HRH (Dr) Taalor Tornwe IV, Mene Bua Boue Kingdom
South South Chiefs, Elders and Opinion Leaders Association of Nigeria recently paid a courtesy visit to the Palace of HRH King (Dr) Ambassador Taalor Tornwe IV, newly appointed patron for Rivers and Bayelsa states.
HRH Mene Dr Taalor Tornwe IV, Mene Bua Boue Kingdom is the assistant general secretary of the Supreme Council of the Ogoni Traditional Rulers, Khana Area Council of Traditional Rulers PRO, member, Oil Bearing Communities of Nigeria, TRACOM, chairman Board of Trustees, Khana Area Council of Traditional Rulers.
National Point’s Gift Jonah had a few questions for the monarch.
Today is a courtesy visit to your palace and as you can see people gathering, the South South Chiefs and Elders are all here and there is award presentation to you, so how do you feel about this?
I feel delighted because I never expected that I will be chosen from among other traditional rulers in Rivers State to be the patron of the South South Chiefs, Elders and Opinion Leaders Association of Nigeria for Rivers and Bayelsa states. I thank God and I assure them I will not fail them. I will do my best to portray the organization to make sure that they meet their needs, their objectives, and the purpose of the organization.
The aim of coming here today is the vision of a better Niger Delta, so what do you think are the things we need to address, some of the issues of the Niger Delta in terms of what we are seeing today, the oil spills, the trouble in the Niger Delta. As you can see some of the oil companies have made the Niger Delta a mess concerning the pollution in the areas, you can see what is happening, how that has caused poverty in the communities.
High Chief Omubo Harry (right) presenting the Patron’s certificate to HRH Mene Taalor
Number one thing that I should address is the unity of states in the Niger Delta. If the Niger Delta states come together to solve the issue of poverty, we are the people producing the wealth of the nation but we are in poverty because we are divided. So I have seen this body as a body that is fostering unity among the Niger Delta states. I believe that this body would be able to bring us to our promise land.
If the unity is there within the nine states, I think we would achieve our aim, so am advising and appealing to them to be united and we want other organisations in the Niger Delta states to come together so that we can be able to ask and request and get our need, our rights. We have the oil, we have the money; the wealth of the nation is from Niger Delta but because of division among us, we are not getting it.
I believe that with our coming together we will get those things, so I plead that the unity should continue and this body should not end with this but should end with other organisations in the Niger Delta. I think we have to come together. The Niger Delta monarchs, chiefs, elders and opinion leaders and political leaders, if all come together, we will achieve our aim.
Now, apart from other bodies to talk to, is there any message to the government?
My message to the government both states and federal is that they should listen to Niger Delta people, they have suffered a lot, people produce the wealth of the nation but they are not benefiting, so they should see our plight and address it.
High Chief (Dr.) Omubo A. Harry JP
The National Chairman South South Chiefs, Elders and Opinion Leaders Association of Nigeria, High Chief (Dr.) Omubo A. Harry JP also responded to a few questions:
Sir how long have you been a leader to this forum?
Well, I have been a leader for more than four years.
So, is there anything you have contributed as your own input to the organization?
Yes, we have created an avenue for the less privileged and the privileged; we have also introduced loan for the needy especially the down trodden, we have introduced them, the less privileged to the philanthropists, a sizeable organization to help in education and employment and other areas.
The South South Chiefs, Elders and Opinion Leaders are here to eradicate poverty, so within our reach, we have been able to unite the six state that makes up the South South states. Unity; especially, as the traditional rulers we can’t be divided, we should speak in one voice in the interest of our masses, the interest of our subjects, so this association has done well to be able to unite and that is why we say South South.
In terms of funding, how do you cope, is there any government support?
There is no government support. We task ourselves; for example today, we are here with our patron, our national patron that covers Rivers and Bayelsa States, we also have our grand patron, King of Ibibio Land. We also have some philanthropic organizations like O.B. Lulu Briggs Foundation, whatever O.B. Lulu Briggs Foundation is doing to enhance, eradicate poverty, we are called upon. So, this is how we operate but as for government, no for now. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow but for now, no. We are also looking up to the government, because they are there on our mandate, to be able to come to our aid and partner with us because we are the custodians of these people. We know the family, we know the community they belong to. We are supposed to be extension officers as traditional rulers, so we very much will appreciate the involvement of government with the South South Chiefs and Elders forum.
I want you to tell us what is needed to address some of the issues of the Niger Delta that are affecting lives and properties.
Yes, that is what we are already doing. First, unity; second, we have been holding seminars with our youths, educating them about what they are supposed to do and what they are supposed not to do; advising them on a crime-free society so that development and peace will reign. So we are doing our best. As I said earlier, let the government also appreciate our role and partner with us for a better society.
You said what you are doing is to eradicate poverty I wish what you are doing is clear on the mind of people out there to know that this project is to eradicate poverty in the Niger Delta?
Of course, that is what we stand for and that is what we stand to achieve, to eradicate poverty. Once poverty is eradicated, there will be less crime, less thuggery; people will not be used for political gains anymore, every person will have something to do, then they will no longer be trading with the conscience of people and that is what we are trying to do.