Former President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Douye Diri, Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu, captains of industry and literary giants were among dignitaries at the 97th birthday celebration of King Christian Otobotekere, the Amananaowei of Tombia community in Ekpetiama Kingdom in Bayelsa State.
At the event held on Saturday at the DSP Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall in Yenagoa, former President Jonathan extolled the virtues of one of Nigeria’s longest serving monarchs.
The former Nigerian leader described the royal father, who ascended the throne in nineteen seventy-five, as a man of many parts deserved to be celebrated.
Represented by the Obanobhan of Olei (Oloibiri Kingdom) in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state, King Amalate Turner, Dr. Jonathan said Otobotekere is an Ijaw icon and role model that the state and the entire Ijaw nation owe a debt of gratitude.
Jonathan lauded the monarch for a fruitful time on the throne, which he said he used to promote social justice and the well-being of his people.
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, also expressed delight that the monarch was being celebrated while alive.
He stressed the need for Bayelsans and humanity at large not to wait until death to celebrate the achievements of humans.
While paying tributes to the Tombia monarch, he urged families to review their values so as to raise responsible children like the royal father and in order for the state and society at large to be a better place to live in.
Governor Diri noted that the gathering, which had people from different divides, exemplified the significance of love and unity that his administration preaches.
He emphasised that without love and peaceful coexistence among people of the state, development will be elusive.
While cautioning against unnecessary actions and utterances that cause disaffection among leaders of the state, the Bayelsa helmsman said he holds all leaders in the state in high esteem and enjoys a good relationship with them, including his predecessor, Senator Seriake Dickson.
In remarks, the Minister for Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu, thanked God for keeping the celebrant up to 97 years and for giving him a purposeful life.
He said having worked with his daughter, Dame Didi Walson-Jack, as Permanent Secretary of his ministry; he had no doubt that the celebrant inculcated the right values in his children.
He said the monarch has built a name for himself and urged his children to protect the legacy, stressing that it was the best gift they can give to him.