Special remarks by His Majesty, King Edward Asimini William Dappa Pepple III, CON, JP, Perekule XI, Natural Ruler and Amanyanabo of Ancient Grand Bonny Kingdom, at the MOU signing ceremony for the Bonny Consulate building on December 11th , 2020
About a year ago, the ground-breaking ceremony was performed here in Bonny, for the construction of an iconic Consulate Building by the Traditional Leadership of Bonny Kingdom and the Management of Nigeria LNG. That ceremony was to kick-start the choreographed replication of the old consulate building, with its rich history and importance.
Today, we are gathered again, in high spirits, to witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding that would propel the construction of the Consulate Building, which has the potential to drive the much expected and needed diversification of the economy of Bonny Kingdom through tourism.
A few years ago, when we conceived the idea of the reconstruction of the Consulate Building, we believed that it had the potential of becoming the hub for tourism in Bonny Kingdom with its expected huge earning for the kingdom.
It is for this reason that we are indeed very appreciative of the acceptance of this our initiative by the Nigeria LNG and the steps being taken to actualize this monumental stride.
All over the world, tourism is a strong economic activity which contributes fundamentally to the growth of the economy of a nation, state, or community. Apart from the capital that it brings into an area, it also creates jobs. Tourism is acknowledged today as one of the fastest growing industry in the world. It creates employment, brings additional income for the people of the communities, leads to diversification for the economy and creates new opportunities.
Bonny Kingdom is blessed with a natural deep-water seaport, which made us a trading post for national and international exports, even before the colonial area. Beyond our vantage position, Bonny was also the entry port of Christianity in the Niger Delta. The St. Stephen’s Cathedral was Consecrated in 1889 as the first Anglican Church in the Eastern Region, while the Consulate Building was erected in 1897, making Bonny the first seat of British colonial administration. It was from this building which housed the District Commissioner, a doctor, police officers and several other colonial officials, that the British governed and sustained its relationship with other colonized areas.
Over the year, Bonny kingdom has accommodated heterogeneous investors who explore and exploit the land. Their activities have left us with the risk of losing our unique cultural heritage. But all that is about to change with our cherished cultural heritage given a further boost with the construction of the Consulate Building and our present status as the energy corridor of Nigeria, Bonny should be a destination for tourists and tourism. It is for these reasons that we appreciate the significance of this building in the development strides of Bonny Kingdom as it will help keep the memoirs of its ancient business history.
The Consulate Building is proof of the active involvement of the British in the internal affairs of the Kingdom in the 19th century, following the favourable business clime they found here, as they related with us. The story has been the same ever since with Bonny providing that cordial climate which every business concern needs.
We have high hopes as a kingdom that the replication of the Consulate Building would not only bolster our tourism potential but would also enable our kingdom to proudly keep alive the memories of its ancient history.
Once more, let me acknowledge and highly commend Nigerian LNG for setting the pace for our advancement to a modern and economically viable society, through its sterling Corporate Social Responsibility activities in the Kingdom. They have left no one in doubt of their desire to remain a valuable partner in the development journey of this kingdom.
We appreciate this partnership, as we have had a history of intersecting with several stakeholders with varied commercial interests since the 15th century, when Bonny became a major trading post in the Eastern Delta and a gateway to international trade with the arrival of the Portuguese on our shores.
We are greatly delighted to be part of this MOU for the reconstruction of the Iconic Bonny Consulate Building as a gift from Nigeria LNG after 20 years of safely doing business in the Kingdom and presently moving on with its Train 7 project. We also commend Julius Berger Nigeria Limited for being very visible in Bonny and for its expertise in handling the multi billion Naira Bonny-Bodo Road which is funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria and Nigeria LNG.
On behalf of the Chiefs and the good people of this ancient Kingdom, I most sincerely thank the Board, shareholders, and Management of Nigeria LNG for positively impacting the Kingdom in many ways of working fervently with us to retain Bonny Kingdom’s status as a harbour of great value.
We also thank the Management of Julius Berger for being a worthy partner in this great idea of cultural rebirth.
We assure you of a continued cordial relationship, as we collectively work to keep both the kingdom and the businesses here prosperous now and always.
Thank you for the honour to our kingdom.