HRM (Engr.) Richardford Orukarebai Koroye (1937-2022)

HRM (Engr.) Richardford Orukarebai Koroye was a native of Toru-orua community in the Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa state. During the 1970s and 1980s, he established himself as a highly accomplished engineer and made significant contributions to the development of the former Rivers State.

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Engineer, Politician, Monarch, Businessman

He gained significant recognition in the second republic and was widely acknowledged as His Majesty the Pere of Tarakiri Kingdom.

Who is HRM (Engr.) Richardford Orukarebai Koroye?

Richardford Orukarebai Koroye was born in 1937 into a privileged family. His father, King Okorie Kpadia, held a position of high regard as a respected and wealthy monarch during the colonial era in Nigeria. King Okorie Kpadia, along with notable individuals like the late Chief Francis Brisibe Agamagu and Chief Bozimor, were contemporaries during that time. King Okorie Kpadia was renowned for his remarkable achievements, including representing the Western-Ijaw people as a legislator in the House of Chiefs in Western Nigeria.

Due to his family’s affluence and connections, Richardford Orukarebai Koroye did not face significant challenges in obtaining the best opportunities in life. By the age of 28, he had already graduated from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, becoming a qualified engineer. Throughout the 1970s, he made significant contributions to the field of civil engineering, particularly within the civil service of the old Rivers State, where he served as a Director in the Ministry of Works and Transport.

In 1983, his exceptional skills and capabilities caught the attention of the then Governor of old Rivers State, the late Chief Melford Okilo, who appointed him as a Commissioner in his cabinet. Richardford Orukarebai Koroye became a prominent figure in old Rivers State, known for his style and influence. He actively participated in the development of Port Harcourt, engaging in real estate services, farming, and various other ventures. Throughout the mid-1970s, he emerged as a notable representative of the Western-Ijaw people of old Rivers State, promoting the interests of the Ijaw community and striving to alleviate their hardships by creating employment opportunities.

However, when the military assumed power in 1983, he, along with many others, was dismissed from office, marking a turning point in his life. From then on, Richardford Orukarebai Koroye lived a relatively quiet existence. In 2000, he aspired to become the Pere (King) of Tarakiri, but his bid was unsuccessful. Undeterred, he made another attempt in 2012, and this time he succeeded. He was henceforth addressed as HRM (Engr.) Richardford Orukarebai Koroye (Angolokirimosou the Pere of Tarakiri Kingdom) and ruled peacefully until his passing in 2022 at the age of 85.

HRM (Engr.) Richardford Orukarebai Koroye left a lasting legacy as a dedicated philanthropist and advocate for the Western-Ijaw people, working tirelessly to improve the lives of his community members and champion their cause.

Early life

Richardford Orukarebai Koroye came into the world on November 27, 1937. His parents were King Okorie Kpadia from Toru-orua community in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa state, and Queen Abariara (formerly known as Kemepado) from Ogoinwari quarters in Patani town, Delta state. Among his siblings, he was the eldest and only son, while his three sisters were named Ndobulo (now deceased), Tuamere, and Nurse.


As a young prince, Richardford Orukarebai Koroye was fortunate to receive a Western education, thanks to his father’s forward-thinking mindset and value for education. He began his primary school education in the 1940s at Community Primary School Agbere, followed by Community Primary School Ebedebiri, both of which are located in present-day Sagbama Local Government Area. After completing his primary education, he enrolled at Government College, Ughelli, a renowned secondary school in the mid-western region of Nigeria. There, he obtained his West African School Certificate (WASC).

With a thirst for knowledge, he furthered his education at the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria. In 1966, at the age of 28, he achieved the remarkable milestone of obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, which was a noteworthy accomplishment during that era.


After graduating in 1966, Richardford Orukarebai Koroye began his professional career as a civil engineer with T.A Oni & Sons Limited in Ibadan. He later joined the Bendel Development and Planning Authority (BDPA) in Benin City, where he worked from 1969 to 1972.

As a skilled and dedicated engineer, he eventually transferred his services to the Rivers State Government in 1972. Over the years, he rose through the ranks and became the Director of the Directorate of Highways in the Ministry of Works and Transports. Throughout his tenure in the public service, his name became synonymous with quality and diligence.

“Nobody really had anything extra we held our own and we survived”

In addition to his professional career and commitment to raising his family, King Koroye also achieved success as a businessman. He ventured into various small-scale enterprises, including livestock farming (poultry and piggery), bakeries, ice cream production and distribution, as well as contractual consultation and civil construction endeavors.

Despite being a civil servant, Engineer R.O. Koroye remained actively involved in politics at a background level. His underground political activism paid off when late Chief Okilo was re-elected as the governor of old Rivers State in 1983. Subsequently, Koroye was appointed as the Commissioner for Highways in the state executive council. Although his time in this position was brief due to the military takeover, he was known for his open-door policy, welcoming visitors without the need for formalities, as his office door was always open.

The ascent of Engr R.O. Koroye to the throne of his ancestors was divinely ordained. His years of capacity building, combined with his simple and open-minded nature, as well as his dedication to serving society, had endeared him to the Tarakiri people long before he was crowned. His Royal Majesty, King Engr Richardford Orukarebai Koroye Kpadia V, Angolokirimosou, was crowned on October 6, 2012, in Ebedebiri. He reigned as king until he peacefully departed from this world on October 17, 2022, at 7pm.

Leisure activities

In addition to his life of service, commitment, and dedication, the late Richardford Orukarebai Koroye also found joy and fulfillment in various leisure activities. He had a fondness for swimming, indulged in the art of photography, enjoyed the serenity of fishing, and found solace in the pages of books. He also had a compassionate spirit and actively engaged in philanthropic endeavors. Moreover, he cherished spending quality time with his family during leisure hours, cherishing those moments of togetherness


King Koroye exemplified responsibility and success in his role as a family man. Remarkably, all of his children were born to women whom he legally married.

During his time in Ibadan, he married his first wife, Queen Pere-Ere (formerly known as Obodugu) from Adagbabiri in Salga. After relocating to Port Harcourt, he subsequently married his second wife, Queen Cecilia Eneni (formerly known as Nelson Abali) from Otakeme in Ogbia LGA, as well as Queen Ebikenie (formerly known as Oweifie, now deceased) from Isampou in Ekeremor LGA, both in Bayelsa state. At present, the king is survived by two wives and has 21 children, all of whom have attained graduate-level education.

His Death

We are sorry to hear about the passing of HRM (Engr.) Richardford Orukarebai Koroye. His departure on October 17, 2022, at 7pm marks the end of a life dedicated to service, commitment, and leadership. May his soul rest in peace, and may his family and loved ones find comfort during this difficult time.

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"Timeless Persons" is a personal blog project created by me with the aim of sharing biographies of remarkable individuals from the Niger Delta region and beyond. The blog serves as a platform to captivate and stimulate your thoughts, encouraging reflection on the past, fostering a positive mindset in the present, and inspiring hope for a better future. Through the stories of great minds featured on the blog, readers are invited to delve into the lives and achievements of extraordinary individuals, drawing inspiration and insights that can be applied to their own lives. "Timeless Persons" strives to create an engaging and thought-provoking space for readers to appreciate the legacies and contributions of notable individuals, ultimately encouraging personal growth and a brighter outlook on life.