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Kalabari Cosmology
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KALABARI COSMOLOGY (Its Origin)

As narrated by the erudite Kalabari Historian,

* Mr. Daboikiabo Jack

                                               

In the first place, the name 'kalabari' is taken from the second part of the name of the founder and first ancestor of the Kalabari people, King Perebo-kalabari. From the sketch above, it is clear that Perebo-kalabari was the son of Ugo the son of Mein, the son of Izon (Ijo or Ijaw). Perebo-kalabari the first son of Ugo lived in Ogobiri. He became the monarch after the death of his father. He had a wife from Isoko who was accused of witchcraft. He had to escape with her to a far town to avoid her death. While in this new place of refuge, he became very  wealthy and famous which led to envy by the people there. He then decided to migrate further,in search of his brother Kengema, to somewhere near the present Emohua (called Amafo by the Kalabaris). When he arrived there, Kengema had left the place. Nevertheless, he decided to settle there with his people, hence the place became known as "Kengemabe Kalabari".  While here, Perebo-kalabari was joined by his brother and cousin, Owoume and Igodo respectively. Thus, three of them became the first 3 chiefs of the place with Perebo-kalabari as the paramount and so, the first king of Kalabari. In the course of time, Perebo-kalabari died and was buried in Obu Amafo(back of Emuoha) which was now Kengemabe Kalabari. Following his death, Owoume became the second King instead of Prince Ende the first son of Perebo-kalabari. During the reign of King Owoume, the Kalabaris had some ritual assasination problems with their close neigbhours. This led to revenge and fighting. Once again, the Kalabaris had to leave for a safer place. They came to the place known today as Elem Kalabari (Old Shipping). For them, it was Iwo Kalabari. Later, King Owoume also died and his son Opu-koroye became the third King of Kalabari. It should be pointed out that Prince Ende, the first son of Perebo-kalabari died while King Owoume was still reigning. From King Opu-koroye to the civil war in 1879, fourteen(14) kings reigned with King Amakiri (AmachreeI ) becoming the most powerful and most popular of all the Kings of Kalabari. It was after the civil war in 1881 that the three major Kalabari towns - Abonnema, Bakana and Buguma dispersed to their present sites.

 

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