Black Professor in North Carolina Becomes a Nigerian Chief

Valentine U. James is dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. Now, after a yearlong process, he is also Obong Ifiok I, or First Chief of Wisdom, for the city of Ikot Ekpene in his native Nigeria.

To become a chief, Dr. James went through a comprehensive evaluation process. All of his written work was gone over by the other 10 chiefs. He was interviewed by each of the chiefs for a period of two to four hours each. He also had to go through several rituals including visiting the grave of his great-great-great-great-grandfather.

After passing all the tests, James was installed as chief in a six-hour ceremony before more than 40,000 people in the city’s soccer stadium.