Delta Monarch confers title on Diri

Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, was on Saturday conferred with the chieftaincy title of Izon-Ibe-Sibeowei 1 of Tuomo Kingdom in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.

Conferring the title, which means “the man that carries the whole of Ijaw nation,” the Ebenana-Owei of Tuomo Kingdom, HRM Justice Francis Tabai, said after due consultation with his council of chiefs, they decided to honour the governor for being a true leader of the Ijaw people.

The event was part of the activities marking the fifth coronation anniversary of the retired Justice of the Supreme Court, who ascended the throne as the Pere Esuku I of Tuomo Kingdom in 2018.

Speaking after the conferment, Diri said he was happy to be associated with the renowned jurist whose personality cuts across the Ijaw ethnic nationality.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, Diri noted that it was a great privilege to be honoured by a legend like the retired Justice, who is highly revered by the Ijaw stock despite the artificial and administrative boundaries that balkanised the people into different states.

He, however, stated that it does not change the fact that both states of Bayelsa and Delta share similarities in language and culture.

Diri emphasised that regardless of the boundaries that separated the Ijaws into Ondo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, the people should imbibe the spirit of oneness, love and unity.

Eulogising the Tuomo monarch, the Bayelsa governor said he met him before Bayelsa was created in 1996 and had known him as one with the true Ijaw blood.

He said Tabai had always played pivotal roles silently in protecting, promoting and developing the Ijaw nation and that he was not surprised at his decision to retire and return home to be king of Tuomo.

His words: “We are celebrating a man that has added value not only to his life but also to the people of Tuomo kingdom and his state. In the days of the old Rivers State, then Bayelsa and even now Delta, we celebrated a legal icon, who is now a Royal Majesty.

“I am very happy to see this crowd celebrating the living legend and I think that other clans should copy Tuomo clan.

“The personality of Justice F. Tabai, as I said earlier, cuts across our Ijaw ethnic nationality, across the Tuomo Kingdom, and the states of Delta and Bayelsa. I believe that coming here to celebrate him puts a lot of thoughts on our minds, particularly those of us of the Ijaw stock.

“We have artificial and administrative boundaries as enunciated by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Yes, we accept them.

“Administratively, Tuomo is in Delta but by language and culture we are all ijaw people. We remain Ijaws whether you are from Delta, Ondo, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Edo or Bayelsa. We remain as one and that is the spirit that brought me here. And I believe that every one of us will continue to imbibe that spirit.”

He promised that a one kilometer concrete road will be constructed in the community and that he would consult with his Delta counterpart, Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, on issues of common interest such as a bridge to connect both states from the Bolou-Toru axis.

He equally thanked Oborevwori for carrying the Ijaws along in terms of development and appointments and appealed to him to do more, as the Ijaws had always supported and embraced leaders irrespective of tribe.

Earlier, King Tabai thanked those who graced the event, stating that their goodwill, support and love demonstrated by their presence meant a lot to him.

The Tuomo monarch said the conferment of titles on deserving personalities was in recognition of the important roles they played in the development of not only Tuomo Kingdom but also in the advancement of the Ijaws

He also acknowledged both present and past leaders of Delta in the area of human and infrastructure development, particularly the Bomadi bridge constructed by former Governor James Ibori, which he said had attracted other forms of development and enhanced the livelihood of the Tuomo people.

Speaking on behalf of other recipients, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori appreciated the monarch for the honour bestowed on him as the Ebe-di-Owei of Tuomo and promised to always identify with the traditional stool and people of the kingdom.

Oborevwori, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Kingsley Emu, described the title as a blessing from the royal father.

Also honoured with special titles were Pa Edwin Clark, former governors Ibori and Emmanuel Uduaghan as well as Dr. Barry Peregbe and Professor Andy Egwuyenga.

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