The People Of Ikot Ishie an Igbo Diasporic Town In Calabar
Ikot Ishie, Calabar was named after Ishie Offiong Okoho, an Igbo ex-slave of Chief Offiong Okoho of Archibong House in Duke Town. Oral tradition maintains that Ishie, an Igbo slave who worked as a skilled blacksmith for chief Offiong, was bought as a youth and grew up in his masters' household. He was adopted and acquired the name Offiong Okoho from his master, Chief Offiong Okoho. Having served his master faithfully, Ishie Offiong Okoho was manumitted and was allocated the whole expanse of land (consisting of Ikot Ishie area) to live and prosper on his own.
[Apparently, Ishie Offiong Okoho also became a wealthy trader during the slave trade era, obtaining his slaves from the interior of the Igbo area to his domain of Ikot Ishie.
Beside the present Bassey Duke, Bedwell, Chamley and Nelson Mandela axis, Ikot Ishie has the highest concentration of Igbo community in Calabar. [N]inety percent of traders in the Ikot Ishie market are of Igbo extraction, and [speak] Efik though they have not lost contact with their original homeland. The Igbo at Ikot Ishie have been, and will remain, part of Archibong House.
Chief Ishie Offiong Okoho apparently died in 1901 according to the recounting of the Ishie House's genealogy .
Photo: "Government Hill from Duketown, Old Calabar," 1903 postcard.