founding fathers of the various communities and towns that made up Opobo Kingdom, the Seniapu were installed with respect and honour. All protocols were observed. Nowadays the due process no longer takes place in the days of our founding fathers, before group of persons (males) are installed as Seniapu, persons in questions must be of age (matured), must undergo some screening, interview, training etc. then a committee made up of intelligent males will be set up to hear the opinion of family members (Gburusu), public, receive all critisms in favour or against from the Town, especially the Compound of those to be in that high table. People will express their feelings towards their characters etc.
When all these are done, the committee will send their reports or findings to the authority concerned or the Council where the report will be studied and then pass the final order whether they are qualified or not. In this process of the Seniapu installation only one person (male) will be chosen to represent each family (Gburusu) he is coming from in that very compound, until his death and no other person will succeed him.
All these protocols were observed until 19th century till date when everything turned into zero due to the characters of our chiefs and leaders who are after money and wealth.
Unfortunately, in Opobo Kingdom today all these are no longer in existence, a group of males of twenty five and Thirty years of age that has no knowledge of the tradition and culture are being installed as Seniapu. Bribes are taken, five (5) to seven (7) males are installed in one Gburusu Family in a compound of a community or town.
With all these that is happening in Opobo Kingdom, the tradition and culture which we met, we cannot observe it any longer and everyone is keeping silent, watching it ebbing away like a sea. That is why I am drawing the attention of the chiefs of various communities and towns, to call or reverse their memories to the past in order not to lead us into a pit. If possible they should go back to Bony Kingdom were we migrated and learn more about Ibani tradition and culture. “A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE”.
Mainbrain Isaac Ikpo Diri write from Kalaibiama Town-Opobo