The young graduate of Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka – was presented with a staff of office on Monday, Oct 23, 2017 during his official installation of as pere of kabowei kingdom at the pere’s palace in the vicinity of Patani, Delta state.
In an interview with Gbaramatuvoicenews, the monarch spoke about his kingdom, which spreads across two states and his plans for his people, especially in the area of cultural revival.
How has it been since you ascended the throne?
It will be six months February 16. I’m still quite new on the throne. I must say that initially, it was not so easy, but it is getting better by the day.
What were you into before you ascend the throne?
I was a practising lawyer with a law firm in Warri. By the side, I was the Supervisory Councilor for Works in Patani Local Government Council.
Were you compelled to join the race or was it out of your freewill?
I think God destined it this way and I only followed the way God planned it and worked it out. I wouldn’t say I was compelled but I just flowed as it was unfolding and it worked out fine.
Is the Kabowei kingdom stool hereditary or by appointment?
It is hereditary. It passes from father to son. My late father was the last Pere of Kabowei Kingdom and he passed on, on February, 18 2016. Then, I came after him.
It is said that you also have some elder brothers, so how come you were picked instead of them?
The process moves from father to son, starting from the first son and there are qualifications that are also stated traditionally and even by government’s gazette to guide the kingmakers. I think that was how it was done. I happen to be the sixth surviving son, but I think flowing from the qualifications, the kingmakers found me as the most suitable person for the office.
Can you let us know some of your achievements since you became the Pere?
Before my emergence, I understood the fact that our cultures and traditions are fast fading away. Even our youths find it hard to understand and speak our language. Due to modernisation, everybody now feels that going back to traditional language makes one a lesser person. That was eating fast into our way of life, so my major drive was that as a young traditional ruler, I should be able to reverse these things.
I think my function is not political. It is to keep and preserve the traditions of our people. I had to bring some strict rules. Before now, people came into the palace and they wanted to speak English language while addressing the king. I made it a point for anybody coming into the palace, except you are not from Kabowei kingdom, not to speak the English language, but our language. If you are not fluent in it, mix it, but endeavour to see that you can speak it.
I made it a taboo for any woman to walk into the palace wearing trousers. We see how girls wear all manner of things and walk down the street; that is not our way of life. So even within the town, I had to call the chairmen of the communities to educate their young people to see that they try as much as possible to go back to our tradition. I also set up a committee to see how we can come up with our own cultural heritage, that is how the Kabowei man used to be. Because Kabowei or the Kabo man as he is popularly called, is a unique Ijaw person. We are unique in all we do because our own tongue is different from every other Ijaw man.
If a Kabowei man speaks here, it is different from the way someone from Bomadi or Sagbama would speak. So if we can go back to the way we speak our language, it will help our culture, it will help our uniqueness, because once you lose your culture, you have lost your identity. I try to see how we can bring that back…
What are some of the things you miss as a king, considering the fact that you are young?
Will I say I really miss doing those things? Before I ascended the throne, I just got to the stage in my life where I became a responsible man. I got married in the same year I ascended the throne. As at the point of my getting married, I believe I had had enough of everything I wanted to do as a young man, and it was time for me to be responsible and be focused. If there is anything I miss doing, it is going to court as a lawyer because that is one of the things I cannot do anymore too.
Can you just tell us the reaction of your wife, what did she tell you?
It came via a text message from one of my elder brothers. When I saw the message and showed it to my wife, she didn’t understand what it was and asked, ‘what is this one that Eli congratulating you for?’ And I said that I was selected as the king.She said, ‘King what? You aren’t going to stay in Patani, are you?’ And I said when we get to that bridge, we will cross it. I think her major concern was coming to stay here, because she had only come twice for my dad’s burial and when I brought her to officially introduce her to my mum. That was the only challenge.