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New Opobo Chief Installed Amidst Fanfare

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It is a new dawn now for the Chief Mac-Pepple War Canoe House in Opobo Town following the installation of a new Chief to head the royal house in Opobo Town, recently.

The 8th day of November 2009 would be evergreen in the hearts of the members of the house, when they rolled out their ancient Xylophones, War-Canoe drums to celebrate their new Chief or ‘Alabo’.

For one week, it was fanfare of festivities and ancient rites to usher in the new Chief, Prince Charles Douglas Mac-Pepple Jaja a scion of the legendary King Mac-Pepple Jaja, the third occupant of the King Jaja Stool.

Prince Mac-People was last year unanimously presented before the Alapu Council in Opobo town foreplace the late Chief Eugene Mac-Pepple.

The presentation marks the first level of installation rites since it represents the willingness of the war-canoe house to have a new head.

And just within a space of one year plans commenced in earnest to install him. First, there were activities to finally end the mourning of the late Chief Mac-Pepple, after which full installation rites would begin.

The rites begins with a memorial service of the late ‘Alabo’, after which several ancient masquerades would be displayed including a boat regatta which would be conducted to prepare ground for the real installation rites to be handled by the Amayanabo himself.

So it was not surprising that when all these activities are carried out, the new Alabo Mac-Pepple amid tumultuous crowd of indigenes and elated youths was again brought before the Alapu Council for final induction.

During the installation and administration of oath by the Amayanabo, King Dandeson Jaja V, the King admonished prince Mac-Pepple to be humble and diligent in his activities.

The Opobo Monarch noted that traditional rulers are meant to be servants of their people hence they are supposed not to be eratic in their decisions.

King Jaja V called on the new Chief to uphold justice and fairness in his dealings with the people, stressing that the Holy Bible on which the Prince swore abhors all acts of bribery and mischief.

In the king’s words, “there are a lot of temptations and provocations but you must stand firm in doing what is right. Speak the truth no matter the temptation.”

In his new position, king Jaja V, urged Alabo Mac-Pepple not to be sectional in his activities, adding that he is now the leader of all people in his domain.

Following challenges ahead of him, the monarch prayed God to guide Alabo Mac-Pepple in his activities and solicited for unremitted support from both Senibos and youths of the house to their new head.

Taking the oath of office, Alabo Mac-Pepple pledged to uphold the culture and traditions of the Opobo people, abide by the customs guiding the Alapu Council and to ensure that members of his house are given necessary lendership to move them forward.

Born 50 years ago in the royal house of Mac-Pepple Jaja, Chief Charles Mac-Pepple was the second son of late king Douglas Mac-Pepple Jaja.

As a blue blood his was bred in line with aristocratic leanings under the tutelage of his Christian father, late Eman M.T. Epelle.

Unlike other children of aristocratic background that would lose focus and tread the pleasure path, Alabo Mac-Pepple took education serious. Strangely he took technical education as opposed to the Grammar schools that most Princes would have chosen.

By 1976 he proceeded to the government technical College Abak, where he studied Electrical installation technology of the WAEC (London City and guilds.

He was at the Rivers State School of basic Studies, Port Harcourt in 1979 for a remedial course programme and obtained Diploma in Business Administration from the Sondore Institute of Management.

He went further to acquire academic knowledge when he got admission to read Public Administration and Political Science in the University of Port Harcourt in 1991.

Currently he is running a Post-Graduate Study in law at the Rivers State University of Science and technology and a fellow of the Nigerian Chartered Institute of Public Administrators.

President of International Federation of Public Administrators Academy (NCIPA), Prof Hensely Kirby said of him, “an accomplished public administrator to occupy this reverent ancient stool at this time which we are optimistic that your advent in the rulership of the historic chief Mac-Pepple War Canoe House will witness a new horizon.”

Indeed he would bring to bear his management qualities with which he had managed his father’s business, Messrs P.S. Mandrides Plc, Kano, a company where the late king Douglas Jaja served on the board over a period of time.

Congratulating him for the installation, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Hon. Dakuku Peterside remarked, “My dear Alabo, given your pedigree and antecedents in service to humanity, I have no doubt that this installation is a clarion call to redouble your efforts in the service of your people and Opobo kingdom”.

Secretary of Chief Mac-Pepple House, Senibo Chris Pepple wished their new head, “an eventful reign”, adding that, your ascension and installation as Head and Alabo of your grand-father’s stool” would bring good tidings and blessing to the people.

For Chairman of the Likeminds Board of Trustees, Sir Dinne Adafe Jaja, Alabo Mac-Pepple “has been a source of pride for many of us.”

The Adafe family Union Chairman expressed the hope that the War Canoe House would be lifted beyond the expectation of the people.

A similar view was held by the President of Mina-Ogbo Ikina Cultural Society, a club which the new Chief has remained glued to despite his tight schedules.

President of Mina-Ogbo Ikina, Senibo Bond Accra-Jaja said the new Chief, “has been captured young, and we are entirely convinced that your wealth of experience, generosity and leadership style will contribute to the advancement of your house and indeed Opobo Kingdom.”

Describing her fondness to her husband, Princess Boiya Jaja called him, “Old boy”, saying, “Now you are called Alabo meaning my father or my Chief … your entire relationship with people signified the dignity in fatherhood.”

Known for his diligence and commitment to anything he sets his mind at, Alabo Charles more than anything else, values development of human capital to paltry handouts to the less economically endowed.

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Culture/Tourism

Hotel Management System | Hotel Management Software

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Culture/Tourism

Rivers: How Wrestling Promotes Peace, Unity

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Prominent among the fading cultures of the people of Rivers State is wrestling. In the good olden days, almost all communities in Rivers State could boast of producing wrestling champions. But today, it is difficult to even hear of wrestling as a sport.

Its revival has been a serious issue to some communities within the state while others are yet to decide whether to revive it or not.

The near-death of the wrestling culture is blamed on the influence of  westernisation, just like other cultural activities such as the masquerade or Owu Dance, etc.

Wrestling is also one of the local sports that does not require much resources to organise because all the needed instruments as well as the human resources are available within the locality.

No doubt, the rebirth of  wrestling has become a major issue in some communities in Rivers State, today. It is said that the wrestling  was among the main sources of recreation and entertainment in several rural communities even in some cities where it is still practised.

The game (wrestling) as The Tide One Sunday gathered, does not involve much risk because it is usually a battle between two males of equal body size or persons within the same age bracket.

It is only in few cases that men of different age brackets or body sizes are allowed to wrestle. At times, such pairings are done to produce a champion who will represent the community in an external wrestling championship or even in inter-communal conflicts.

In some communities, champion wrestlers are used as body guards of their traditional rulers and chiefs who are viewed as the custodian of the people.

They (champion wrestlers) were used for almost all the risky jobs and errands in the community, because of the common notion that they possess  extra-ordinary prowess.

It is this sentiment that makes the wrestling champion the favourite of young girls even in marriage. It is said in some communities that every parent would in their inner most mind prefer that their would-be son-in-law is a champion wrestler, not even an ordinary one. The reason being that he will be of great importance to the family both in the areas of family work and defence.

The Tide On Sunday was told that in recent past  some parents would give their daughters to any available champion wrestlers at almost no cost, because they want their family to be respected.

Today, Rumuogba community in Obio/Akpor local government area of Rivers State has taken the bull by the horn to recreate the art of wrestling. To this end, the people have finalised plans to revive the wrestling culture.

The Paramount Ruler of Nye Nwe-Eli Rumuogba, HRH Eze (Barr) Temple N. Ejekwu (JP), Eze Ogba Iji Nu Ede, reasoned that wrestling remains the main source of popularity in the communities.

Eze Ejekwu noted that wrestling also brings peace and unity in the communities where it is still practised.

The monarch pointed out that wrestling is one of the notable cultures of the Ikwerre people and should not be allowed to fade away like many other cultures which he said are almost gone.

He argued that plans are in top gear to bring the wrestling culture back to life in his community.

According to him, both the wrestling drums and drummers are intact, saying that in the nearest future wrestling activities will begin to boom again in the community.

He also told The Tide’s Culture and Tourism desk that in his first anniversary which is underway, wrestling match will top other activities as part of the community’s effort to ensure that the younger generations do not forget it totally.

The Eze Ogba Nu-Iji Nu Ede, hinted that the community is also planning to invite other communities for a wrestling championship in order to bring back the lost glory of the wrestling culture.

According to him, wrestling, is the easiest way by which the locals can know who is who, adding that it also brings out the best in the man.

The Rumuogba Paramount Ruler, maintained that wrestling promotes unity and friendship among communities, adding that its near-death has done some havoc to the rural communities.

He said champions who emerge during the community’s wrestling championship, would be projected to the state level, just as the Woji people have taken their cultural dance to the state level.

He argued that since wrestling promotes peace and unity, the community will always experience a huge turnover in various aspects of its trade due to the friendly environment.

He also informed The Tide On Sunday that the wrestling culture has no fetish practice, wondering why the people are shying away from it.

The young monarch, regretted that the wrestling culture which serves as a huge tourist attraction for the people is fading away with a great speed.

He called on the organisers of the CARNIRIV annual festival to always include wrestling as one of the cultural activities of the Rivers people.

That, he said, will do the much expected magic in the bid to revive the wrestling culture of the people of Rivers State.

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Culture/Tourism

‘Wrestling promotes Peace, Unity’

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Prominent among the fading cultures of the people is wrestling.  In good olden days, almost all communities in Rivers State could boast of producing wrestling champions. But today, it is difficult to even hear of it.

Its revival has been a serious issue to some communities within the state while others are yet to decide whether to revive it or not.

The near-death of the wrestling culture is blamed on westernisation, just like other cultural activities such as the Owu Dance, etc.

Wrestling is also one of the local games that does not require much to organise because all the needed instruments as well as the human resources are available within the locality.

Moreover, the rebirth of the wrestling game has become a major issue in some communities in Rivers State, today. It was learnt that the wrestling game is among the main sources of receation and entertainment in the rural communities even in some cities where it is still practised.

The game (wrestling) as The Tide On Sunday gathered, does not involve much risk because it is a battle between two males of equal body size or within the same age bracket.

It is only in few cases where men of different age brackets or body-sizes are allowed to wrestle. At times, they do it to produce a champion who will represent the community in an external wrestling championship or even inter communal conflicts.

In some areas, champion wrestlers are used as body guards of their traditional rulers and chiefs who are viewed as the custodian of the people.

They (champion wrestlers) were used for almost all the risky jobs and errands in the community, because of the common notion that they prossess an extra-ordinary prowess.

In cases like marriage, every parent would prefer in their inner  most mind that their would-be son-in-law be a champion wrestler, not even an ordinary one. The reason being that he will be of great  importance to the family both in the areas of family work and  defence.

The Tide On Sunday was told that in recent past, that some parents would give their daughters to any available champion wrestlers at almost no cost, because they want their family to be respected.

Today, Rumuogba community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, said that they have finalised plans to revive the wrestling culture.

The Paramount Ruler/Nye Nwe-Eli Rumogba, HRH Eze (Barr) Temple N. Ejekwu (JP), Eze Ogba Iji Nu Ede, reasoned that wrestling remains the main source of popularity in the communities.

Eze Ejekwu, noted that it also brings peace and unity in the communities where it is better practised.

The Monarch pointed that wrestling is one of the notable cultures of the Ikwerre people and should not be allowed to fade away with other cultures which he said are almost gone.

In his community (Rumuogba), he argued that plans are on top gear to bring the wrestling culture back to life.

According to him, both the drums and drummers are intact, saying that in the nearest future wrestling activity will begin to boom again in the community. 

He also told the Culture and Tourism Sector that in his first anniversary which is underway,  wrestling match will top other activities as part of the community’s effort to ensure that the younger generations do not forget it totally.

The Eze Ogba Nu Iji Nu Ede, hinted that the community is also planning to invite other communities for a wrestling championship in order to bring back the lost glory of the wrestling culture.

According to him, wrestling, is the easiest way by which the locals can know who is who, adding that it also brings out the best in the man.

The Rumuogba Paramount Ruler, maintained that wrestling promotes unity and friendship among communities, adding that its near-death has done some havoc to the rural communities.

In case champions emerge during the community’s wrestling championship, he said  they would be projected to the state level, just as the Worji people have taken their cultural dance to the state level.

About its economic importance, he argued that since wrestling promotes peace and unity,  the community will always experience a huge turn over in various aspects of its trade due to the friendly environment.

He also informed  The Tide On Sunday that the wrestling culture has no fetish practice, wondering why the people are shying away from it.

The young monarch, regretted that the wrestling culture which serves as a huge tourist attraction for the people is fading away with a great speed.

He has also called on the organisers of the CARNIRIV to include wrestling as one of the cultural activities of the Rivers people.

That, he said, will do the much expected magic in the bid to revive the wrestling activity of the people.

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