By Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze
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When on the 2nd January, 2009 at the lecture marking the 40th birthday celebration of his friend and “brother” Prince Tonye Princewill, the Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi made a pronouncement that the 80th birthday of King TJT Princewill (who incidentally shares the same 4th of January birth date with his son Tonye)come 2010, will be marked in grand style, little did those of us present at the event held at the Banquet Hall of Hotel Presidential have an idea of what the governor's proposed plan entailed.

It therefore came to us a pleasant surprise when on the 2nd of January 2010 a year to the day he made the remark and two days to the Amanyanabo's 80thbirthday, the governor announced the appointment of the reigning monarch of the kalabari kingdom King TJT Princewill to the esteemed position of Chairman, Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council.

By this singular act, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has yet again proven himself as a leader with integrity whose every word are reflections of his high moral standards, which has hitherto become a hallmark of his administration.

We of the Rivers State AC and Organised opposition in Rivers State would like to unreservedly express our profound appreciation for this honour done to the father of the Rivers State AC Leader who also doubles as the Leader for the Organised opposition in the state. For those who know him, the Amanyanabo's humility, unassuming mien given his academic antecedents as well as his near perfect character endears him to Royal colleagues, friends and subjects alike.

Rt. Hon. Amaechi has by this act proven that the opposition's support and identification with his administration - that has so far witnessed a meteoric rise in democratic dividends in the State- was not misplaced after all, as was erroneously painted in some quarters.

Speaking on the appointment, Chief Williams Igweh the Deputy Leader of Rivers State AC and SA on intra-party Affairs to Gov. Amaechi and Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya the Chairman of Forum of Organized Opposition Political Parties (FOOPP) and Commissioner for Special Duties who spoke on behalf of the opposition described King Princewill's appointment as a step in the right direction and a rare gift to him during his 80th birthday that comes up today, 4thJanuary, 2010. They prayed that with the peace that currently pervades the Kalabari Kingdom where he holds sway, he would bring the same disposition to bear on the State during his tenure as Chairman of Rivers State Traditional Rulers.

His Majesty, King T.J.T Princewill, an academic Professor of great repute was born on 4th January, 1930 to the royal family of the Kalabaris at Buguma in Rivers State of Nigeria. He ascended the throne of his forebears as the Amanaynabo of Kalabari Kingdom on 23r March, 2002 and recognized as a First Class Traditional Ruler by the Rivers State Government the same year he was installed as the Amanaynabo of Kalabari in 2002.

He started his academic pursuit at the famous Baptist School, Buguma in 1937 at the tender age of 4yrs and was adjudged the youngest ever in that school. He graduated in 1946. After series of passage through various other schools, he ended up at University of Leeds, England from where he obtained his Ph.D. Degree in Microbiology in 1975. He has to his credit, over 30 publications published in scientific Journals from 1965 to 1988.

He served as Head of Department of Microbiology University of Port Harcourt from 1982-1984. Dean of Students Affairs of University of Port Harcourt from 1985-1986, Dean, School of Graduates Studies, University of Port Harcourt, 1987-1990; Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt from 1991-2000. During this time he also distinguished himself as a Lecturer and External Examiner to various Universities in Nigeria.

Internationally acclaimed, he is affiliated to the following bodies; – member Society for General Microbiology (UK), Member; Society for Applied Bacteriology (UK), Member, British Spore Group and countless other societies both in Nigeria and other countries that includes Nigerian Society for Immunology, Nigerian Society for Animals Production etc etc.

Locally he has also distinguished himself and has served in various capacities which include; member of Rivers State Advisory Council from 1999-2007. Member, Rivers State Peace and Reconciliation Committee from 2006 to 2007. Decorated as the Grass Root Royal Father of the year 2005 (GRRF).

His Royal Majesty, King (Prof.) T. J. T. Princewill (JP), the Amachree X1 Amanyanabo of Kalabari, a grassroots proponent to the core, was on the 25thof August, 2007 at an epoch making event in Buguma City in Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, named the “Grassroots Royal Father of the Year” by the Silver Doors Concept Initiatives, initiators of the Nigerian Royalty Awards, a body that has distinguished itself in Nigeria by according honour to outstanding and deserveing royal fathers in Nigeria. The event was witnessed by distinguished sons and daughters and friends of the Kalabari Kingdom .

According to Alabo Opuda G. Batubo, the Kariboye-Batubo V1, a paramount chief and the Chief Prince of Batubo Group of Houses described the Amachree xi thus, “There are Kings and there are Kings. It is not sitting on the throne that matters, but being endowed with wisdom to lead; our King, like good kola nut, lasts long in the mouth of those that value it...”.

Reacting from Europe where he is currently on a well deserved break with his family, Prince Tonye Princewill the Rivers State AC Leader and the crowned Prince of the Kalabari Kingdom describes the appointment of his father as a splendid gift to his father and for him as well seeing as their birthday is shared. He expressed his gratitude to the governor for this honour, whilst reiterating his commitment to dedicating himself to greater service to the state.

In the light of what the year 2010 portends for the political landscape, we of the opposition would like to use this opportunity to assure the Governor and the people of Rivers State of our unalloyed commitment towards his provision of dividends of democracy in the state.

2009 witnessed the fruition of numerous projects – Roads, Education, Health, etc in the state. We would however like the government in this year 2010 to concentrate more on the provision of man power (Doctors, Nurses and Teachers) to man the schools and hospitals constructed so far, while the roads initiated should be completed and commissioned for use. On our part we will continue to offer criticism and serve as objective checks, monitoring Government excess as the need arises.

Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze
Publicity Secretary, Rivers State AC