The Pioneer of Tinkoriko, a Calabar cultural heritage, Rt. Hon. Orok Otu Duke has said the rich culture celebrated annually is to unite the Efik nations, especially the youths and those in politics.
Orok Duke added that, the Calabar Heritage is a tradition cultivated over 24 years to bring as many youths together from different locations and variety of groups together for a common course peaceful course.
“Tinkoriko It is a tradition we have cultivated for over 24 years now. It happens on the first of every January. It is something we have created to bring as many youths at different variety of groups together for a common course.
“My own idea of communalism is that, as far as you stay together, you’d have something that you share together, you participate in together; they would be that comradery which to an extent either totally or drastically reduce friction, violence, quarrel and other vices within our community.
“This is an experiment that has worked, but as an individual, few of us came together, there’s an incumbent of the government to really consolidate what we have and I can assure you that if government participate in this exercise, we will manage to drastically reduce the violence we have in Calabar South”, he said.
Duke further said, Tinkoriko was participated and performed in Calabar South alone, but this year’s edition which is the 25th has attracted other Efik Local Government Areas, LGAs. “When it started, it was just Calabar South, but now we have groups in Akpabuyo, Calabar Municipality and Odukpani. So, first of January, we all come together to play and know ourselves.
“There’s no way you’ll see yourselves and you know there’s something you share and you go back and perpetrate violence against one another. So, we want to consolidate that. Hoping that along the way, we’ll have sponsors.
“All we require is just a T-shirt, canvas shoes, jeans, interwoven it with sport, we just exercise, celebrate ourselves and go home. And hope that the memories and relationship will sustain us and keep us away from hurting one another. There’s no way you’ll meet somebody here and you’ll go back and then try to kill the person, his brother or parents.
“We pray that we can make this cheer up the community instead of keeping us apart, exposing us to be exploited by the various politicians.
“So, we try to bring as many youths as possible, both girls and boys to come together. Of course you’ll see the former Chairman of Calabar South Local Government Area, Hon. Ekeng Henshaw here. So, we try to bring in as many people as possible so that we can engender the cordial relationship that has existed before now in the community”.
Orok Duke also reiterated that, Tinkoriko is not affiliated politically, and that it is a platform to unite the political Elites on a goal for the development of the area and the state.
His words, “There’s no political undertone in it. Ekeng Henshaw is in APC, I am in PDP and we’re all here. We are dancing together, and this is how it should be. You’ll see the Governor, Senator Ben Ayade of PDP with his inscription written, same as that of APC’s Prof. Eyo Etim Nyong. We don’t care where you belong as far as we work together, let whatever you eat no affect the other person; that’s where you should draw the line. And to the extent that whatever you participate in, whatever you’re interested in does not affect the right of the other person. Then, we’ll accommodate and tolerate you.
“Tinkoriko is not sponsored by Ayade as many are saying – the heritage has been before Ayade and if it is Ayade, why is Etim Nyong that is challenging him here too, why are people wearing his T-shirts here? Last year, it was Senator Prince Otu. We have risen above political affiliation”.
Speaking on his political ambitions, Orok Duke said he doesn’t have any political ambitions come 2019. And that Tinkoriko is at will to support whoever it chooses to. “You’re asking if I have any political ambitions in 2019? No I don’t, that’s the beauty. No, I am not! I am not contesting, but that doesn’t mean I won’t support somebody.
“Even as I was Deputy Speaker twice in 1992 and 1999, House of Assembly four terms, representing Calabar, I have always played Tinkoriko. Last year, the present Deputy Speaker, Senator Prince Otu played Tinkoriko, Senator Gershom Bassey used to play and several others.
“But what we have insisted on is that, nobody can will or manipulate Tinkoriko to go one direction. We are still at liberty to support who ever we want to support, but you’d never find a situation where Tinkoriko would be supporting A or B, we’ll not limit ourselves to that”.
Hon. Duke also made clear that, Tinkoriko has existed before the Carnival Calabar, and that, the Africa’s biggest street party was distilled from the heritage.
“We were here long before the Carnival. When Donald Duke came and saw us, he distilled the Carnival from Tinkoriko. I sponsored the bill, fine tuned everything about the Carnival Commission bill, my name Hon. Orok Duke was there. We distilled the Carnival from Tinkoriko and long after Carnival, we’ll still be existing, so, we don’t need money; youths just come together, play and at the end they go home. Nobody gives anybody money”.
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