Ijaw States, including Opobo
|Founded by||King Jaja of Opobo|
|o Amanyanabo||Daneson Douglas Jaja V|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (WAT)|
Opobo, otherwise known as Opubo, is a city-state in the southern region of Nigeria. The Kingdom was founded in 1870 by King Jaja. A greater part of the city state is still referred to as Opobo in Rivers State. Opobo is made up of several islands and communities, mainly Opobo Town (Opuboama), Queenstown, Kalasunju, Oloma, Ayaminimah, Iloma, Minimah, Okpukpo, Iwoma, Ekereborokiri, Kalaibiama, and Epellema. A part of the city state is now in Akwa Ibom State, made up of Ikot Abasi, Kampa.
Opobo (Or Opubo-ama, being a name derived from that of a revered Bonny king, Opubo the Great) is located to the east of the Kingdom of Bonny. Bonny and Opobo are of the same origin, both belonging to the Ibani tribe. An Igbo man (who was subsequently initiated into the Ibani) called Jubo Jubogha rose from slavery to lead the Anna Pepple chieftaincy house of Bonny. In 1870, Jubo first arrived in what is now Opobo, having moved there due to a civil war in Bonny between his followers and those of Chief Oko Jumbo, the leader of the rival Manilla Pepple chieftaincy family. He was accommodated by the Nkoro leader King Kpokpo, and formed what he called the "Kingdom of Opobo" soon afterwards. The king named his new state after Amanyanabo Opubo "Pepple" Perekule the Great, a Pepple king in Bonny that had reigned there from 1792 to 1830.
Jubo Jubogha became involved in palm oil trading with Europeans. He started a trading post at Opobo Town, close to Ikot Abasi and 4 miles southwest of the Opobo river. Due to his dealings with them, he soon acquired the trade name Jaja. Jubo Jubogha was never on good terms with the Ngwa people to the north, or the Annang and the Ibibio to the east, as he declared himself as the middleman in palm oil trading, thus asking them to stop trading directly with the Europeans. This resulted in a war (the Ikot Udo Obong War) between Jubo and the Annang and Ibuno people as recorded by Nair. In 1887, he was deceived when he was told to go and negotiate with the Queen of the United Kingdom by the British. He was captured upon his arrival on the consul's flagship, and was sent into exile in Saint Vincent in the West Indies thereafter.
The following are a few of Opobo's unique customs:
Breaking any of these rules attracts a fine of N7,000 each or a serious punishment by the community heads.
A certified wife who has not been initiated into womanhood with the appropriate initiation ceremony, known as the Mgbede, is not allowed to tie a special wrapper called 'George'. Such a woman would also be denied many other rights: there are sacred places that she cannot enter and she will not be entitled to mix freely with women that have been initiated. In fact, she can be traditionally disgraced by the other women in the community at any time.
The rulers of Opobo were:
|25 December 1870||September 1887||Jubo Jubogha "Jaja I" (b. 1821 - d. 1891)|
|September 1887||1891||Perekule (chairman Council of Chiefs)|
|1891||1893||"Cookey Gam" (political agent)|
|1893||12 October 1915||Obiesigha Jaja II (Frederick Sunday)|
|1916||1936||Dipiri (Arthur Mac Pepple)|
|1936||1942||Sodienye Jaja III (1st time) (Douglas Mac Pepple) (d. 1980)|
|1942||1946||Stephen Ubogu Jaja IV (acting)|
|1952||31 July 1980||Sodienye Jaja III (2nd time) (Douglas Mac Pepple)|
|1 October 2004||Dandeson Douglas Jaja V (b. 1947)|