By Archibong Jeremiah
The last of the surviving highlife kings and musical kings of Cross River origin, Mr. Darlington Offiong is dead.
Mr. Darlington died at about 2:25am on Friday 21/06/2019 at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) after a brief illness. According to his son, Mr. Edem Darlington, a Premium Times journalist,
Known by his stage name Darlington Duke, he was the leader of the very renowned Cross River National band that made waves in the 70’s and drove a lot of national and international visitors and highlife livers to Cross River State.
Mr. Darlington Duke was also the band leader of the very popular LUNA Nite club. LUNA Nite club rocked the city of Calabar in the 80’s until early 2000’s when the club shut down.
He sang with most of the greatest highlife maestros in Nigeria including Rex Williams, Osadebe, Victor Uwaifo and was at a time the leader of the Jim Lawson’s band.
In 2013 he released a six (6) track album titled ‘Ekpenyong Ita special’ which he dedicated to Mr. Ekpenyong Ita, the former Director General, State Security Service – SSS. He later formed the golden tones band in 2015.
Mr. Darlington Duke was the last surviving highlife kings of Cross River origin in the likes of renowned late Inyang Nta Henshaw, Bustic Kingsley Bassey, Peter Effiom, Prince Nico Mbager, Ekpe Ita, Demmy Bassey etc.
Darlington was very instrumental in encouraging numerous other young musicians including the late King Zoro Boy.
Until his death he was the presenter of the popular radio program ‘Highlife is Alive’ aired on the Cross River Radio -CRBC.
He will be remembered by his many hit tracks both in Efik, English and Ghana.
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