He has lived for nothing but Papua New Guinea. He has talked about nothing but Papua New Guinea. He has dreamed about nothing but a better Papua New Guinea. He has sacrificed his and his family’s time for Papua New Guinea. He has carried Papua New Guinea in his heart like kangaroos’ carry their babies in their pouches.
His achievements are extraordinary. Without them PNG would never have arrived at this stage. All Papua New Guinea has no option but to see him as a leader of all other leaders.
Sir Michael Somare is indisputably qualified for the title. It was right and proper that it was bestowed. When it was awarded, the whole of PNG bowed in adoration and concurrence.
Nobody attains the title of Grand Chief overnight. It is not treated as awards from the Queen of England, which are at times handed out to political cronies without proper qualifications.
The title of Grand Chief lies at the heart and soul of PNG. It is indeed a grand title. Nobody wears it unnecessarily. Only those who deserve it receive it.
Now, Papua New Guinea, Enga’s governor Peter Ipatas is your youngest Grand Chief.
PNG has bestowed this most sacred title on one of its unsuspected sons and, in gaining it, Ipatas has bypassed several senior statesmen.
He has bypassed former prime ministers Sir Julius Chan, Sir Rabbie Namaliu and Paias Wingti to name just a few.
Ipatas has achieved so many things, but two normally come to attention: his wholehearted support for rugby league and education.
Some people may view these achievements as not significant enough to warrant the title of Grand Chief, but he has attained it anyway.
It remains for us to simply convey our congratulations to him for receiving the title unsuspectingly after it bypassed other senior and well qualified citizens of Papua New Guinea.