They say that “Jaja”, born Jubo Jubogha, came to their lands at a very tender age. But by the age of 12, his business skills spoke far more than words for him; he earned his freedom from slavery and soon became an economic force to be reckoned with. A smart young man; he learnt the ways of the Ijaw culture, established a house that became an empire and earned such respect that the early British traders called him a king. “King Jaja of Opobo”, a historic Nigerian figure, is a testament to what sheer determination can do for a man.
He was determined to earn his freedom from slavery, determined to be the oil palm trader the world talked about, determined he would stand as the only way through which the British could do any business in the Ijaw/ Urhobo/ Itsekiri kingdoms. Upon his capture and exile to the West Indies, he was determined to regain his freedom, and determined to return home to his people. On his return journey to Opobo, during which he died, his people were determined to have their leader buried on their own soil. Against all odds, the Opobo people today are determined to keep the legend going, and the house of Jaja remains standing till this day; such that any bearer of the title “King of Opobo Kingdom”, is a traditional ruler of great esteem and ranking in Nigeria, and possibly beyond. If a 12 year old child could buy his own freedom, then anything is possible with determination. If a total stranger could learn a foreign culture, twist and earn his way to becoming the head of another man’s land, then with determination, we can turn around whatever obstacles stand in our way into our personal victories!
Determination, simply put, is firmness on a purpose. It requires of us that we are resolute to achieve a goal. If the goal exists, then it can be accomplished. Persistence and hard work always pay off. If you keep hitting at a rock hard enough and for long enough, it will eventually crack. Determination bears the fruit of its reward in time…