Two Lebanese Become Ogoni “Indigenes”


The people of Tua Tua Tai in Tai Local Government Area, Rivers State Nigeria last Thursday rolled the red carpet as they conferred chieftaincy Titles on two Lebanese National. The event which took place at the palace of the Gbenemene Tua Tua, HRM, Samuel Nnee was marked with intense community participations.

The Paramount rulers of the six communities that form the Tua Tua dynasty; Kpite Koroma, Horo, Ueken, Botem and Gbeneue were in full attendance.

HRM Samuel Nnee was in  high spirit as he performed the traditional installation. He blended tradition with courtesy as he presented the paraphernalia of office to the Managing Director of Stemco Nigeria Limited, Mr. Gabriel Bitar. The Royal father mused over the development challenges in the area, emphasising that the sword presented to the new chief was symbolic. “There are still many forests in this area. This sword is presented to you symbolically should be used to clear the forests and bring development to Tai,”

Explaining why the title was conferred, the royal father disclosed that it was a mark of appreciation to the effort of the Stemco in the development of  Niger Delta.

“Many companies ran away during the crisis in the Niger Delta, but Stemco didn’t run away. We have been watching the activities of the company with keen interest and we feel the only way to express our sense of gratitude is to confer this chieftaincy title on them.”

Also significantly, he said the ceremony was to encourage ‘cross pollination of cultural ideas and values which promotes human fellowship and development.”

The royal father also emphasised the need for more investment in tourism as an alternative to Nigeria  mono-oil economy. He describes tourism as a potent avenue for revenue earnings.

The royal father extolled the vision of the Rivers State Government in the promotion of the rich cultural heritage of the State, through the ongoing cultural fiesta known as CANIRIV. Basically, he said the CANIRIV had become, rallying point for exchange of cultural diversities and promotion of peace in the state.

In his remark, the Chairman Tua Tua Council of Chief and Elders and Paramount Ruler of Koroma community, Chief Sunday Nsanee, said by the conferment, the Stemco MD had become a citizen of Tua Tua, and the people were happy to receive him into their fold.

Chief Nsanee added that stemco should see the opportunity as a motivating factor for them to carry out more development programmes in Tai and the Niger Delta as a whole.

Barry Mpigi, chairman of Tai Local Government Area, thanked the Stemco MD, for accepting the offer with pride and a sense of fulfillment. He said that Tai Local Government was hopeful of a working relationship with the company for the development of the area.

In his acceptance speech, MD of Stemco, Gabriel Bitar expressed gratitude to the people of Tua Tua for the honuor. The MD, Lebanese-born, and British trained executive, said he will be guided zealously by the title in his activities in Tai and Ogonland in general. Bitar bagged the title, “Mene Sitam of Tai” meaning, “the king that works”. Chief Bitar in a visibly elated spirit, said sojourn in Nigeria has finally located a root as he had become an indigene of Ogoni.

“I have been able to fine my root in Nigeria. I am now an indigene of Ogoni. I am proud of my title and will cherish it for the rest of my life’.

He called on the people of Tai to accept him as a brother and pledged his commitment to the development of the area.

Also confirmed with a chieftaincy title was Domingo BAINI, Managing Director, Mercury Engineering and Construction Company limited.

Baini also showed a high sense of excitement as he described the chieftaincy title as a mark of honour and recognition of contributing efforts contributed to wards the development of humanity.

The climax of the event includeswas traditional display and dance by the newly installed chiefs and the people of Tai.  


Taneh Beemene