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An encounter with Anago at Seriki Abass Slave Museum



                                    An encounter with Anago at Seriki Abass Slave Museum
 13.Aug.2014  DISQUS_COMMENTS     Wale Ojo-Lanre
TOUR Guide is not a layman’s job, it is an art that requires good knowledge and understanding, just like every other person in their fields, tour guides are also professionals.
What distinguishes a professional tour guide from a quack who only finds himself in the job because of survival is easily noticed, via his approach, disposition, charisma and even the appearance.
A recent encounter with James Anago Osho at the Brazilian Baracoon in Badagry reveals him as one of the few professional tour guides in Nigeria  who is proficient in the job through passion and determination to do better
To Anago , “all these things and especially the  contributions of my  father who always forced me  and my  brothers to read history and story books in our quest for knowledge about African history, Culture and tradition made me to develop more than passing interest in this act.”
Anago Osho, a middle-aged man is many in one; he is a creative artist, historian, tour guide, drummer, dancer, artisan, writer and all these entire he does excellently.
In Badagry , Anago is always there sharing   his experience and educating people especially on African peoples, culture and history  whenever the opportunities  beckons.
 One is not sure whether Anago studied tour guide and history in school, but it is obvious from his approach and explanation, that he has mastered the modern technique of conducting tour and tourists.
To him, his love for the job is borne out of the zeal to inform the world the truth about African countries and people and at the same time change the mindset of the whites especially the western world on their “obnoxious views and perception about Africans’ history and culture.”
Telling us who is a tour guide, Anago said “ a tour guide is an ambassador who should relate with tourist in a manner that ginger interest in them and also   do everything politely to satisfy their  curiosity.
The way I approach people is to make everybody happy and enthusiastic about what they came for, the relationship between a tour guide and tourist must create an impression throughout the stay and a memorable experience.
“All tourists are the same, but it is important for a tour guide to study and observe what really interest a particular client. A tour guide must be psychological in his approach and sociological in briefing. He must take
into cognisance the feelings of his clients. “
Conducting Tribune Tourism Magazine round the Seriki Ifaremi Abass Williams National Museum popularly called Brazilian Baracoon ,  Anago painstakingly  explained  in details, the historical background of Seriki Abass, how he was captured, sold ,gained freedom and established a slave camp where captured slaves were kept before being sold to the slave masters especially Portuguese.
“Seriki Abass according to him was born in Joga Orile in Ilaro district, Ogun State. A Dhaomian who named him Abass and later sold him to another slave trader who changed his name to Williams captured him.
“Williams made him a domestic slave in Brazil and this gave him the opportunity to learn how to speak and write English, Dutch and Spanish.
“His ability to communicate in these languages coupled with his local language (Yoruba) gave him an edge over other slaves so he was returned to Nigeria where he was empowered to help his masters in the slave business, which he did successfully during his lifetime.
“He first settled at Ofin, Isale Eko and later moved to Badagry, upon his return to Badagry, Seriki Ifaremi Abass usurped the power from the aborigines and dominated the area because of his influence and wealth, which he had acquired and became the paramount ruler of the community in 1895.
“In order to expand his business, frontiers Seriki Abass also founded Ayetoro and later Idogho.
“Seriki Ifaremi William Abass was of great influence during the era, he married 28 wives with 144 children and lived in a compound with about 40 rooms and different sections, in his compound were rooms with small windows where slaves were kept before onward transmission to foreign lands.
Anago explained  and displayed   how Nigerians   were tied  and subjected to inhuman treatment and sufferings during the unholy period  which  left one with a deep  thought and a feelings for the lost souls who were helpless during the period. The descriptive expression and explanations painted clear picture of the event that transpired during the period.
Climax was reached when he showed  an old, tattered and giant umbrella, which he said was collected in exchange of 40 hefty slaves, Brazilian  plate, tea mugs for 10 slaves, Gin bottle for five slaves, Mirror for 10 slaves  and above depending on the size.
In addition, many other household items, which were used in exchange for human beings during the dark moment in the history of the blacks race were on displayed.
Seriki Abass, an accomplished slave trader was made the senior, in 1914; he was also made the paramount ruler of Western Yorubaland with Egba Corridor by the British and died on June 11, 1919.
He was buried in a Brazilian styled mausoleum built in the compound, part of which has been acquired by the National Commission for Museum and Monument (NCMM), but nothing serious to show the presence of the Federal Government at the place apart from the big signboard that shows something existed around the place.
Chief Wasiu Abass one of the great grandsons of Seriki Abass who domicile in the compound said, “the government is not ready to do anything to develop this site as a tourist centre, sometimes ago during the era of President Olusegun Obasanjo some representatives came here to see things for themselves.
“They promised to transform this place, but nothing is being done and as you can see what we are having here is a sole effort of the family through. We will not leave this place for government without any concrete arrangement for relocation and compensation”
To Anago, “whatever the situation, we have a monument here and a unique historical one for that matter. We have testimonies, articles and objects of past horrid activities of a race against another race during the dark period in the annals of Blackman history. We should not allow this to rut and ruin. We should make the best of it.”

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Seriki Williams Abass was born originally at a town in Yorubaland called Ijoga Orile. The town is in todays Ogun State in South West Nigeria. Ijoga Orile is not far from Ilaro and Abeokuta. His birth name was Faremilekun and his father’s name was Fagbemi. He was captured by the Dahomeans and became a slave at the age of six years old. The country called Benin Republic today used to be known as Dahomey. The name Dahomey was changed to Benin Republic in 1975.

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Porto Novo is a great City with a great history. It is the capital of Benin republic and is situated on the West African Coast. The word Porto Novo is a Portuguese word which means New port.
The Portuguese were the first European to settle down there. Porto Novo is also known as Ajase (Ajace) by the Yorubas, and known as Hogbonu by the Ogu.
Porto Novo was established in the 16th Century. It was a Slave port controlled by the Alaafin of Oyo. The Oyo Empire was a great empire which also controlled the Slave port of Badagry. It partly controlled the Slave port of Whydah (Ouidah) for a period before Whydah was completely taken over by the Dahomey Kings.