Monarch, Military, Hygienist
The true essence of life is not measured by material possessions but by the legacy we leave through acts of love, good character, and service to others. On the day of judgment, what will truly matter are the footprints we leave behind in the form of our deeds and impact on humanity.
This truth is beautifully reflected in the life and times of the late HRM, King Cadbury George Omieh, Igoni XXI, Amanayanabo of Odioama Kingdom. Born in the modest and remote town of Odioama on St. Nicholas Island, Niger Delta, during a time when civilization was scarce, he faced challenges but persevered through hard work and unwavering faith in God.
Throughout his life, King Cadbury George Omieh made significant contributions to his family, kingdom, and humanity. He dedicated himself to the betterment of his community and played a positive role in advancing the body of Christ. His life serves as an inspiring example of how one’s character and service can leave a lasting impact on the world.
Birth and Genealogy
Late King Cadbury George Omieh, Igoni XXI, Amanayanabo of Odioama Kingdom, was born on February 6, 1918, in Odioama Town, during the reign of his maternal grandfather, King Okolo A Agboribere, Igoni XIX, Amanayanabo of Odioama Kingdom. He was born into the esteemed family of late Chief Omiediekuma Numoyingiwari-Erise and his late wife, Princess Inigoni Omiediekuma (Nee Okolo), both from Odioama kingdom, which is presently located in the Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Nigeria. He was the 3rd child but 2nd male child in a family blessed with six (6) children.
His lineage from both his biological parents positions him as a true “blue blood” among the aboriginal Odioama people and the Nembe-se ethnic stock of the Ijaw tribe. He has blood ties with several ruling houses in Odioama kingdom, and his father held the esteemed title of Head-Chief Erise, making him part of one of the five cardinal war canoe Chieftaincy houses in Odioama kingdom. On his maternal line, he is the grandson of King Okolo A. Agboribere, Igoni the XIX, whose war canoe chieftaincy stool is one of the five cardinal head-chiefs and one of the two major heads of a twin group of war canoe chieftaincy houses in Odioama kingdom. Additionally, his maternal grandmother, Ikalamo, comes from an ancient family root named after their ancestor Queen Doumolagha, wife to King Orukiri. Igoni XIV, Amanyanabo of Odioama Kingdom; King Eminingi wad the son of King Ikagi, Igoni XIII, Amanyanabo of Odioama Kingdom. She was also renowned for bringing the ancient Ogoni masquerade of Odioama from the water spirit world. The king Eminingi Group of War Canoe Chieftaincy Houses, from which King Cadbury George Omieh hailed, is now one of the five cardinal chiefdoms in Odioama kingdom.
In addition to his strong royal roots in Odioama kingdom, King Cadbury George Omieh has royal lineage from other kingdoms within and outside the Nembe-speaking area of the Ijaw ethnic nationality. For instance, he is a direct descendant of King Jacket Mein of Bassambiri (Opu-Nembe) through Meinyai Oruama, his great-grandfather from the paternal side.
Early Life and Education
Young Cadbury George Omieh commenced his primary education at St. Luke’s Anglican School, Nembe, from 1931 to 1936. He later attended Cunardia School (Education Missionary Society School) in Port Harcourt from 1937 to 1938, where he excelled and obtained the government standard STD VI (Middle99) with a distinction Certificate in 1918.
After completing his primary education, he joined the Royal West African Frontier Forces, where he underwent Nursing Training courses at City Hospital Kano from June to December 1941, followed by 30 WACC Yaba-Lagos from January to June 1942, and finally, 36 Indian C.C.S India from September to December 1944. As a result of his dedication and hard work, he achieved a Grade I Military Nursing Certificate in 1944 and a Grade I Operation Room Assistant Certificate in 1945, which were the highest accolades for his cadre.
His commitment to education and training continued as he attended the Army polytechnic training center in Ragoon Buram from January to August 1946. Subsequently, he pursued further studies at the School of Hygiene in Aba, completing both the Junior Course in 1948 and the Senior course in 1962. As a result of his academic accomplishments, he was awarded the National Certificate on Hygiene and Sanitation, as well as the Royal Society of Health Diploma from London, and he was admitted as an Associate member of the Royal Society of Health, London.
Late King Cadbury George Omieh, Igoni XXI, Amanayanabo of Odioama Kingdom, had multiple marriages and was wedded to about four wives during his lifetime. From these marriages, he was blessed with a total of 19 biological children.
His Majesty, King Cadbury George Omieh, Igoni XXI, Amanayanabo of Odioama Kingdom, had a strong Christian upbringing right from his early years. His Christian journey and education began at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Nembe, where he received his baptism. He was lovingly raised by Catechist Nicole Ikata, who was his maternal uncle, and throughout his life, he displayed evident love and trust in God through his daily conduct and approach to life.
His dedication to matters of faith remained unwavering even after assuming the traditional throne of his people. Despite being a king, HRM King Cadbury George Omieh maintained his allegiance to the Anglican faith until his passing. His devotion to God continued to be a central aspect of his life, guiding his actions and decisions throughout his reign as well as his personal journey.
His Last Days
HRM King Cadbury George Omieh, Igoni XXI, Amanayanabo of Odioama Kingdom, passed away peacefully after a short illness at Noble Medical Centre in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on November 27, 2014. He was 96 years old at the time of his passing.
He began his professional journey as a pupil teacher at St. Michael’s School Oloibiri in 1939. Later, he continued his education at his alma mater, Cunardia School in Port Harcourt, from January 1940 to May 1941, before joining the West African Army Medical Corps in June 1941. In the military, he started as a military nurse and operation room technician, and then underwent regiment training at the 12th Nigerian Regimental Ikoyi, Lagos.
Thanks to his exceptional performances, he received merited regimental promotions and eventually reached the rank of Company Sergeant Major (CSM). His accomplishments earned him three war medals, and he became the only Grade 1 Military Nurse and Grade 1 Operation Room Assistant to achieve this distinction within the 82 West African Division that participated in the Burma Campaign during World War II. At that time, CSM was the highest rank an African could attain in British West Africa.
During the division’s active service, he was mentioned in dispatches and received recognition for meritorious service, including a certificate and a Japanese official sword awarded by Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten of El-Alamein, the Supreme Allied Commander of the Southeast Asia Command.
Between June 1941 and October 1946, during the course of World War II, he served in various locations, including Nigeria, Sierra Leone, India, and Burma. His military discharge book described his character as “Excellent,” and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare echoed this sentiment in his retirement certificate.
In 1947, as a young man, King C.G. Omieh embarked on his civil service career at the Ministry of Health, specifically in the Public Health Inspectorate cadre. Throughout his tenure, he served in various locations, including Ogoja, Enugu, Nsukka, Bonny, and Port Harcourt. In February 1975, he retired from his role as a Higher Health Superintendent.
However, his expertise and dedication were still highly valued, leading to his re-engagement on a contract basis. From 1977 to 1979, he served as a Supervising Health Superintendent IC of the Nembe Health Zone and held the position of Special Adviser to the old Bayelsa Local Government Area on matters pertaining to public health and sanitation. His commitment to public service extended beyond his formal retirement, and he continued to contribute his knowledge and skills for the betterment of his community.
In addition to his civil service career, King C.G. Omieh was appointed as one of the two councilors representing the Brass Coast community during the military administration of Commander Alfred Diete-Spiff. During this time, he also took on the role of Chairman of the Brass/Okpoama Urban Council Social Welfare Committee, where he played an active role in addressing social welfare issues in the community.
Furthermore, he served as the Chairman of the Primary Education Committee during the Second Republic of Nigeria. In this capacity, he contributed significantly to the development and improvement of primary education in the region, ensuring that young minds received quality education and opportunities for growth.
His dedication to public service and commitment to making a positive impact on his community and the people he served were evident throughout his various roles and responsibilities.
Late King Cadbury George Omieh, Igoni XXI, Amanayanabo of Odioama Kingdom, held several positions throughout his career and demonstrated exceptional service in each role. Some of the positions he occupied include:
- Prefect at Cunardia School, Port Harcourt, from 1937 to 1938.
- Prefect at the School of Hygiene, Aba, in 1948.
- Surgical Operating Theater Technician at the West African Casualty Clearing Station, 82 West African Division, during World War II.
- Company Sergeant Major (CSM) at the 82 Divisional Command, West African Army, during World War II in Burma.
- Appointed as a Food Inspector at Enugu Township, East Regional Headquarters, from 1953 to 1955.
- Supervising Public Health Inspector at Nsukka Division, serving from 1956 to 1962.
- Health Superintendent IC Crude Oil Evacuation Port Bonny, responsible for Quarantine Duties, from January 1963 to January 1967.
- First Higher Health Superintendent IC at the Public Health Department of old Rivers State, from August 1963 to 1970.
- Higher Health Superintendent of the Inspectorate Cadre at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Headquarters, old Rivers State, serving from 1970 to 1975.
Throughout his varied career, he exhibited dedication and competence, leaving a positive impact on the organizations he served and the communities he was involved with.
Late King Cadbury George Omieh, Igoni XXI, Amanayanabo of Odioama Kingdom, had a vibrant and active social life, contributing to various organizations and serving in multiple social capacities throughout his life. Some of the roles he held include:
- Chairman, Nigerian Ex-Servicemen’s Union, Ogoja branch, from April 1947 to December 1949.
- Provisional Secretary, Nigerian Ex-Servicemen’s Union, Enugu branch, from 1950 to 1953.
- Provost, Nigerian Ex-Servicemen’s Union, Enugu branch, from 1953 to 1955.
- Vice-Chairman, Nembe National Union, Enugu branch, from 1954 to 1955.
- Sole representative of Nembe National Union, Enugu branch, at the convocation ceremony of Mingi X, Amanyanabo of Nembe Kingdom in 1954.
- Special Adviser on Chieftaincy Matters to the Chairman of Brass Local Government Area from 1992 to 1995.
Through his active involvement in these social capacities, King Cadbury George Omieh demonstrated his commitment to community development, veterans’ welfare, and fostering meaningful relationships between different communities. His efforts in various roles contributed significantly to the welfare and progress of the people he served.
Late King Cadbury George Omieh, Igoni XXI, Amanayanabo of Odioama Kingdom, ascended the throne on the 3rd day of August 1978 and ruled until his peaceful passing on the 27th day of November 2014. During his remarkable 36-year reign as His Majesty, he played a crucial role in fostering peace, progress, and development within his kingdom and had a positive impact on the broader community. His unwavering dedication to his people and his commitment to humanity at large have left a lasting legacy of harmony and growth.