The age-long search for a King to occupy the ancient traditional stool of Bille Kingdom in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State has finally come to an end, as the people of the Kingdom have successfully elected Igbiki-Ingeri Ngowari Herbert as King after 11 years the kingship stool became vacant.
Chairman, Bille Chiefs Council, Alabo Bennett Okpokiye Dakubo, briefing newsmen on the development over the weekend said the long vacant stool has really deprived the Kingdom of its first class king recognition, being one of the oldest ancient stool in the Niger Delta region. According to him, the selection of a king to rule over Bille Kingdom is a thorough process that requires articulation in order to achieve better social economic development as well as improve the general well-being of the entire Bille people. “The entire Bille ancient Kingdom on 12th December, 2020 successfully elected her King to occupy the age-long Amayanobo vacant stool, Bille being a unique Kingdom. Our last King died in 2009 and since then, we have been searching for the right candidate because it is the highest office in Bille. Having a King will help Bille Kingdom move forward in the sense that there are certain decisions a King can take urgently which may take the Chiefs in Council long time to arrive at such a decision because every member's opinion must be consulted.”
The Origin of Bille Kingdom in terms of Kingship is quite peculiar to other Kingdoms, there is no Royal family in Bille Kingdom. Bille was founded by a Queen who left no heir. After her demise, the throne was thrown open to every male child in Bille. “That is the reason we do not just pick anyone to occupy the stool because it is vacant and we do not also dethrone a King which explains why we waited patiently all these years to have a King. It is better to delay than to err completely, for us eleven years is reasonable. We took our time to screen candidates, ten candidates were actually screened and three were selected for the final selection; they are all men of worthy character. It was difficult for the people to choose out of the three that eventually made it to the final.”
He said the Kingship process was never associated with any form of violence. “We are Rivers men and we hear what happens in other communities, how people died from gunshot during King selection, but in our own case, there was no form of chaos.”
Alabo Dokubo however noted that Bille Kingdom have been able to maintain peaceful co-existence without the presence of a King, due to the unity among the Bille Council of Chiefs and the democratic system of government being run in the Kingdom. “Bille Kingdom is known as peaceful people and the average Bille man is brought up in a background that teaches respect for elders. And so we fused together as one body. Whether there is a King or not, Bille people cannot be in crisis amongst themselves except for external aggression.
58 year old Igbiki-Ingeri Ngowari Herbert (King-elect), a Chartered Accountant, defeated two other persons, Barr. Alphonso Sibi and Engr. Taminofiri Digbani to clinch the position as the Amayanabo-elect of Bille Kingdom, Agbaniye-Jike (XVIII).