Ejagham Journal and Book (EJB)

Given the dearth of literature on Ejagham Traditional Practices (ETP) and Ejagham Cultural Expressions (ECE), there is a great need for a radical, yet constructive, documentation of all aspects of Ejagham heritage. Oral Tradition has its place, but death and memory loss call for a more durable and contemporary means of preserving a people’s history and reality.

It is a fact that several aspects of Ejagham heritage which include our tradition, cultures, customs, and values are at the risk of Erosion, Dilution, Adulteration, Misinterpretation, and perhaps Extinction (EDAME). This is influenced mainly by Modernisation; Urbanisation; Migration, especially of young people; Technology; Lack of standardisation and one-stop-shop for Ejagham Traditional Practices (ETP) and Ejagham Cultural Expressions (ECE); General short attention span in this era, etc. To address these challenges and further advance Ejagham, Ejagham Tradition Centre (EjT) is thus embarking on structured documentation of Ejagham Heritage and ideas in other to preserve, safeguard, project, and improve Ejagham people and local communities through a Journal and Book Project.

The journal is titled Ejagham Journal: An International Journal of Science, Social Sciences, and Humanities. The editorial board oversees the management and publication of this journal and the book. Here, Ejagham and Non-Ejagham intellectuals publish their research on any aspect of Ejagham heritage. This Journal is not predatory, since it is not created for academic promotions. It is simply created to preserve and update Ejagham intellectual heritage. Though, it is hoped that shortly, it shall become a high index journal where scholars around the globe can publish on Ejagham to get academic upgrading.

On the other hand, the Book accommodates all kinds of literature on Ejagham Tradition and Practices. It is titled: Ejagham Tradition and Practices. Here, contributors simply document whatever they know about Ejagham’s past and present, especially as it relates to their immediate Ejagham community. This book accommodates Essays, Narratives, Poems, Folklores, Myths/Legends, Values, Beliefs, Festivals, Cultural Displays, Culinary, Recreation, Knowledge of Nature and the Universe etc. It shall be published in volumes. This book is an open space where non-academic writers can become authors on Ejagham as well.

Submission Theme  
Theme Details  
SN Requirement Requirement Details
1 File Type

We recommended that text files should be submitted in;

a.        MS Word-compatible format, e.g. DOC or RTF (not PDF).

b.        Each figure or image should be submitted as a separate file in TIFF (for photographs) or EPS (for graphs or line art) format, though other file types are acceptable.

2 Title Page

The title page is typically the first page before the main text. The title page can include (as applicable):

a.        Title

b.        Short title (running header)

c.         Author(s) full names and affiliations

d.        Correspondence details, including email address

e.        Acknowledgments

3 Declarations

a.        All individuals listed as authors qualify as authors and have approved the submitted version

b.        Their work is original and is not under consideration by any other journal

c.         They have permission to reproduce any previously published material

d.        patient confidentiality

e.        conflicts of interest etc.

4 Main Text

a.        Abstract and keywords

b.        Body text

c.         References

d.        Figure and table legends

e.        Supporting information legend

f.         Appendices

5 Figures and Images All illustrations (line diagrams and photographs) are classified as figures
6 Figure Quality

Preferred formats for images and line graphs are:

a.        Photographic images should be at a resolution of 300 dpi at final size (whether a complete image or embedded in a combination figure). TIFF is preferred.

b.        Line art or combination images should be saved at a resolution of 600 dpi. EPS or PDF is preferred.

7

Tables

 

Tables should complement but not duplicate the text and be self-contained. Authors should use consistent formatting in the preparation of tables.

Coordinator
Fr. Dr. Felix Eja Ojong

Editor-in-Chief
Sessekou (Iyamba) Hon. Dr. Agbornduku Eret

Quality Assurance Advisor 

Prof. Alice Eta Asim

Editors & Reviewers

  • Rev. Ayamba Nkiri
  • Nta Cijeyu Ojong
  • Sr. Dr. Marie Agatha Ozah
  • Nta D. C. Ekup-Nse
  • Dr. Stephen Ellah
  • Dr. Lucky Ogbonnaya Onongha
  • Prof. E Ntui Okey
  • Dr. Kadimo Oqua
  • Ntiamba Obi Ntui

Atak Eti

  • Iyamba Ojog Etim Ojong
  • Ntunkae Ekpa
    Rep from Ejagham Cameroon

Editorial Consultants

  • Dr. Lawrence Obah Mgbangson
  • Ntufam Sen. Prof. Sandy Onor
  • Chief Igbe Aruku mni
  • HRH Ntufam Moses Obenofunde

 

surname
Other Names

 

Submissions:
Email: ejb@ejaghamtradition.org
Post: 52 Edgerley Street, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria

EJAGHAM LANGUAGE CODIFICATION

Ejagham language is spoken in more than one country. It is one of the oldest means of expression and effective communication in the world. It is a complete communication system with written, verbal, and non-verbal categories. Its written and non-verbal categories are termed NSIBIDI. This is an encrypted communication pattern reserved for initiates of the governance system, Mgbe. Nsibidi was invented centuries Before the Common Era and often likened to the Egyptian hieroglyphics. Within the verbal category, Ejagham language is made up of several dialects and subdialects, and existing in Clusters: Ejagham Qua, Ejagham Akamkpa (EA), Ejagham Etung (EE) and Ejagham Bakor (EB) in Nigeria; and Ejagham Ngunaya (ENg), Ejagham Njemaya (ENj)  and Ejagham Obang (EO) in the Cameroons.

All Ejagham dialects are mutually intelligible. But their degree of intelligibility is depreciating consistently owing to myriad factors, prominent among them is the colonial partitioning of Ejagham to exist in two separate countries and its consequent intra-national political demarcations. These political demarcations continue to delink Ejagham clusters, thereby threatening the core aspects of the heritage such as language. In addition to this, the Ejagham language is at risk of Erosion, Dilution, Adulteration, Misinterpretation and if unattended, Extinction (EDAME). 

To preserve and relink the Ejagham nation beyond the prevailing political and geographical divides, the best starting point is to codify and develop a Standard Ejagham Language Orthography. This will require a professional and objective re-membering of all Ejagham dialects and sub-dialects to realise the Orthography. This, therefore, is the cardinal objective of this project, as overseen by the Ejagham Language Codification Committee (ELCC). 

Ejagham people have long held the view that their unity and well-being greatly depend on the development of a Standard Ejagham Language for use within and beyond the Ejagham universe. EjT’s verve towards the development of a Standard Ejagham Language Orthography is rooted in the earlier attempts made by the Ejagham Improvement Union in the mid-20th century. This Union had long realized that a better future for the Ejagham people is greatly predicated on a standard Ejagham language. Sandy Onor captures it thus:

 

Other issues bordering on the wellbeing and progress of Ejagham were discussed [by the Union], amongst which included the need to systematize, standardize and popularize the Ejagham language within the Ejagham “universe” and beyond. To this end it was unanimously agreed that there should be one Ejagham under which all known dialects, viz, Etung, Qua, Kaeka, Befun, Nde, Ekajuk, Ofutop, Nselle, Nta etc [sic] would be subsumed (Onor, 2018: 18).

 

The point worth noting here is that while the vision for the development of a standard Ejagham language was conceived by EIU, the practical realization of this vision is the primacy of EjT. It is one thing to conceive a vision, it is another thing to realize it. Within the context of Ejagham heritage, an institutional framework such as EjT is the plausible nexus between theory and praxis.

Committee Members: 

    1. Prof. Stella Ansa – Chairperson
    2. Fr. (Dr.) Felix Eja Ojong – Alternate Chairperson
    3. Prof. Magdalene Bakume Nkongho – Member
    4. Sessekou (Iyamba) Agbornduku Eret PhD – Member
    5. Mr. Ekup-Nse D. C. – Secretary

 

Technical Advisers to support the committee include;

  1. Ugban Ita Akuku – EB
  2. Dr. Stephen Ella – EB
  3. Dr. Roseline Egbe – EA
  4. Nta Ekaba Bisong – EE
  5. Chief Okoro Ntoe – EQ
  6. Dr. Kadimo Oqua – EQ 
  7. Mrs. Patience Ebam – EE

EJAGHAM LANGUAGE CODIFICATION ACTIVITIES

3rd QUARTER 2022   

ELCC Technical Team Engagements with Project Consultants: Prof. Imelda Icheji Lawrence Udoh (Nigeria) and Prof. Magdalene Bakume Nkongho (Cameroon)

The ongoing codification of Ejagham Language attained a monumental milestone on 25 July 2022, when a contingent from Ejagham Tradition Centre (EjT) visited, formalized, and finalized the engagement of the eminent Linguist, Prof. Imelda Icheji Lawrence Udoh, as the Nigerian Consultant for this project. The contingent was drawn from the Project Committee (ELCC) and its Technical Team at the Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Calabar (UniCal), Nigeria. The meeting was held at the office of the Consultant, Prof. Imelda Udoh – Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Uyo (UniUyo), Nigeria. The contingent consists of:

  1. Stella Ansa – ELCC Chairperson; and Head, Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Calabar
  2. Prof. Bassey Okon: Technical Team Coordinator
  3. Rev. Dr. Felix Ojong: ELCC Alternate Chairperson; and Coordinator, Ejagham Journal and Book
  4. Mfon Ekpe Brownson: Lead Member of the Technical Team
  5. C. Ekup-Nse: ELCC Secretary
(c) EjT Media 2022, L-R: Prof. Bassey Okon, Prof. Imelda Icheji Udo, Fr. Dr. Felix Ojong, Prof. Stella Ansa, & Mr. Ekup-Nse

The meeting host, Prof. Imelda Udoh, is a widely acclaimed Linguist of local and international repute. Among other outstanding feats, she is currently the National President, Linguistics Association of Nigeria (LAN), and Council Member, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC). She is an alumnus of UniCal, where she equally lectured briefly before proceeding to become a Professor at UniUyo. Prof. Imelda Udoh is an accomplished Linguist who has studied and taught in America and Europe, among other institutions across Africa. She belongs to many professional bodies and has an admirable record of developing local languages in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States (See her full profile).

(c)Google, Prof. Imelda Icheji Udoh

The key objective of this meeting was to formalize Prof. Imelda Udoh’s consultancy role for this project. Before the meeting, she had been working on the background by providing useful data and suggestions to her professional colleagues, who make up the project Technical Team, on how to codify the Ejagham Language through a systematic harmonization of all Ejagham dialects into a standard orthography.

(c) EjT Media 2022, L-R: Prof. Bassey Okon, Prof. Imelda Udo, Fr. Dr. Felix Ojong, Prof. Stella Ansa, Mr. Mfon Brownson

On the other hand, the Technical Team engaged virtually with Prof. Magdalene Bakume Nkongho in Cameroon. She is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of English Language and Literatures of English Expression at the Higher Teacher Training College of the University of Maroua in Cameroon. Her research interests include phonology, African linguistics, ELT, Sociolinguistics.

Prof. Magdalene Bakume Nkongho.

She is co-editor of Interdisciplinarity and Transdisciplinarity: Mapping the Episteme in Language and Literature (Miraclaire Publishing,2020). She has published in national and international journals. Some of her articles have featured in Engagement with Africa: Linguistic Essays in Honour of Ngessimo M. Mutaka. (2019) Akumbu,P & Chie, E.(Eds.) Rudiger Koppe Verlag; International Journal of Linguistics and Communication 7(1),2019; International Journal of English Language and Linguistic Research 9 (2), 2021; British Journal of English Linguistics 8 (4), 2020; International Journal of English Language Studies 3 (2), 2021; African Journal of Social Sciences 11 (9), 2020.

ELCC Technical Team Proposes a Standard Ejagham Language Orthography

ELCC Technical Team has finalised the phonemic analysis of the eight Ejagham variants. They further harmonised all the variants to propose a Standard Ejagham Language orthography. This proposed orthography contains consonant and vowel sounds. The phonemic analysis of all the Ejagham variants, alongside the proposed orthography, was forwarded to the two consultants in Nigeria and Cameroon. These consultants diligently reviewed and made inputs into these documents and Technical Team is currently addressing the reviews and recommendations of the consultants.

This ground-breaking step in the project has been well captured in the first episode of the project documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFsI7FYxdNY.

To celebrate this accomplishment, Sesseku (Iyamba) Hon. Dr. Agbornduku Eret travelled from Kumba in Cameroon to Calabar in Nigeria and joined other members of the Team to preview the proposed orthography and deliver inspiring interviews on the project, as captured in the documentary (see link above).

(c) EjT Media 2022, L-R: Fr. Dr. Felix Ojong, Prof. Bassey Okon, Sesseku Dr. Agbornduku Eret, Prof. Stella Ansa, Nta D. C. Ekup-Nse

This documentary which highlights the development of this project in detail, was first premiered to the Technical Team in Calabar before it was published on EjT News Media platforms.

The Technical Team watch as EjT premier the documentary

This documentary has generated astonishing feedbacks from both Ejagham and non-Ejagham viewers across the globe.

EjT-VP Ejagham   Cameroon Present Proposed Standard Ejagham Language Orthography to President Eyumojock Traditional Ruler Association

EjT Vice President Ejagham Cameron Ntufam Iyamba Dr. Agbornduku Eret hand over Report to President of the Southwest Chiefs Conference HRM Ntufam Obenofunde Moses.

As soon as the EjT Vice President Ejagham Cameron returned to the Cameroons, Ntufam Iyamba Dr. Agbornduku Eret arranged and handed over the accomplished work so far in the codification of Ejagham language to the President of The Southwest Chiefs Conference HRH Ntufam Obenofunde Moses. Chief Obenofunde also doubles as the President of Eyumojock Chiefs Conference. The handover of the proposed Standard Ejagham Language Orthography was done on the 13th of September, 2022 in Douala Cameroon.

It is confirmed that Chief Obenofunde would be calling for a meeting of Ejagham Chiefs and Ejagham sons and daughters for official presentation of the proposed orthography. We look forward to feedback from this meeting.

 

2nd QUARTER 2022

Ejagham Language Codification Data Validation

L-R: Rev. Fr. Dr. Felix Ojong, Mr. Ogar Okang Ntui, Prof. Bassey Okon, Sesseku Hon. Dr. Agbornduku Eret, Prof. Stella Ansa, Mr. Mfon Ekpe Brownson, & D. C. Ekup-Nse @ Department Of Linguistics And Nigerian Languages, University Of Calabar During The Vali

After obtaining data (encoded wordlists and voiceovers) from all Ejagham Clusters in Nigeria and Cameroon, the Technical Team (Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Calabar, Nigeria) embarked on a thorough validation exercise of these data. Native speakers from all Ejagham Language variants, who were not involved in the data collection phase, were invited to conduct the exercise. Each native speaker validated the data obtained from their own Ejagham variant. Validators read the entire encoded wordlist and listened to the voiceover entered in their Ejagham dialect and pointed out areas of agreement or otherwise. This allowed the Technical Team to gather more information about all the Ejagham dialects and equally ascertained the reliability of available data.

This validation exercise started in January 2022 when the Technical Team met once every week in a facility reserved for this project in the Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Calabar, Nigeria. Due to the ongoing Industrial Action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Nigeria, the Technical Team increased their meeting days in order to accelerate the completion of the rigorous validation of the remaining Ejagham dialects.

Given the industrial action, these passionate experts relocated their meeting to a new venue. Here, they met in relation to their schedule with validators, often between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. GMT. In some instances, where the validation was tedious and/or the validator’s availability for the second day was not ascertained, the team often exceeded their closing time to progress with the work. The validation of each Ejagham dialect took a minimum of two days.

L-R: D. C. Ekup-Nse, Mr. Ogar Okang Ntui, Mrs. Roseline Ntui Egbe, Mr. Oben Atem Samuel, Prof. Bassey Okon, Mr. Mfon Ekpe Brownson, Mr. Oben Ebeneza Eta, Prof. Stella Ansa, &, Rev. Fr. Dr. Felix Ojong during the Validation of Ejagham Ngunaya and Obang.

L-R: D. C. Ekup-Nse, Mr. Ogar Okang Ntui, Mrs. Roseline Ntui Egbe, Mr. Oben Atem Samuel, Prof. Bassey Okon, Mr. Mfon Ekpe Brownson, Mr. Oben Ebeneza Eta, Prof. Stella Ansa, &Amp;, Rev. Fr. Dr. Felix Ojong During The Validation Of Ejagham Ngunaya And Obang.

A more challenging time throughout the exercise was on how to get the validators from Ejagham Ngunaya (ENg) and Ejagham Obang (EO) in Cameroon to travel down to Calabar, Nigeria, where the exercise was stationed. Unfortunately, as it was unforeseen, the two validators, Mr. Oben Ebeneza Eta (Ejagham Obang) and Mr. Oben Atem Samuel (Ejagham Ngunaya) arrived Ekok international boarder when it was closed due to the conflict on the Nigerian side of the border – Mfum Community. This situation not only increased their travel risks, having navigated the war-ravaged areas in Cameroon to Ekok, but significantly increased the logistics for the trip amidst the very limited resources available for the exercise in particular, and overall project in general.

This challenge was surmounted through the tenacity of the contingents as inspired by, Sesseku (Iyamba) Hon. Dr. Agbornduku Eret VP-EC, who further engineered part of their travel logistics from the gracious charity of Chief Moses Obenofunde (President, Eyumojock Traditional Rulers Association). This financial support was part of the fulfilment of the promise of support made by Eyumojock Traditional Rulers Association to this project.

Upon completing their validation exercise, Mr. Oben Ebeneza Eta and Mr. Oben Atem Samuel were treated to a tour of some historic sites in Ejagham Qua by EjT Ambassadors, Rev. Fr. Dr. Felix Ojong and Nta D. C. Ekup-Nse. It is noteworthy that the Ejagham Qua were the first inhabitants of Calabar metropolis in Nigeria. The sites visited include: The Palace of the Ndidem of Calabar; Etai Ukwa (Ancient monolith), Ntoe Ika Ika Oqua II Historical House and Museum; and the University of Calabar.

The steadfastness of the Technical Team throughout this exercise cannot be overemphasized, despite the meagre financial support from EjT. Through the indescribable leadership of Prof. Stella Ansa who doubles as the Chairperson of Ejagham Language Codification Committee (ELCC) and Head, Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Calabar, the technical team has completed the validation exercise and has progressed to the phonemic analysis of all the validated Ejagham dialects.

 

 1ST QUARTER 2022

ELCC Delivers Equipment to The Linguistics Department, University of Calabar.

The Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Calabar, Nigeria is the Official Partner of ELCC and supplies the technical skills required for this project. The department also consults with an expert Phonologist from the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria for this project. On 15 January 2022, the Ejagham Language Codification Committee (ELCC) delivered equipment to their project partners. ELCC Alternate Chairperson, Rev. Fr. Dr. Felix Eja Ojong, made the presentation. He was accompanied by Nta Ben Ntui and D. C. Ekup-Nse (Secretary, ELCC). The equipment comprised a Laptop, Sound Boosters, and 200 copies of the ELCC wordlist.

L-R: Nta Ben Ntui, Nta D. C. Ekup-Nse, Fr. Dr. Felix Ojong, Prof. Stella Ansa, & Prof. Bassey Okon

During the presentation, Rev. Fr. Dr. Felix Eja Ojong thanked the Head, staff, and all language experts who are providing their expertise to realize an Ejagham Language Orthography. He emphasized that the success of this project will be the prerequisite for the advancement of the Ejagham people and local communities. He further thanked all the generous donors who provided EjT with the resources to purchase these equipment.

Receiving the equipment on behalf of the Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Calabar, its most senior Phonologist, Prof. Bassey Okon, expressed immense gratitude to EjT for providing the equipment necessary for their technical work. She praised EjT and described the ongoing project as one needed to save Ejagham language from extinction.

‘We are appreciative of the interest in our indigenous languages because that will help the language not to die, and we don’t want any language to die, especially, our languages… We are appreciative that this committee has seen it fit to contribute to the preservation of the Ejagham language,’ said Prof. Bassey Okon.

L-R: Fr. Dr. Felix Ojong, D. C. Ekup-Nse, & Prof. Stella Ansa

Present at the event was the Chairperson of ELCC, Prof. Stella Ansa, who doubles as the Head, Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages University of Calabar. She stressed that while her Department offers the technical skills for this project, EjT owns all its products.

 

Phonetic Transcriptions of Ejagham Dialects

The Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Calabar, Nigeria, in Consultation with experts from the University of Uyo, Nigeria, have commenced the phonetic transcriptions of Ejagham dialects collated from all Ejagham Clusters in Nigeria and Cameroon. This exercise began immediately after they received the work equipment delivered to them by ELCC. As explained by these experts, this exercise is a first-phase validation of the data being worked on. Here, native speakers are consulted to examine the wordlist and voiceover of their respective Ejagham dialects. These native speakers are individuals with precise fluency in their Ejagham dialect.

L-R: Mr. Mfon Ekpe Brownson, Prof. Bassey Okon, Mr. Ogar Okang Ntui, D. C. Ekup-Nse, & Mrs. Roselyn Ntui Egbe   during a session of the phonetic transcription

As a prime project in the Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Calabar, a dedicated workspace has been created to facilitate the smooth operations of the technical team. Upon an invitation from the Head of Department, who is also the Chairperson of ELCC, Prof. Stella Ansa, on 26 January 2022, the Secretary and External Relations Executive (SERE) of EjT, D. C. Ekup-Nse, visited the workspace in the university and observed the ongoing phonetic transcriptions.

L-R: Rev. Fr. Dr. Felix Ojong, Mr. Ogar Okang Ntui, Prof. Bassey Okon, Sesseku Hon. Dr. Agbornduku Eret, Prof. Stella Ansa, Mr. Mfon Ekpe Brownson, & D. C. Ekup-Nse @ Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Calabar, Nigeria.

Reporting to ELLC and the Leadership of EjT, Ekup-Nse narrated that the zeal with which members of the technical team were handling this project is astonishing and incredible. He noted that Wednesday of every week was dedicated to the codification of the Ejagham language project in the Department. This was confirmed when, on 10 Feb. 2022, delegates of EjT, ably led by Sesseku (Iyamba) Hon. Agbornduku Eret Ph.D. and Rev. Fr. Dr. Felix Ojong visited the facility. These EjT Officials were stunned upon realizing the enormous efforts that our partners were putting in to realize a Standard Ejagham Language Orthography. Sesseku Agbornduku was invited to validate the data obtained from his Cluster: Ejagham Njemaya. Data from the following Ejagham Clusters have earlier been validated: Bakor, Etung, Akamkpa, Njemaya, and Qua. The validation of Ejagham Ngunaya and Ejagham Obang was next in focus.

Stakeholders Engagement: Updating EjT Project Stakeholders – Ejagham Traditional Rulers Councils/Associations

The Leadership of EjT embarked on a second phase of strategic stakeholders’ engagement exercise. The objectives of this update were thus:

  • Inform all Ejagham Traditional Rulers Councils/Association of the progress made with the Ejagham Language Codification Project; and
  • Appeal for financial support to facilitate the remaining tasks in the project

 

L-R: D. C. Ekup-Nse, Rev. Fr. Dr. Felix Ojong & HRH Ntufam Dr. Hayford Edet @The Ndidem’s Palace, Asim Ikang Street,  Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.

This engagement exercise commenced in Ejagham Qua when on 26 Jan. 2022 a letter of update was delivered to the Ndidem’s Council at the Ndidem’s Palace, Asim Ikang Street Calabar. HRH, Ntufam Dr. Hayford Edet, secretary to the College of Atoe, received the letter on behalf of the Council.

A similar letter of update was sent to Ejagham Akamkpa, Ejagham Etung, Ejagham Bakor, and the Eyumojock Traditional Rulers Association – which covers all three Ejagham Clusters in Cameroon.

Bakor in Focus

Royal Fathers of Ejagham Bakor Union and EjT Ambassadors @Ntara Waterside, Ogoja LGA

For a more meaningful contact engagement with our stakeholders, ambassadors of EjT, led by Sesseku (Iyamba) Hon. Agbornduku Eret Ph.D. and Rev. Fr. Dr. Felix Ojong, flanked by D. C. Ekup-Nse, met with and addressed the entire Bakor Union at Ntara Waterside, Ogoja Local Government Area, Cross River State, Nigeria, on 29 January 2022.

Sesseku Hon. Dr. Agbornduku Eret performing the ancient ritual that depicts the oneness of Ejagham at Ntara Waterside, Ogoja LGA

Speaking on behalf of EjT, Sesseku (Iyamba) Hon. Agbornduku Eret Ph.D. transcended beyond the carnal realms of mere speech delivery into the ineffable domain of heritage identity relinking. The euphoria his history-reawakening presentation rained, drained the last straw of doubt that Ejagham could ever be relinked. By way of an exordium, Sesseku Agbornduku embraced the Bakor soil to his heart, not for the love of dust, but to demonstrate an ancient significant gesture which many saw yet few understood – All Ejagham lands are one; Njagham from any Ejagham land is Njagham in all Ejagham lands. If Ejagham relinking could be summarized into a single gesture, this was it!

This meeting was historic. In the history of Bakor nation, this was the first time a complete Ejagham contingent was featured in their cluster activity. Sesseku Agbornduku who had crossed over from Ejagham Cameroon made this meeting even more memorable. Lest it is forgotten, the name is Bakor Ayukaba! The message of EjT was concise and clear. The entire Bakor received the update on the Ejagham language codification project and our call for financial support to progress with the remaining stages of the work. While sesseku spoke, some Bakor people shed visible tears. How they felt is simply how one feels during the first-ever family reunion. ‘At Last They Met.’

Responding on behalf of the Bakor Union, the eminent Ntol Atol Julius Ayate expressed profound gratitude to God and Ejagham ancestors for allowing their dream of relinking with their Ejagham kindred to become a reality. He restated Bakor’s commitment to ensuring the Ejagham Language Codification Project is successfully executed. In very concrete terms, he assured EjT that the Bakor Traditional Rulers Council would meet and decide the financial support that Bakor shall contribute to this project.

Visit to Etung

EjT Ambassadors with the Paramount Ruler-Elect of Etung LGA @Etomi Community, Etung LGA

On 30 Jan. 2022, the indefatigable itinerant EjT Team proceeded to meet with the Paramount Ruler-Elect of Etung Local Government Area, Cross River State, Nigeria, HRM. Ntui-Atui Raphael Ekuri Agbor. The meeting took place at his residence in Etomi Community. This was the first time EjT was officially introduced to him. As always, Sesseku Agbornduku updated him on all EjT projects, with emphasis on Ejagham Language Codification. Ntui-Atui could not contain his excitement over what EjT was doing and immediately proposed an extraordinary meeting between EjT and his Council. According to him, the message EjT has delivered to him was too significant for his reception alone. In his own words, “I want all my council members to hear all these [EjT Updates] with their ears.”

After consulting with his Council, Ntui-Atui scheduled the meeting for 9 Feb. 2022. EjT Contingent departed Etomi on the same day and proceeded to another meeting with the Traditional Council of Akamkpa Clan.

Visit to Akamkpa

EjT Ambassadors with the Traditional Ruler’s Council of Akamkpa Town in Akamkpa LGA

On 30 Jan. 2022 the sojourning EjT Team met with the Traditional Council of Akamkpa Clan, under the leadership of HRH, Ntufam (Barr.) Paul Ogar Njar. They received the update from EjT with immense gratitude and pledged to offer, among other things, financial support as a clan, to demonstrate their commitment to the cause of relinking Ejagham. The Clan Head stressed that the unifier of a people is a common language and to realize a Standard Ejagham Language Orthography would mean the acquisition of Ejagham unity and development instrument.

Return Visit to Etung

EjT Ambassadors with the Traditional Ruler’s Council of Etung LGA at Effraya, Etung LGA

In keeping to his promise, the Paramount Ruler of Etung Local Government Area, HRM. Ntui-Atui Raphael Ekuri Agbor extended an invitation to EjT for an extraordinary session with his Council on 9 Feb. 2022. The meeting was held at the Etung Local Government Council Headquarters, Effraya. Ntui-Atui and his cabinet were stunned by the work EjT was doing. As always, Sesseku Agbornduku and Fr. Ojong appealed to the conscience of Ejagham Etung to translate their excitement over EjT to a commitment that will help EjT realize its projects that are aimed at the well-being of all Ejagham people and Communities across the globe.

EjT Ambassadors with the Executive Chairman, Etung LGA, in the company of the Traditional Ruler’s Council of Etung LGA @Effraya, Etung LGA

In his proactive manner, Ntui-Atui progressed to introduce EjT to the Executive Chairman of Etung LGA, Hon. (Comrade) John Nkom Etuk. This ushered in the second phase of the meeting at the Etung LGA Headquarters which was attended by members of Etung traditional rulers Council as well.

The Hon. Chairman was quite pleased with everything EjT was doing and picked into the Ejagham Language Codification Project by pledging a financial donation from his Council. The Chairman went on to propose that all Chairpersons and Mayors administering Ejagham inhabited areas should donate to this language project. He offered to not only set the pace with a pledge but extend an invitation to his colleagues in Government to help EjT achieve this noble dream earlier conceived by Ejagham sages such as the eccentric Ndidem Ika Ika Oqua through the Ejagham Improvement Union.

 

2021 IN REFLECTION

It is a fact that language is the primary identifier of a people. Ndua Ntufam Dr. Stephen B. Ajom stated that ‘Language, therefore, can be a definite factor in uniting all the Ejagham people for socio-economic development.’ EjT identified Ejagham Language Codification as its flagship project for this and other plausible reasons.

Ejagham Language Codification Committee (ELCC) was constituted in April 2020 saddled with the responsibility of actualising the codification of Ejagham language so that Ejagham language could be included in schools’ curriculum across Ejagham nation.  Prof. Stella Ansa leads the ELCC as Chairperson, Fr. Dr. Felix Eja Ojong as Alternate Chair and Nta D.C. Ekup-Nse as Secretary, and has members from all Ejagham clusters.

Prof. Stella Ansa. Chairperson: Ejagham Language Codification Committee – ELCC

Fr. Dr. Felix Eja Ojong. Alternate Chairperson: Ejagham Language Codification Committee – ELCC

 ELCC commenced work by engaging with all Ejagham Traditional Rulers Councils in all Ejagham Clusters. Then, the committee progressed to field data collection and obtaining Ejagham Language Codification wordlists and voice-over recordings from all Ejagham clusters.  Collection of the wordlists and voice-over recordings was made possible by the support of volunteers.

In Nigeria, Mrs. Grace Ara Ntui from Nchofang, Nta Donald Agborche from Mbarakom, Prince Dr. Kadimo Oqua from Qua and Hon. Abbey from Ikpai. Nta Mbek Ewor Abang from Bendeghe, Ugban Ita Akuku from Nkem, and Nta Ojogu from Ofutop also assisted. Others who also supported include Nta Agim Takon from Akparabong and Ms.  Joy Asong from Mbobui in Ejagham Akamkpa.

Nta Mbek Ewor Abang from Bendeghe Ekiem. He completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Ejagham Etung.

 

Ms. Joy Asong from Mbobui. She completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Ejagham Akamkpa.

 

Ugban (Mr.) Ita Akuku from Nkem. He completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Ejagham Bakor.

 

Mrs. Grace Ara Ntui from Nchofang. She completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Ejagham Etung .

 

Dr. Kadimo Oqua from Qua. He completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Ejagham Qua.

 

Pa Oba Ekum Ojogu from Osiela – Ofutop. He completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Ejagham Bakor .

 

Nta Donald Agborche from Mbarakom. He completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Ejagham Akamkpa.

 

Hon. Innocent Ndifon Abbey from Ikpai. He completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Ejagham Akamkpa.

 

Nta Agim Takom from Akparabong. He completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Akarabong Clan in Ejagham Etung Cluster.

In Cameroon, the Wordlist and Voice-over recording were done by Mr. Ayuk Egbe Samuel Ntui, Mr. Ndip Egbe Stanislaus Abum and Mr. Besong Benard, Mr. Egbe Alfred from Obang Ejagham. Nta Effa Joseph Ekpe and Sessekou (Iyamba) Dr. Agbornduku Eret from Njemaya Ejagham and Prof. Eku Njock and Rev. Ebot Gregory Arrey from Ngunaya Ejagham.

During the data collection phase of the project, the Eyumojock Traditional Rulers Association were exemplary in demonstrating commitment of purpose to the Codification Project. They did not delegate. They rolled up their sleeves and got the job done. Completing a 1000-word Wordlist was not an easy feat but working together, they made the exercise look easy.

Such was their commitment that Eyumojock Traditional Rulers Association was the first of all clusters to submit a completed Wordlist from all three cluster in Ejagham Cameroon.

As they say, pictures are worth more than a million words. Below are some of the pictures that tell the story of the exemplary commitment of Eyumojock Traditional Rulers Association.

 

 

The leadership of Eyumojock Traditional Rulers Association supervised the Wordlist and Voice-over recording. They include the President of Eyumojock Traditional Rulers Association Chief Obenofunde Moses and Chief Ita Jacques Ayamba as well as Chief Batae Enoh.

Prof. Thomas Eku Njock. He completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Ejagham Ngunaya.

 

Rev. Ebot Gregory Arrey. He completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Ejagham Ngunaya

 

Nta Effa Joseph Ekpe. He completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Ejagham Njemaya

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Sessekou (Iyamba) Hon. Dr. Agbornduku Eret. He completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Ejagham Njemaya.

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Ntufam Ayamba Ita Jacques; He completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Ejagham Njemaya

 

Nta Ayuk Samuel Ntui: He completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Ejagham Obang.

 

Nta Ndip Egbe: He completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Ejagham Obang.

 

Nta Besong Benard: He completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Ejagham Obang.

 

HRH Chief Moses Obenofunde – President Eyumojock Traditional Rulers Association.

ELCC has since commenced the next phase of the project. In the next phase, the committee would be ‘milling’ the rich data received into a product that would move Ejagham nation one notch further in our collective efforts to codify Ejagham language in a manner that all Ejagham nation would accept. In this effort, ELCC has teamed up with the Department of Linguistics, University of Calabar, Cross Rivers State, Nigeria.

 

Q1 2021/2022 ACTIVITIES

The Ejagham Language Codification project is still on course. We are pleased to announce a project milestone achievement; the data collection phase of the project has been successfully completed. It was a challenging experience but also very exciting, given the data that we now have and indeed the purpose for which they are meant. The wordlist and voice-over recordings from all 7 Ejagham nation clusters are now with ELCC Secretariat.

Prof. Stella Ansa. Chairperson: Ejagham Language Codification Committee – ELCC

We would like to take this opportunity to say a hearty thank you to all those who contributed in one form or another to enable this milestone achievement, especially our volunteers and yes, the leadership of Ejagham Language Codification Committee (ELCC).

What this really means is that we are commencing the next phase of the project. In the nest phase the committee would be ‘milling’ the rich data received into a product that would move Ejagham nation one notch further in our collective efforts to save our heritage. We absolutely trust the leadership of Prof. Stella Ansa and Fr. Dr. Felix Ojong, with the support of the entire ELCC members, to see this crucial phase to another successful end.

 

 Q3 2020/21 ACTIVITIES

The project is progressing through the various stages. The project team develop an Ejagham language Wordlist and distributed same to all clusters. The project is currently at the stage where the team is collating Wordlist and voice-over recordings from all clusters. Below is a summary of progress at this stage.

Ejagham Dialects Wordlist and Voice-over Recording

The Wordlist and associated Voice-over recording for all three clusters in Ejagham Cameroon and Ejagham Akamkpa cluster in Nigeria has been received by Ejagham Language Codification Committee (ELCC).  As you would appreciate, the key principles of productivity are space, mind and time, Ejagham Cameroon (CE) applied all three and the result speaks for itself. ELCC and indeed the management of EjT appreciate the exemplary commitment of Ejagham Cameroon.

We are pleased to mention that of the four variations of Bakor Ejagham dialects: Nkem, Ekajuk, Ofutop and Nselle, ELCC have received the Wordlist and Voice-over recording for Nkem. Efforts to gather data for Ejagham Language Codification through the Wordlist and Voice-over was marked by even our senior citizens giving it their all in this effort. Thanks to Ugban (Mr.) Ita Akuku from Bakor Ejagham who travelled all the way from Ogoja to Calabar to answer this clarion call to write this chapter of Ejagham history. Mr. Ita Akuku completed the Wordlist and Voice-over for Nkem dialect of Ejagham Bakor and handed both over to ELCC in Calabar. The icing on the cake was the donation of two copies of Mr. Ita Akuku’s book to EjT as his appreciation for the initiative to standardise Ejagham language. Nta Ben Ntui received the book on behalf of ELCC. The book titled The Paramount Ruler is a biography of an Ejagham Paramount Ruler – the Paramount ruler of Ogoja Local Government Area in Cross River State.

The Paramount Ruler by Ita Akuku

The Wordlist for Ekajuk has been received and the Voice-over recording is in the works. Efforts are being intensified by Vice President Bakor Ejagham Ugban (Mr.) Ibu Monkom to ensure that the outstanding Wordlist and Voice-over recordings are completed and delivered to ELCC.

Ugban (Mr.) Ita Akuku present his book to Nta Ben Ntui

Progress has also been made with Ejagham Etung cluster. The Wordlist and Voice-over recording for Southern Etung was received by ELCC. The Wordlist and Voice-over recording were completed by Mrs. Grace Ara Ntui, the Chief Financial Officer of EjT. We still await the Wordlist and Voice-over recording for Northern Etung. Nta Ben Ntui, the Contracts & Procurement Executive of EjT, is following up to ensure delivery. He is also following up to ensure the delivery of the Wordlist and Voice-over recording by Qua Ejagham cluster.

The leadership of ELCC advised that while awaiting delivery of all the Wordlist and Voice-over recording to ELCC, they will commence work on the next stage of the project with the materials received so far. The next stage of the project is to engage the necessary language experts to process the various Wordlists and Voice-over recordings.

  

Q1 2020 ACTIVITIES

This Project was initiated by the EjT Management and a Committee made up of reputable pprofessionals was constituted and inaugurated on May 2nd, 2020. This committee is known as Ejagham Language Codification Committee (ELCC), with Prof. Stella Ansa (Professor of Linguistics, University of Calabar) and Rev. Fr. Dr. Felix Eja Ojong (Associate Professor of Anthropology/Sociology, University of Calabar) as Chairperson and Alternate Chairperson respectively; Nta D. C. Ekup-Nse as Secretary; and other respected Ejagham professionals drawn from all Ejagham Clusters in Nigeria and the Cameroons as Committee members and Technical Advisers.

ELCC Leadership meet with Ejagham Akamkpa Traditional Rulers Council

ELCC is charged with the responsibility of developing a Standard Variety of Ejagham Language Orthography for use in learning institutions domiciled in all Ejagham lands in Nigeria and the Cameroons. The Reason for ELCC, its Scope, Purpose, and Deliverables are captured in the committee’s Terms of Reference (ToR) document.

ELCC Leadership with Ejagham Qua Traditional Rulers Council

 

EjT VP-EC Meet with Eyumojock Traditional Rulers Association.

It cannot be over-emphasised, however, that the development of a standard Ejagham language is geared towards more socio-cultural cohesion of all Ejagham people; giving Ejagham language a global significance; and commercial value for Ejagham language as a preservative mechanism and empowerment for Ejagham People and Local Communities (EPLC).

Ejagham Language Codification Wordlist

Following its Project Execution Plan, ELCC developed and distributed its Standard Wordlist and successfully introduced this Project to Ejagham Traditional Councils in Qua, Cameroon, Akamkpa clusters; with arrangements concluded to engage with Bakor and Etung Traditional Councils. Ejagham people across the globe welcome this project with open arms and are very enthusiastic to see it fructify.