By Frank Ulom
It was the best start of the year for five African-American ladies who traced their heritage to the Efik Kingdom as they were welcomed into the Abasi Ntiero Royal House in Calabar, Cross River, Nigeria.
The ceremony which was overseen by the Obong of Calabar, His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu V, and witnessed by Etubom (Arc.) Bassey Eyo Ndem, shed light on the inclusivity of the Efik people as well as marking a significant chapter in their quest to reconnect with their Efik heritage.
Expressing his warm regards for the decision taken by the ladies, the Obong of Calabar, said, “It’s a welcomed development. We don’t want to shy away from it. For those who want to trace their roots and have found somewhere convenient for them that they can actually fit in. Please don’t hesitate to do it. So I welcome all of you to Nigeria. I welcome all of you to Calabar. I welcome all of you to the Palace of the Obong of Calabar.”
One of the representatives of the African-American ladies who conveyed their gratitude, said, “I feel that I am back home and I brought my sisters to be back home. Thank you very much for accepting us into your home.”
The ladies, as part of a community service-oriented association, chose to identify with their roots, seeking a deeper connection to their history and heritage.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Chioma George from Chicago, Illinois, she shared her profound experience, describing it as an honour. She emphasised the significance of bringing her sisters to experience the same homecoming that had left a lasting impact on her years ago.
On his part, Etubom (Arc.) Bassey Ndem expressed immense pleasure at the accomplished African-American ladies identifying with the Efik culture. He acknowledged the emotional experience for the ladies and highlighted the importance of their return to their roots.
On the inclusivity of the women in Efik culture, Etubom Ndem clarified, “They are now bonafide members of our family. They’ve been given the blessings of our king, the Obong of Calabar. You saw us give them their membership certificate. They have every right now to be a part of the family, to vote and be voted for.”
The ladies, including Sandra Baker-Ekanem Abasi Ntiero, Amania Drane-Asari Abasi Ntiero, Brenda Camille Davis-Nkese Abasi Ntiero, Yvonne Taylor-Nkoyo Abasi Ntiero, and Dorletta Flucas Payton-Ekei Abasi Ntiero, hold notable profiles and backgrounds, reflecting a rich tapestry of achievements and community service.
The event showcased the cultural richness and acceptance within Efik traditions, providing a blueprint for other families to embrace and welcome those seeking to reconnect with their ancestral roots.
The ceremony was not just a symbolic adoption but a deep and sacred initiation into the Efik family, reinforcing the spirit of inclusivity and cultural unity.
The ladies expressed their commitment to continuing their support for the Efik culture, promising to fly in from across the globe to participate in future cultural events.
As they embark on this new journey, the Obong of Calabar encouraged other families to follow the path of openness and embrace individuals eager to reconnect with their ancestral heritage.