Legendary Prince Agbenyeba Maliki Azyjidoku: An heir apparent to Abisekuship institution from Awakpoko super clan of Abinsi of Awanu Nation
Hajiya Ayikowazyi Egwa Bako is legendary Maliki’s first grandchild
By HRH Sabo Azyjidoku Emmanuel
The fact about history is that, it is revelatory. This is not a gambit per se. It is neither nor a ramble. This is an outright revelatory insight about an iconic Rambo, prudently sagacious, benign with the milk of human kindness; in the passage of time, who deserves honour and respect. Though the Dead don’t celebrate; their works, deeds are epitaph, metallic- engraved in people’s minds. Therefore, it is an obligation that, constantly, people need to be conscientized about the legends of times.
Legends are purely about people or events in the past that are being remembered in this ageing society. The twine-chain-like union between Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow is the joy of connectivity in the relationship. Yesterday begets Today and Today begets the endless infinite infinity Tomorrow’s horizons. Historiography, therefore reminds the people about archaeology, anthropology etc that lived on since antiquities.
This analysis or statement of facts, as there is in every human society, there are certain personalities that cannot be forgotten within a twinkle of an eye, or their value, their worth be dismissed with a wave of hand. Measuring their immense contributions over times to their societies, such distinguished personalities are often immortalized and classified as Legends. Realizing this as a leading light, this idolized, very charismatic leader per excellence, a motivational crowd moving speaker, a man of eminent good sense and non discriminatory, a great Admiral of the Fleet, Prince Charming, with the basic decencies of civilized society, will ever be remembered throughout ages. Today, we celebrate our own, the ever living Legend, (Adeya), Prince Agbenyeba Maliki Azyjidoku, of blessed memories.
Manu Agbenyeba, popularly known as Maliki, a man of outstanding ability, very easeful, was one of the first borns of King Azyjidoku, the Abiseku of Abinsi. I distant myself from any form or manner of exaggeration and flattery. For I wasn’t there when my uncle Adeya Maliki was alive. Today, some persons can tell or bear witness to certain situations either read from the books, or such informative details got to us through some oral traditions. And sometimes, such events, individuals, we had the privilege of sharing in their experiences. Right. I belong to the group, the unprivileged, that did not see the Legendary, prince Maliki, the high born of the Awakpoko super clan of the Awanu people. He was said to be light complexion, tall, thick set, with an intimidating radiant handsomeness. He was a man full of influence and affluence of the aristocrat. As a prince, Maliki exercised and exerted enormous powers and influences even beyond the threshold of his father’s territorial borders. Indeed, there is something great in a name. Abdul Malik, which is the name proper, comes from one of the Semitic languages of which the Arabs and Jews belong, connotes–the servant of the Omnipotent (Powerful) God. This name might have been the source of his inspiration, strength, vitality and fame. This name ignited the unlimited aura of potency in his relationship with the people he came in contact or interacted with. From the Great Onitsha Market, East of the Niger, to Adamawa and even beyond the Nigeria-Cameroon borders; Maliki’s name was heard and respected. His ever towering colossal influence, dwarfed and submerged those of his contemporaries. His sense of judgment, his sincerity and simplicity endeared him to so many people across board.
When their father died in 1928, Adeya Anyatikpo Azyjidoku, who ranked primogeniture, lieutenant by Maliki and a few others, were of good age. A good number of the half-brothers and half-sisters, were at the tender age of the juvenile rankings. Being a man of compassion and responsibility, with the combined support of his elder brother, Adeya Anyatikpo, both worked harder for the comfort of their siblings. Practically, this kind of brotherly affection or attention is rare; is muted nowadays, as individualism has replaced communalism. These first borns did not discriminate on the basis of children of/from the other mothers. Their half brothers and half sisters never called the duo, and by extension, any of their elders, names too direct, they would say “Ashuwom”-meaning my elder, then the names would come next. This was entrenched to give reverence to the status of elders of the brotherhood. This was maintained throughout their stay before they were all called to glory.
And because the younger ones were many and under aged, some had to be fostered or adopted in their maternal, paternal uncles, aunts or grandparents’ homes. All the same, Maliki under the instructions of their elder brother, Anyatikpo, saw to the comfort of their half-brothers and half-sisters any where they domiciled or sojourned, by giving them sympathetic treatment.
Manu Maliki who was the Anchorman of the popular “Akuzyji” fishing expedition saw to it that some of the brothers, especially, who were relatively of the industrial fishing job were co-opted into the process. Those other brothers who could not go, would wait for the returnees of “Akuzyji.” As soon as the news filtered through the neighborhood about their return, the brothers and sisters from fostered homes would assemble in their family house and welcome the returnees. That was the joy, the ecstasy, the true sense of belonging, when communalism was the basis of livelihood.
Obviously, it will not be out of place to state that the charismatic Maliki has gone away with his stirring charming qualities. His biological children did not inherit this gallantry posture. A thorough observation has revealed that most of his children, especially the males, suave prince Akoshi Anyatikpo his nephew, were introverts. They were very quiet and reserved, a sharp contrast to/of the man Maliki, who was an extrovert, who was said to be lively and confident, a crowd-pull- manager, an enterprising and a very caring personality to the core.
Legend has it that, at the departure time for “Akuzyji” fishing expedition or adventure, all the ascending and descending sailing boats to and from, had to wait for prince Maliki’s team or regiment to sail pass first. It was an interdict, no matter the distance, all the sailors ahead at the on- shores must drop anchor. This, was not an intimidation and there was no refusenik. It was just about the man, a good leader of his people. The fear of being disrespectful to law and order was enough fear itself. And so, there was orderliness and all went well.
Today, on close watch, one can find traces of Pa Maliki’s compact aura, attributes, traits, charisma, philanthropic dispositions etc with some of his grand and greatgrand children, in persons of Ayikowazyji, Emmanuel, Bawa, Sunki, Tony, Toma, Dan-Asabe, Usman, Adanwo, Gowon, Ashoke, Babanuman Abdulmumuni, Zainab, Khalifa, Maryam, so many and too many to mention.
Pa Maliki’s popularity could beat the imagination of any mind. He was not a King, not a prince Regent, but a Princeling, that he was, he was able to pull crowds of people for/to himself. He was unlettered, but was literate enough of the civilization of the times. Interestingly, Pa Maliki romanced intimately with even non Jukun speaking people. Particularly, most Jukun influenced groups of the Benue Trough, including Hausas, were his friends. And based on these over whelming and domineering influence and powers it was even rumoured and speculated that he was going to be the next Abiseku. But very unfortunately, time, fate, providence and other circumstantial barriers, could not permit him to feel the ecstasy of the regal splendor of the palace. Death snatched him away before the Regency period, in Abinsi. May the souls of the departed rest in perfect peace. Amen.
This piece is to rewind our memories, to remind us about one of the illustrious sons, elders, fathers of Abinsi, of the heir apparent to Abisekuship stool, of the Awakpoko super clan of Abinsi. Pa Maliki was one of the leading lights, who ever lived. His contributions were enormous in terms of human capital development and resources, his philanthropic disposition, his sense of good judgment, his romantic overtures to many people, his passion for law and orderliness, yada yada yada. Adeya, Prince Agbenyeba Maliki Azyjidoku, sleep well and continue to rest in perfect peace. Amen.
Awakindo, wa ka pyweh, kooh, Adeeyaa!!