His Serene Majesty King Prof. T.J.T Princewill, (Amachree XI) and Amanyanabo of the Kalabari Kingdom has passed on.
In statement titled “The King has departed, long live the Kingdom” by his son Prince Tonye Princewill on behalf of the family said, “It is with a very heavy heart that I am formally announcing the departure of my father, our King and His Serene Majesty, King Prof. T.J.T Princewill, Amachree the XI and Amanyanabo of the Kalabari Kingdom. He was not just my father; he was also my best friend.
“Earlier today, the Buguma Council of Chiefs and the Kalabari Council of Chiefs were formally briefed, all in accordance with Kalabari tradition, thereby opening the door to our now officially informing the world, as the cart cannot be put before the horse.
“Further announcements will follow in the days and weeks to come, but we call on you for your prayers and your well wishes, not just for the family, but for the entire Kalabari Kingdom. He’ll truly be missed. “
His Serene Majesty King Prof. T.J.T Princewill, JP, CFR, Amachree XI, The Amanyanabo & Natural Ruler of the Kalabari Kingdom was born on the 4 January, 1930 in Buguma City into the Royal Family of King & Queen Jacob Tom Princewill, Amachree the VII.
Academically, he attained his professorship in the year 1984 at the University of Port Harcourt. He was the first Head of Department of Microbiology, the first Professor of Microbiology and the first black Professor to be Dean, Faculty of Science, Rivers State University of Science and Technology where he finished his stint with academia.
Traditionally, he was installed King Amachree XI on the 23rd day of March, 2002, thus making him the first Professor to become a King of the Kalabari Kingdom and by extension Rivers State. HSM King Prof. T.J.T Princewill was appointed Chairman, Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers on the 1st of January, 2010 by His Excellency Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, thus becoming the first Professor King to be Chairman, Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers as well as the first King of Kalabari extraction to be Chairman, Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers.
In 2011, he was honoured with the National Award of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the Administration of HE Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR, former President and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Though a Professor of international repute, his in-depth knowledge of the tradition and custom was such that he was the second King after King Kariboye- Abbi Amachree IV to have adorned and played the famous Egbelegbe masquerade to the admiration of the people of Tombia from whom the masquerade was acquired by King Kariboye Abbi Amachree IV.
The sum totality of his being was peace personified even in the face of persecution; hence he was fondly referred to as HIS SERENE MAJESTY.