A 74-year old music legend, Tamunoemi Gold, who is a surviving member of the iconic Jim Rex Lawson Music Band, is now a beneficiary of a 5-Bedroom Duplex, a music house and instruments in Buguma, Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The gesture is said to be an empowerment initiative by the Belemaoil Joint Venture in collaboration with the Jack-Rich Tein Aid Foundation and Belema Aid Foundation for the advancement of music, arts and culture in the Niger Delta.
The Amanyanabo of Kalabari Kingdom, King T.J.T Princewill, represented by his secretary, Alabo Prince Dateme, who commissioned the building, said the kingdom is pleased with the donor who is an illustrious son of Kalabari Kingdom, Engr. Tein Jack-Rich, for identifying and encouraging what he described as a rare musical talent of Tamunoemi Gold.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr. Pedro Diaz, represented by the General Manager, Geo-solutions, Mr Sunday Akpaduado, during the commissioning of the building in Buguma on 28th January 2020, said the gesture was an act of magnanimity by the Founder and President of Belemaoil which coincided with his birthday.
He said the company is committed in making visible footprint in its areas of operation.
According to Mr Akpaduado; “Today is a very important day to all of us in Belemaoil and I believe, to many people here in Kalabari and other people in Rivers State. I do not know the extent of my joy. When I look back and I look at history, I believe today is a very special day. I don’t know how many people are happy today. I am directed by Engr. Tein Jack-Rich, he is our Founder, he is our mentor, he is our driver; and the Managing Director of Belemaoil, Mr. Pedro Diaz. You have heard some history about the origin of this building. Today is to celebrate the culture of Kalabari Kingdom, the culture of our people in the riverine area, the culture of Nigeria, because Kalabari is a significant place in this country by way of knowledge, by way of achievement. There are many significant people that have risen from this Kingdom, then came our Engr. Tein. Some of our projects are all over the place. We want our identity to be in all the rural communities where we dwell, where we make our money, that is the idea and I believe”.
For his part, the Manager, External Relations, Belemaoil, Samuel Abel-Jumbo, said the gesture is in recognition of the impact of the beneficiary in music, arts and culture in Kalabari Kingdom, Niger Delta, and the country at large.
“Belemaoil has a Founder/President who is very desirous in empowering humanity. This is one of such gestures that demonstrate his desire to support humanity, to empower humanity, to take mankind from a particular stage to a higher stage. Like they used to say that charity begins at home, the Founder/President of Belemaoil, Tein Jack-Rich, has started this demonstration from his home, from his kingdom, Kalabari Kingdom, from Rivers State. So we are very proud to associate with this project that was initiated by the Founder/President of Belemaoil, Tein Jack-Rich, in collaboration with Belema Aid Foundation and the Jack-Rich Tein Aid Foundation. This is not just Kalabari music, it is music as a whole. It is for the youths of the Niger Delta and youths of the Kalabari Kingdom to have access to such opportunities that will be able to re-focus, re-direct and re-channel their strength and energy into much more productive ventures and the likes of Tamunoemi Gold provides that opportunity. His generation has what they will be celebrated for what they were able to bring to bear in music and art. So, we won’t allow their generation to pass away without transmitting what they have to the upcoming generation.
“Belemaoil, while we do things like infrastructural development and buildings here and there, water provision, we also do things like economic empowerment and intellectual capacity development. So this is a demonstration that Tamunoemi Gold has created an impact, not just in Kalabari, within the Niger Delta and Nigeria at large”.
Also, speaking, prominent Niger Delta leader, Asari Dokubo, commended Belemaoil for giving the beneficiary a new lease of life by recognizing his impact in the music and culture of Kalabari Kingdom.
“For me, this is one of the greatest opportunities that have been given. Mr. Tamunoemi Gold has been resurrected, he was dead. This has not happened before. A lot of persons will say we are flattering people. If your brother is doing the right thing, you have to praise him. Shell and Chevron are the main oil companies that were operating in this part of the world in Kalabari land we have never seen something like this before now. Who would have remembered Tamunoemi Gold if not for one of his sons? So what Tein Jack-Rich is doing, and what Belemaoil is doing has never happened before. We are very, very grateful and on-behalf of Tamunoemi Gold and others like him, we want to tell Belemaoil a big thank you for what has happened and we encourage that more people should benefit from what is happening today.
“I feel like crying because I know Tamunoemi Gold. He is my cousin and lifting him out, lifting him up, is something that should enliven and excite everyone of us. Belemaoil should continue to set the pace for our people”.
For the Chairman, Interim Committee of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Rivers State Chapter, Mr. Arthur Pepple Jnr, the gesture is the first of its kind.
He said “I am here with our elder, a veteran, a legend, Mr. Tamunoemi Gold, who has just been given a very wonderful edifice by our brother and friend from the Niger Delta, Founder/President of Belemaoil, Engr. Tein Jack-Rich, a man who has been supporting entertainment business in Niger Delta and Nigeria at large. Today happens to be one of the greatest days for entertainers in Rivers State and in Niger Delta because we have not seen such an empowerment before. We say a very big thank you to Tein Jack-Rich. We say thank you and may God continue to bless you”.
The music legend and beneficiary, Tamunoemi Gold, who thrilled guests at the occasion with his musical performance, expressed gratitude to the Founder and President of Belemaoil, Mr. Tein Jack-Rich, saying it would prolong his life.
Mr. Gold said; “I’m the happiest man today in this world. I am 74 today and for me to have a building of my own especially with musical instrument means a lot. Now it has prolonged my life. I have nothing more to say but I give Ten Jack-Rich to the control and guide of Almighty God and I pray to God to prolong his life more than mine. I think I am the first person of all the musicians that have benefitted from such gesture. No musician has got such gift before now. Music has to do with passion, it is a gift from God. Music calls those who like it. There are those who just play it. But I love music and that was why I learnt it from my childhood till now”.
In his own remarks, the Amanyanabo of Kula Kingdom and Chairman, Kula Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers, King (Dr.) Kroma Eleki, (JP), the Sara XIV, commended the Founder/President of Belemaoil Producing Limited for resuscitating the ailing Akaso Cultural Society (ACS) of Kalabari Kingdom. He said the donation of the Musical House to the Kalabari music legend Tamunoemi Gold would do much to promote ACS.
King Kroma said; “I am one of the patrons of ACS, I love culture. Today, while we are thanking Tein Jack-Rich for this kind gesture we should also appeal to our young ones not to allow ACS to die. Because about four years ago when I saw some of them and I told them look, ACS is dying and they told me ACS will not die. And today by the special grace of God Engr. Tein Jack-Rich, Founder/President of Belemaoil has come to resuscitate the ailing and dying association. So, young ones, try to emulate the footsteps of Tamunoemi so that we will revive ACS”.
For his part, The Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass and former Governor old Rivers State, HRM King Alfred Diete Spiff, who was represented by Prince Iwefa Aganaba, described music as a veritable tool for economic growth.
He opined that such empowerment initiative by the Founder and President of Belemaoil would preserve the culture of Kalabari Kingdom which he described as priceless.
Mr Aganaba said; “The music industry today is booming and is one of the credible tools for economic growth. Cultural music is unique, it is priceless so there should be measures to train the next generation. Commended the very special initiative and to tell him that he has done what coming generations will emulate. We encourage him not to stop doing what he is doing”.
Other dignitaries who graced the occasion include Paramount Ruler and head of Belema Community, King Bourdillon Ekine, Publicity Secretary of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, His Highness Anabs Sara-Igbe, President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Sukubo Sara-Igbe Sukubo amongst others.