Book Review Chieftaincy Institution Among the Kalabari Ijaw by Chief (JUSTICE) A. G. KARIBI-WHYTE Published with Ulamba Publishers 2018, ISBN: 978-978-530-65-3-8



A Book Review is not merely a report on a book or a summary of its contents. Rather, a book review is a critical essay that evaluates the contribution of the work to knowledge on the subject matter in question. It examines the extent to which the author has established the hypothesis on which his work is founded thus revealing the strength and/or weakness of the work. In furtherance of these objectives, the book reviewer is required to think critically about the contents of the book without being uncharitable to the author because no intellectual work put together in a book could be said to be completely worthless. 

In order to undertake a meaningful book review, the objectives that informed the writing of the book, the sources of information or data relied on by the author, the contextualization of the discourse, the author’s background in relation to the subject matter dealt with and his style of presentation constitute critical materials that the reviewer must examine closely.

Fortunately for me, the learned author of the book has set out in the forward to the book, the primary objectives for writing it. According to him, the work was motivated by the following considerations: first, to fill an obvious vacuum in the literature on chieftaincy institution among the Kalabari Ijaw.

Secondly, to restore the lost esteem of the status of chieftaincy among the Kalabari and to seek to reverse its slide into irrelevance in all aspects of governance. Finally, to restore the pristine esteem of the chief in modern day Kalabari society.[1]

It is against the above defined objectives that this review will be undertaken with a view to ascertaining whether or not they have been achieved. To be sure, the learned author, apart from being a “participant observer of the Kalabari chieftaincy institution” and current Head of Wariboko Group of Houses in Abonnema, is not a stranger to research on chieftaincy institution among the Kalabari Ijaw.  As far back as 1974, he had contributed a chapter to a publication by the Institute of African Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he wrote on the title “Chieftaincy among the Kalabari: the Decadence of an established Aristocracy”[2]

[1] Forward, vii.

[2] ibid

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