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Bille, a tourist haven in Rivers set to have a new King

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Chairman, Council of Chiefs (left) raising the hands of the Amayanabo elect, I.N.C Herbert

Tourism investors in search of opportunities for development would soon be heading towards Rivers State for partnership, as the entire Bille community in Bille Kingdom, Degema Council, has successfully completed the rites and rituals of selecting a new Amayanabo, in the person of Igbiki-Ingeri Ngowari Herbert.

A chartered accountant, 58-year-old Herbert defeated two other persons, Alphonso Sibi, a lawyer, and Taminofiri Digbani, an engineer, at the final stage of the selection process to clinch the position of Amayanabo-elect of Bille Kingdom, Agbaniye-Jike (XVIII).

With this, the possibility of developing a new tourist haven in the area has become a reality, as the power and authority vested in the Agbaniye-Jike stool, to be occupied by Herbert, would be required for negotiations with the government, people of Bille and other stakeholders for a purposeful development.

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The veto power from such a royal stool, which the king was known for, has been missing and communities have suffered setbacks in the hands of a few individuals in acting capacity, but not vested with the powers of authority over their people.

With the emergence of a new monarch, the stage is set for major developments in the area, especially in tourism.

The communities commended the Rivers State Government and Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for the renovation and commissioning of Bille Jetty in Port Harcourt, and the weekly security vigilance team (anti-pirates), which has kept the hinterland with the coastal margins in safety against security threats. They expressed hope that the vigilance team would go ahead to secure travellers and tourists en-route Bille from Port Harcourt.

Bille Kingdom is a tourist site and despite its many years of existence, has suffered neglect, in terms of tourism development. Given the push and pull factors that attract development, Bille has what it takes to attract tourism investors with potentials for Rivers State and Nigeria at large.

Aside from being a fishing community, it has large volumes of hydrocarbon deposits as a host community to Shell BP before the emergence of Eroton Exploration and Production (E&P) Nigeria Limited and the New Cross Exploration and Production (E&P) Nigeria limited.

The demise of the late monarch, HRH Justus Henry Igolima Dappa (Agbaniye-Jike XVII) in 2009, left a vacuum in the royal house and the kingdom at large.

The 11 years absence of a king in Bille had in no small measure dragged the kingdom backwards in many areas. On a wider scale, it had hindered the people’s expectation and aspiration from being met.

With the emergence of Herbert as the Amanyanabo-elect of Bille Kingdom, the 11 years of waiting has ended in the royal house of Bille Kingdom and anarchy defeated.

As the new king is being installed, a new dawn is about to begin in Bille Kingdom. The installation is part of rites leading to the last stage of the rituals that ends with the coronation of the Amanyanabo-elect of Bille Kingdom.

It is in line with the order of coronation of the Agbaniye Jike stool, the highest exalted traditional stool of the people of the Bille in Bille Kingdom.

This is, indeed, the dawn of the new era.

-Amaike lives in Port Harcourt

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