Tributes, Praises As King Baridam Celebrates 50th Birthday
It was celebration galore recently as Mene (Dr) Suanu Timothy Yormaadam Baridam, Gbenemene and Kasimene Bangha VII of Ogoniland in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State marked his 50th Birthday Anniversary and 20th Anniversary of his ascendancy on his throne with different kinds of activities.
The activities was kick-started with a thanksgiving service to God at the Salvation Ministry Church, GRA, Port Harcourt where the General Overseer, Pastor David Ibiyeomie prayed for a peaceful, purposeful and lasting reign of the monarch.
This was followed with a novelty football match between the Ogoni Stars FC and the Bangha United FC at the famous Birabi Memorial Grammar School, Bori where the Ogoni Stars FC who were spotting white jersey and parading 80% professionals made a minx meat of their Bangha United FC counterpart with a score line at 3.0 at full time.
At a point Mrs Udede Jim Opiki and “country man” Bemene Tanen who were running the commentary appealed to the Ogoni Stars FC just to entertain the spectators which included the Khana LG Chairman, Hon. Dr. Bariere Thomas and former Commissioner for Sports in Rivers State, Hon Friday Nke-ee who confessed that they had fun.
Speaking with newsmen later, the captain of the Bangha United FC, himself a professional appealed to stakeholders to help in sponsoring talented youths in football which he noted will serve as a source of income to them for self-reliance.
In pursuant to this request, the Ogoni Football Organization (OFO) officials present at the field appointed and announced the celebrant, King Suanu Baridam and the guest of honour and chairman planning committee of the occasion HRH, King Samuel L. A. Nnee as the life patrons of the body to support the organization achieve set goal.
The day three of the celebration saw the Niger Delta Youth parliament, Niger Delta students government, Pan Ogoni professionals, Rivers youths entrepreneurship and business development session having their slot at the convocation arena of the Ken Saro Wiwa Polytechnic, Bori where they all poured encomium on the celebrant as a focused, wise and intelligent monarch who has a long way to go.
The grand finale of the activities was at the forsaken and dilapidated Government Secondary School field, Luumene Bangha, Nyo-Khana District, Khana LGA.
The occasion was also used for the launching of the Bangha Kingdom Educational Endowment Fund and Bangha Ancient Kingdom consulate building fund. Over (N5m) five million naira was realized at the event which witnessed very important personalities from within and outside Rivers State including ‘uninvited’ politicians who saw the opportunity to sell their manifestoes as the forthcoming general election draws nearer.
The chairman of the occasion, Chief Nengi James who is also the Ijaw National Congress (INC)vice president was full of praises for the celebrant whom he pointed out is a young intelligent king who has the interest of his people at heart.
He maintained that the friendship of the king knows no boundry and that he can do anything to sustain a relationship in the interest of his people.
The chairman of the planning committee, HRH, King Samuel L. A. Nnee, Gbenemene Tua Tua Tai/Paramount Ruler Kpite Tai said he is happy to be associated with the celebrant whom he described as an intelligent administrator who loves his people with a passion and is determined to attract development to his area and improve their well being.
According to him, “King Suanu Baridam has made a name that will stand the test of time”.
Speaking with journalists at the sideline of the occasion, the chairman of the Government Secondary School, Luumene Bangha Old Boys Association, Chief (Prof.) Franklin Tanee said the bushy and dilapidated venue of the occasion was strategic, lamenting that inspite of all their efforts in improving the condition or drawing the attention of the authorities to the school, the situation has remain the same.
Prof. Tanee who is a lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt however said they are determined to change the situation.
Speaking with newsmen the celebrant recalled that the school is one of the legacies his late father bequeathed to them and so will be grateful if he rehabilitate it and restores its lost glory as one of the oldest established schools in Ogoniland.
In his remarks at the occasion, King Baridam expressed gratitude to God for assisting him in leading his people these past years without any skirmishes or challenges unlike in some other kingdoms and communities.
He prayed God to continue to give him wisdom and enablement to lead his people without any major challenge and as well attract development for their welfare.
Highlights of the event were the cutting of the giant birthday cake specifically designed for the purpose, conferment of chieftaincy titles and awards to deserving personalities and corporate bodies who have impacted the Bangha Kingdom as well as cultural and women groups display.