Chief MATHEW ATANGSI MARCUS TORNWE III JP is one of the Traditional Rulers of Ogoniland. He is the first son of HRM KING MARCUS DEEBARI KPUGINATA TORNWE II JP, he was traditionally installed as the GBENEMENE OF BABBE KINGDOM on the 18th of October 1975 and crowned at Babbe Central Ground in Luawii on 28th August 1976 to fill the STOOL of his LATE FATHER. After performing the rites of SUMENE (Taking over of kingship) and Keepeemeeba (Slaughtering of He-goat on the wrist of the deceased Gbenemene) and LINEE (Second burial).
Just like his late father, Chief MATHEW ATANGSI MARCUS TORNWE III JP before he fled Nigeria played some tremendous roles towards the development of Ogoni.
The following are some of the positions he held and roles he played towards the development of Ogoni
Chief M.A.M. Tornwe III served as the deputy president of the Conference of Ogoni Traditional Rulers (COTRA), and Special Advisor to Late Ken Saro Wiwa on issues pertaining to Traditional and Cultural Affairs in Ogoniland.
He has served as president of various organizations and religious bodies within Ogoni, including but not limited to Administrator of Nigerian refugee Camp(Imo gate)- Nigerian Civil War 1969, Head of Noobana Uegwere/Noobana Kono Royal House1975-Present, Chairman Boue development Council 1976, Chairman of State school committee- Kono Boue 1978, Vice Chairman Khana Language Committee 1978, Chairman State School Committee 1978, Patron Rivers state Co-operative federation ltd 1981, Patron Ogoni students Union 1982, Vice Chairman of BOLGA farmers union 1984, Vice Chairman BOLGA Electricity and water Committee 1985, Vice President Association of Leagues of Friends- Rivers State Government Hospitals 1989, First Secretary of the Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers (COTRA) 1990, and Chairman and Royal father of the Ogoni refugee camp COME, in Benin Republic 1996.
In continuation of minority rights agitation as his father did before him under the banner of NDC and NCNC, Chief Mathew Atangsi Marcus Tornwe III, Joined Great Rivers Sons in the persons of Ken Saro Wiwa, Dr. Obi Wali, Chief N. Nwanodi, Chief Edward Kobani, and Hon. Kemte Giadom just to name a few as founding members of the Port Harcourt State Movement in 1974.
He is also one of the founding fathers of MOSOP, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People which Ken Saro-Wiwa led before his execution. In 1990, Chief Matthew Atangsi Marcus Tornwe III JP proposed the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR) arguing for the implementation of Ogoni's traditional resource control principle of “Miidekor”, as equitable justification for the proprietary ownership of Ogoni resources, and he is a signatory to the same Bill.
In 1993 he was chosen by the Rivers State Government along with 4 others to negotiate between the management staff of Shell Oil and the Ogoni people.
In 1994 before the killing of four prominent and great Ogoni Chiefs, in the persons of Edward Kobani, Albert T. Badey, Samuel and Theophilus Orage at a rally in May 1994, the Ogoni People met and delegated a 3-person team, including Chief Tornwe III and two other prominent chiefs, Chief Charles Nwikina and Chief Sunday B. Nwikpo to encourage the Sani Abacha government to stop the arbitrary arrests, killings and destruction of property in Ogoniland. However, the government arrested Saro-Wiwa and 9 other Ogonis; Chief M.A.M. Tornwe's name was also among those declared wanted by the then Sani Abacha regime. Nine of the detainees were found guilty in a Kangaroo court by way of military tribunal and executed on 10th November, 1995.
Chief M.A.M Tornwe went into hiding and was subsequently forced into exile in the Benin republic, where he sought asylum, until 1997 when he and his family were shortlisted as Venerable refugees by the United Nations, the highest designation for refugee claimants and later repatriated to Canada.
Before being forced to flee Nigeria, Chief M.A.M. Tornwe III owned and operated a family fish farming enterprise and was the managing director of Tornwe & Son's CO. During which time, he also served as Chairman of the Rivers State Fish Farmers Association.
Directly after the Nigerian Civil War, in 1970, Tornwe III served his country and kinsmen as a trained Para-Medical Staff for the Lutheran World Federation(LWF).
Before his coronation as Gbenemene Babbe after his father's death in 1975, Chief M.A.M. Tornwe III was employed at the Tourist & Hotels Corporation- (now Hotel Presidential as the Senior Accounts Clerk from 1972-1977). In 1985, Chief M.A.M. Tornwe III was honoured by the Federal Nigeria Government with the award of Co-operative Patron of Nigeria (C.P.) for his contributions in advancing the work of cooperative societies in the country. Chief Tornwe III is a silent achiever, a God fearing man, and a paragon of integrity revered for his activism role in the cultural, traditional and political life of Ogoniland.