Author Essesien Ntekim carefully weaves an interesting, controversial and poignant book that passionately seeks out the author's own roots as he looks back at a place he once called home in OKOBO. With new eyes after some four decades of first impression, the author found a wonderful treasure trove of previously unknown information to share with readers. Okobo country rocks, its multiple waterways and vegetation, each had respective stories to tell. So also were its people and their traditional means of livelihood. At the core of this book is a passionate desire by the author to seek out Okobo and vividly share a story of the Nigerian people to the world.
In a painstaking recollection of childhood memories, Ntekim started this book with a full-day homecoming journey to Okoboland from his place of work at Abuja, the new administrative capital of Nigeria in West Africa. The dramatic changes seen in one town known as Obufi was found replicated in all other towns and villages in Okoboland in domino. Anywhere, he visited bore unmistakable evidences of advance and decline, both in terms of physical and human content of society. A curious insight into its peculiarities threw more light on how Okobo as a frontier nation was able to survive among population hegemons of Efik, Oron, and Ibibio with whom it shared common borders at three fronts. Indeed, throughout the Efik-speaking communities of the Lower Cross River region, Okobo was the only meeting point of the three major ethnic groupings.
Without any pretension, this book, in its concluding section, wishes to highlight the international conspiracy against OKOBO interest. The book declares in a very public manner that the people whose ancestral home was taken away from them were Okobo people. Matters became more bizarre when revelations in the book showed that Okobo inhabitants who constituted over 90 percent of the so-called Bakassi Peninsula were hardly consulted for their inputs before the Nigerian legal team boarded the plane on an ill-fated mission to the world court. In this epic write-up, real information about Okobo was reduced to moonlight storytelling, necessarily to loosen and broaden perceptions of readers and people interested in further research about Okobo.
In a vivid expression of intent, OKOBO represents an exploratory effort to address who Okobo people are in the context of the Nigerian federal state. It envisages a massive outpouring of better-informed opinion about Okobo phenomenon by the time the last page is flipped.
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About the Author
OKOBO* by Essesien Ntekim
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