Warri agog as new Olu Emiko is crowned Saturday - The Gallant News


Saturday, 21 August 2021

Warri agog as new Olu Emiko is crowned Saturday

Warri agog as new Olu Emiko is crowned Saturday

All eyes are on Delta State on Saturday as the people of Warri Kingdom crown Prince Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko as the 21st Olu and occupant of the revered throne that has spanned five centuries. The coronation will take place at the ancestral home of the Itsekiris, Ode-Itsekiri, in Warri South Local Government Area of the state.

Top government functionaries, including Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, Senate President Lawan Mohammed, ex-Senate president Bukola Saraki and no fewer than nine governors, are expected to grace the occasion.

Renowned industrialists within and outside Nigeria are also expected at the August event.

For the purpose of his coronation, the Omoba has acquired two customised cars, namely a Rolls-Royce and a Bentley 2021 model. According to sources in the palace, he will ride in the newly acquired Rolls Royce from his Idaniken (seclusion) to Warri Club where he will board a regatta boat in a procession to Ode-Itsekiri for his crowning.

The Bentley would be used for thanksgiving service at the Aghofen in the oil city, the source added.

The Uwangue family of Jakpa, a lineage of the Ologbotsere Eyinmisanren Descendants, saddled with the responsibility of crowning an Olu, has formally announced their support for Prince Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko as Olu-designate.

They made their position known in a statement signed by six principal members of the family, namely Messrs G.O. Yashobo, Napoleon Edah, A.O. Omagbemi, Mr. Sam Omajuwa, Deacon Ogbemi Edah Akinsan and Mr. S.O. Memuduaghan.

The statement disowned statements credited to spokesman of Ologbotsere Eyinmisanren Descendants Worldwide as a “figment of his distorted imagination and personal outburst which we have taken exception to”. They affirmed Chief Gabriel Awala, who is the Uwangue of Warri, as sole authority to speak on the family’s behalf.

The Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom, Chief Ayiri Emami, purportedly suspended by the Ginuwa I Ruling House, had insisted that the 1979 edict, which demands that a successor to the Warri throne must have a mother of Itsekiri or Edo origin, should guide the process for the selection of a new king.

Although sources claim there are ongoing peace moves between those against and for the coronation,it was learnt that Chief Emami had travelled to Kano State for the marriage ceremony between the son of President Muhammadu Buhari, Yusuf, and Zahra, daughter of the Emir of Bichi, in Nasiru Ado Bayero, Bichi, which took place on Friday.

Recall that Comrade Alex Eyengho was announced as the spokesman of the Ologbotsere Descendants in the heat of the saga that followed the emergence of Emiko as Omoba.

He has, on behalf of the Ologbotsere Descendants, briefed the Itsekiri nation and the public on the stance of the family, especially since a suit was filed at the High Court 4, Warri in July, challenging the process of selection of the Omoba.

A similar suit instituted by one of the princes declared “wanted” by the Zone 5 police in Benin was also adjourned. The case was adjourned to October to enable certain parties join in the suit.

In a sudden twist of events, the police in Zone 5, Benin declared two sons of the immediate past Olu, Ogiame Ikenwoli, Princes Oyowoli and Omatsuli Emiko, wanted for “stealing” the royal crown and other artefacts from a “strong room” in the palace.

Efforts to speak with Eyengho on the coronation ceremony which will hold in spite of the suits proved futile, as his phone line was unreachable.

However, the suits will not deter the Itsekiris from crowning the Omoba on Saturday.

Prior to the coronation rites, roads have been cleaned and minor repair works done on some bad portions. Decorations and billboards congratulating the Omoba in advance on his coronation have been erected on strategic roundabouts, junctions and routes across the town.

The majority of the people are excited and anticipating the crowning of the Omoba, whose reign they believe will usher in development in the land.

To ensure a hitch-free process, 1,000 police personnel and two bomb squads have been deployed to ensure watertight security before, during and after the coronation ceremony.

The Delta State Commissioner of Police, CP Ari Muhammed Ali, announced this on Wednesday as he warned mischief makers to steer clear of the area.

“All that needs to be done to ensure that the event is hitch-free and devoid of any form of violence has been put in place,” part of the statement read.

Prince Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko, son of the 19th Olu, Ogiame Atuwaste II, is said to have been chosen by the Ifa oracle to succeed Ogiame Ikenwoli who joined his ancestors last December.

A ‘praise and prayer’ session was held at the Warri Boatyard as a pre-coronation activity for the Omoba on Friday.

Omoba Emiko; his wife Ivie, daughter of late businessman, Capt. Hosa Okunbo and queen mother Gladys Emiko, among other family members and well-wishers, were present.

Some Christian ministers who were present are Rev Joe Olaiya, founder and president of Living Minister Mairo Ese, Rev. Chris Akpere and a former first lady of Bayelsa State, Mrs. Alamieyeseigha.

Despite the rains, the people of Itsekiri joined the Omoba to praise and pray for a peaceful installation.

Earlier, the crown prince had embarked on a peace walk across Warri city, in the company of palace chiefs and over a thousand Itsekiri natives.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday joined other well-wishers to felicitate with the new Olu in waiting.

In a message to the Omoba and the entire Itsekiri nation, the President, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, hailed the kingdom for managing to rise above the initial misunderstanding that trailed the appointment of Prince Emiko as the Olu designate.

He, however, admonished the new monarch to use his endowments, including intellect, to serve his people and sustain the peaceful approach of Itsekiri people in dealing with matters of nationalism and neighbourliness.

The statement said: “President Muhammadu Buhari congratulates all Itsekiris home and abroad, as Prince Tsola Emiko gets installed as the 21st Olu of Warri, August 21, 2021.

“The President salutes the Kingdom for overcoming the issues that arose after the initial appointment of the Olu-designate, urging that any outstanding matters should be amicably resolved in the interest of peace and tranquility.

“As a Western-trained political scientist and management expert, President Buhari counsels the new Olu to use his gift and intellect to serve his people, noting the peaceful disposition of Itsekiris to peace in the Niger Delta region and the country in general.

“The President prays that the new epoch will consolidate on the peace, progress and prosperity of all members of the Warri Kingdom.”

Reminiscing on Friday on his early life and journey to the throne, the Olu-elect said “there was a heavy sense of destiny” on his emergence as traditional ruler.

“It was almost like it was inevitable. But there was also the sense of ‘this is Nigeria, there could be something that truncates this at the last moment,’” he said on BBC News Pidgin.

He added: “That’s not a personal bias. I think there are many people in Nigeria whom you can say certain things were meant for them, it was theirs, everybody knew it. But too often, something happens and it doesn’t happen.

“I think that has gone a long way in the Nigerian mindset, people feeling ‘hmm… let’s see how this goes.’

“When it became apparent, which was actually on my birthday, the chiefs confirmed in the presence of the oracle and everybody witnessed it that it is done.”

Reacting to a question on his qualification for the throne, he said: “I think one has to look at the way things flow naturally. If you go back to 2015, there were valid or legitimate reasons to have us set aside. We took that in good faith and moved on with life.

“The same instrument that was used to set us aside is the same that has brought us back and with such overwhelming support.

“Yes, there were voices who, as I alluded to earlier, interpreted it a different way. That’s fine. The Bible says ‘woe if all men speak well of you’. So, I guess I’m in good company knowing well that not everybody is speaking well of me.”

On his education, the new Olu said: “Had I gone to boarding school here in Warri, maybe there would have been some sort of semblance of that.

“I probably would have gotten in trouble. Because of that, some people would have picked on me for that reason.

“The boarding school I went to was in Kwara State, about five hours drive from here (Warri). This was between 1995 and 2001. The school was quite the elite boarding school in Nigeria.

“A lot of prominent people’s children were in that school. Captains of industry, military governors’ children… In fact, when the late Head of State died, we woke up the next day and the son of the new Head of State happened to be in our school.

“There were prominent monarchs whose children were in our school.

“I didn’t stand out because I was a prince, which was because the school had other nobilities.”

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