“I was tutored in Port-Harcourt, I am from the Niger Delta region and as a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, I can tell you, this King deserves a befitting burial”, were the words of the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio. The Senate President who promised to spare nothing within his reach to give the transiting King of the Kalabari Kingdom, King Prof.TJT Princewill, AMACHREE XI, the honour that he deserves, even in death.
He went on to say; “National Assembly, members will pay their last respects to the king on the floor of the Chambers ,and some-including me-will attend the burial.”
Sen. Akpabio gave the assurances when a high-powered delegation led by Prince Tonye T.J.T Princewill paid him a courtesy call at his Abuja residence. The Senate President who warmly received the Kalabari sons, took the delegation on a mental flight of his inspiration as Governor of Akwa Ibom state and how his pleasant memories while in Port-Harcourt helped develop him. He said he knew the Kalabaris well and a man of the the King’s pedigree is worthy of a befitting burial.
Earlier in his opening speech, the Chairman of the Burial Committee and only child of the King, Prince Tonye Princewill, had thanked the senate president for agreeing to admit the delegation at very short notice. Prince Princewill who said although the senate president may already aware of the king’s departure, it is worthwhile and respectful for the delegation to personally visit him to brief him on the funeral rites. He then went ahead to introduce members of his delegation to the senate president.
In his opening speech, His Highness Anabs Sara-Igbe of Kula, thanked the Senate President for the warm reception and the reason for the visit. He emphasized the historical ties between Akwa Ibom and Rivers States and stressed the need for the Senate President to be at the funeral in person as a one-time full fledged “Port-Harcourt boy”.
Also speaking, the Amanyanabo of Okpo, King Diamond Tobin-West, awakened the delegation with his past experiences with Sen. Akpabio, while expressing satisfaction with the Senate President’s assurances, but further re-emphasized the need for his presence and support.
In his vote of thanks, Chief David Briggs appreciated the Senate President for receiving the delegation without notice and making them feel at home. He further thanked him for all the promises made, saying “we will tell our people what we saw and heard here today.”
Others on the delegation were Pastor Tonye Cole, Sir Opunabo Inko Tariah and Mrs. Chinwe Ezeanya.
Also visited by the delegation was The Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III who described the passing of the King of Kalabari kingdom, King Prof. TJT Princewill as a great loss that has left behind a huge gap and very big shoes to fill.
Speaking when a delegation led by the Prince visited him, the Warri monarch said that although he was not close to the King, he was quite proud of the very good things he had heard and promised to send quite the delegation to give the Kalabari King a befitting farewell.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Burial Committee and only child of the late monarch, Prince Tonye T.J.T Princewill, briefed the King on all the funeral rites. Prince Princewill said the delegation was at the Olu’s office in Abuja to personally and formally invite him as a mark of respect and that even though he knew that he was not permitted to attend because of cultural restrictions, “the presence of the Itshekiri ethnic nationality was a strong signal”.
The vote of thanks was given by the Chairman of the media and publicity Committee, Sir Opunabo Inko-Tariah.