GOV. ROTIMI CHIBUIKE AMAECHI REITERATES COMMITMENT TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF KALABARI KINGDOM AS HE FELICITATES WITH THE AMANYANABO OF KALABARI KINGDOM KING PROF TJT PRINCEWILL ON THE OCCASSION OF HIS 80TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS
Buguma City the Headquarters of Asari-Toru Local Government Area in the Kalabari Kingdom of Rivers State was agog with festive fare on Saturday 20th of February 2010, as it played host to the crème de la creme of Rivers State and its environs at an event marking the 80th birthday celebration of its reigning monarch King Prof T.J.T. Princewill, Amachree XI, the Amanyanabo of Kalabari.
Dignitaries present at the occasion included the Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and his amiable wife, Dame Judith Amaechi, Executive Secretary ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas; the Ghanaian Ambassador to Nigeria; former President of the Senate, Rt. Hon. Adolphous Wabara; Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Tonye Harry; members of the Rivers State Executive Council; Captains of Industry, foreign partners etc.
In his opening remarks the chairman of the occasion, Alabo T. O. Graham-Douglas- three time minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria-, charged the Amanyanabo to continue to focus on areas of Kalabari unity and patriotism; infrastructural development of the Kalabari Kingdom, socio-cultural rejuvenation, industrialisation and commercialization through resuscitation of the Kalabari trading expertise and establishment of a sea port. He further highlighted the neglect of the area and spoke on the ongoing marginalisation to excise the oil producing communities like Kula, Abissa, Idama, Soku and Elem Sangama from the Kingdom and called for more unity of purpose among the elites in the Kingdom to arrest the trend.
Speaking at the occasion, Governor Amaechi decried the slow trend of development in the Kalabari Kingdom, stating that by 70/80s the Kalabari Kingdom had produced the highest numbers of Lawyers and Medical Doctors in the State and instead of maintaining the trend there had been a reversal in recent years with majority of the youths in the area resorting to bunkering and militancy, which in themselves are acts that mitigate against any form of development in the area. He urged the Amanynabo and others to plead with their youths to turn in their guns as records shows with the latest killing of one Mr. Briggs alleged to be an indigene from the Kalabari Kingdom in armed robbery act after been granted amnesty by the Federal Government as a militant demonstrates that most of the youths from the area are still keeping their guns to the detriment of development of the State. He pointed out how some of these youths harass Contractors who operates within the Kingdom. He emphasized that he is very interested in the emancipation and development of the Kalabari Kingdom but development cannot come to the area under situation of insecurity.
Governor Amaechi also used the opportunity of the occasion to formally congratulate King Prof TJT Princewill on his appointment as the Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers and urged him to be prepared for the challenges that are the hallmark of such an esteemed office. He presented a birthday gift of a land cruiser TLS Jeep to the King on behalf of the Rivers State Government.
The Celebrant in his remarks thanked Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi for his appointment as the first Monarch of kalabari extraction to Chair the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers. The King lamented the consequences of insecurity in the area and stated that 2003-2007 was the years of 'darkness, backwardness and Annihilation' and commended the Federal Government for the Amnesty package and urged the government to see to the successful conclusion and implementation of the Amnesty package.
The King expressed his appreciation to the Governor for awarding the Trans Kalabari Road project and for also pledging to award the Ring Road project before year end to boast economic activities in the Kingdom. He went on to request for government intervention in the following projects, Gas Turbine Sub Station at Abalama/Tema junction; Buguma Shore Protection by NDDC and the Buguma Drainage project. He also commended the Governor for the recognition accorded the Amanyanabo Stool of Kula.
A major highlight of the occasion was the unveiling of the commemorative statue of the late father of the Amanyanabo, King Jacob Tom Princewill, Amachree VII by Governor Amaechi.
The late Amachree VII was born in 1884. He began his reign in 1932 until his death in 1960. The grand child of the late King JT Princewill, Prince Tonye Princewill the Rivers State AC and organized opposition Leader in the State speaking at the occasion, thanked the Governor for honouring his father and for also honouring his grandfather. Prince Tonye revealed in his speech, that like him, his grandfather was active in politics under the umbrella of the NCNC. He was also actively involved in the committee that led a delegation to the House of Commons in the UK to agitate for the country's independence. Prince Tonye also revealed that his grandfather was a pioneer product of Missionary education in the region and founded the Kalabari National College (KNC) the first indigenously owned secondary school in the old Rivers State, made famous for its role in shaping the lives of people of different ethnic nationalities in the region who rose to later become the key players in the agitation for Nationalism in the country.
Delivering the Vote of Thanks, Justice Karibi Whyte thanked the Governor and all other dignitaries present for making the event a memorable one. He prayed that the event which had the best of Kalabari culture and hospitality on display, would mark the beginning of the rebirth of a stronger, virile, vibrant and more united Kalabari Kingdom
Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze
Rivers State AC Publicity Secretary.