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King Jaja Of Opobo: The Rise Of The Merchant Prince And First Crowned King Of Opobo Kingdom

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By Abiodun Owoeye

King Jaja of Opobo is an intriguing story of the famous historical figure, King Jaja, the merchant prince and founder of Opobo city state, in an area that is now known as Rivers State.
The historical play, King Jaja of Opobo, was staged at Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos, on Saturday and Sunday, 6th and 7th of April, 2019.

Written and produced by Michael Ovienmhada of Noble House Entertainment and directed by Henry Legemah and Lasisi, the play is woven around a 12-year-old Igbo boy captured from the village of Umuduruoha and sold into slavery in Bonny Kingdom.

The story of King Jaja, the merchant prince, emphasizes the need for hard work and consistency. It is only by dint of hard work and skills in entrepreneurship that the young boy becomes recognized by chieftains of the Kingdom and is adopted by the Ijaw tribe. He soon becomes a leader, but after some trouble in Bonny, he migrates to virgin land where he creates the Kingdom of Opobo and is crowned its first King.

He rustles feathers with the British traders, who are not happy with his monopoly of the palm oil trade in the Niger Delta. He is kidnapped by the British and sent into exile.

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