Behold a new Olu of warri has emerged after the death of the previous Olu of Warri Ogiame Atuwatse II. Godfrey Emiko is next to be confine the title of this honorable position – The Olu of Warri
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Godfrey Emiko is new Olu of Warri
• Olu of Warri: Regent to rule for three months
• Parties, ceremonies suspended in Warri till December
• Confusion over who will crown next Olu
A regent is to oversee the affairs of Warri Kingdom in Delta State despite yesterday’s official announcement of the death of the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse II, and the selection of an Olu-designate.
The Olu-designate, Prince Ikenwoli Godfrey Emiko, was presented to the Itsekiri people at Ode-Itsekiri (Big Warri), yesterday morning, but Sunday Nation authoritatively gathered that he would not ascend the throne for at least three lunar months in line with the tradition of the Itsekiri people.
Consequently, in line with Section 8 of the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Edict, 1979 of the defunct Bendel State (now Edo/Delta states), a regent is to oversee the affairs of the king pending the coronation of the Olu.
It was gathered that the Oloriebi (head of the Ruling House), Dr Duakpemi Andrew Ayu, have automatically assumed the position, in line with the 36-year-old documents.
A knowledgeable source said the regent is usually the “oldest among the sons and grandsons of the past three Olus”.
The 1979 gazette stated that “Head of the Ruling House acts as the Regent from the time of announcement of the demise (of the Olu) until the installation (of Olu-designate).
“At the end of the period of about three months, the Olu-designate is formally installed by the Ologbotsere in the presence of the general public,” the document concluded
The position was confirmed by various sources, including the Secretary and a member of the influential Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, Edward Ekpokpo Esq., and Mr Sunny Amorighoye.
Ekpoko, who responded to our reporter’s inquiry on the absence of Ologbotsere, Iyasere and Uwangue, said there was no doubt about the regency, insisting that Dr Ayu had become the regent immediately after the announcements yesterday.
Speaking in the same vein, A.S. Mene said the position of Ekpoko is in tandem with the 1979 Gazette, revealing that everything done by the Olu Advisory Council and the Ojoyes (noble Chiefs), both in announcing Atuwatse II’s transition and choosing Olu-designate, followed due processes.
Meanwhile, the official unveiling of Prince Ikenwoli Emiko after the news of Atuwatse II’s transition took place at a poignant ceremony, which was held at the Ode-Itsekiri (Big Warri), the traditional headquarters of the Itsekiri.
Announcing both the passage of Atuwatse II and the choice of Prince Ikenwoli to the Itsekiri National Congress, the eldest member of the Olu Advisory Council, Chief Tesigiweno Yahya Pessu, who is the Ojomo of Warri Kingdom, also performed the traditional ‘breaking of the calabash’, which represents the death of the king.
The ritual was punctuated by shouts of ‘alejefun’ and otatse, meaning “the white chalk has been eaten by the earth” and “the anchor is broken”, respectively.
After performing the traditional breaking of the chalk-bearing calabash, Chief Pessu, who is also the Chief Priest of the kingdom, reeled out the code of conduct for the entire Itsekiri nation, home and in the Diaspora, for the three months that the departed Olu would be mourned.
According to the Chief Priest, “Itsekiri all over the world should be mourning until the burial ceremony is performed and done with. This may take three lunar months. All Itsekiri men and women should wear their (expensive) clothes upside down.
“There shall be no party, no drumming, no form of merriment for the Itsekiri anywhere, until this process is over. We are in a mourning position now. This shall be in all Itsekiri domains”.
The passage of Ogiame Atuwatse II, the Olu of Warri, was announced to a tumultuous crowd of Itsekiri people by the Chief Priest and in the presence of other members of the council of chiefs at around 11:50am.
The announcement was heralded with several canon shots.
The name of the Olu-designate was announced at about 12:15pm, leading to a wild cheer among the huge crowd of Itsekiri chiefs, elders and people, who had converged on Ode-Itsekiri to be briefed on new developments.
Describing the mood of the Itsekiri nation at the announcement of the Olu-designate, a member of the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILT), Professor Nesin Omatseye, attributed the cheers that greeted his name to his goodness and acceptance by all.
He said “not everybody would be accepted by all, but this is a person that most of us know over the years that is intelligent, intellectually inclined and culturally exposed. We expect the best”.
Explaining the uniqueness of the choice of Prince Ikenwoli as the next Olu to be,