The filmmaker announced on Friday March 25, via Instagram that the new biopic will take on an authentic perspective of the famed king who founded the Opobo kingdom.
“Myself and @ramseynouah are proud to announce that we have acquired the rights to tell the famed story of King Jaja from an authentic perspective, having the privilege of sitting with King Dandeson Douglas, Jeki V (5th on the throne) during the sesquicentennial celebration of Opobo Kingdom. We can say we have the authentic account of the eventful life of King Jaja and we are set to tell it in a gripping way as you all have come to expect from us”, Okpaleke wrote.
Okpaleke’s latest announcement comes months after confirming the acquisition of rights to produce a biopic based on infamous kingpin Shina Rambo. The Play Network boss revealed that he held a meeting with Rambo who is currently an evangelist, before securing the rights.
King Jaja of Opobo
There are several accounts of the 19th century king’s life and death but one thing all the accounts agree is that he was among the first monarchs to resist British colonialism and died trying.
Sold into slavery at age 12, Jubo Jubogha rose in ranks as a politician and merchant prince heading the Anna Pepple House, a merchant faction of Bonny Island.
A major dispute later led Jaja to establishing a settlement which he named Opobo in 1869. As king, Opobo dominated the palm oil trade business and traded without British interference.
Events took a nosedive when the British moved to claim Opobo after European powers declared it a British territory. King Jaja refused to concede power or cease taxing British traders.
In 1887, Henry Hamilton Johnson, a British vice-consul invited Jaja to a smokescreen negotiation. King Jaja was later tried in Ghana and sent off on exile first to London then later to the West Indies.