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Published On: Fri, Sep 18th, 2015

New Olu of Warri May Be Name Tomorrow (Saturday)

olu-of-warri
LAGOS SEPTEMBER 18TH (URHOBOTODAY)-There were indications last night that the Olu Advisory Council of Warri Kingdom in Delta State may announce, tomorrow, the transition of the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atiwatse II.
Palace (Aghofen) sources said the formal announcement may be accompanied by the name of an Olu-designate and successor to Atuwatse II.

It was learnt that the council could make the announcement at Ode-Itsekiri (Big Warri), the ancestral home of the Itsekiri ethnic nationality.
A member of the council, who spoke in confidence because he was not authorised to talk, told our reporter the reasons for making the announcement a formality.
He said: “There are rites that must be done before you can announce that an Olu has joined his ancestors. We have also completed those traditional requirements and we are set to move to the next stage of making the formal announcement and announcing his successor.
“It has been a very meticulous and painstaking process. But I can confidently inform you that the major announcement will be made this weekend. It will put to rest the speculations about the state of the Itsekiri.”
The source hinted that the announcement might shock those unfamiliar with the workings of the Itsekiri traditional inner circle.
He said: “The choice (of the Olu) may be one that a lot of people do not expect; he could be a bolt from the blue.
“What I can tell you is that whoever emerges will be the choice of the people, the legal choice and what is best for the Itsekiri.”
But our correspondent gathered that the late monarch may be succeeded by one of his two younger siblings – Princes Godfrey Ikenwoli Abiloye and Oluyemi Pius Emiko – instead of his first son, Prince Tsola, as was formerly speculated.
The process of choosing the highly influential traditional ruler of the Itsekiri has been completed, thereby paving the way for tomorrow’s final announcement, it was learnt yesterday.
The two front runners are sons of Olu Erejuwa II.
They are said to be eminently qualified and well educated. Godfrey and Oluyemi are graduates of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) and University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).
But sources close to the traditional council said Prince Ikenwoli Emiko is the favourite, as he fulfils the requirements in the 1979 Gazette of the defunct Bendel State (applicable to Delta State).
It was gathered that Prince Yemi was knocked off the list because of his Isoko maternal lineage.
The 1979 Gazette stipulates that only princes born by an Itsekiri or Edo mothers can become Olu.
“He (Godfrey) was the choice of his father, Olu Erejuwa II. That is why he was named Abiloye (born for the throne) but he lost out to the then Prince Godwin Toritseju Emiko (Atuwatse II) in 1987.
“Ikenwoli is set to fulfil a destiny and to sit on the throne of his forefathers,” the source added.
It was gathered that Prince Yemi was stopped from running because of his Isoko maternal lineage; only princes born by Itsekiri or Edo mothers can become the Olu.
The former Chevron Nigeria top shot and All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate in the March 28 election reportedly accepted the decision of the council.
The Olu-designated will be chosen by a seven-man committee, comprising the five members of the Olu Advisory Council and two other members, usually nominated by the Ologbosere of Warri.
Besides the Ologbosere, other members of the advisory council include the Uwangue, Iyesere, Ojomo and Osodi of Warri Kingdom.
Only the Ojomo and Otsodi stools are currently occupied; the last Ologbotsere, Pa Alfred Rewane, has not been replaced since his demise in 1995.
The Iyesere, Chief Gabriel Mabiaku, died recently and his position too has not been filled.
The process of choosing a new Olu fell on Chief Isaac Jemide, the Otsodi, and Chief Pessu, the Ojomo.
An Itsekiri leader and member of the Uwangue family told our reporter that the two men constituted a committee to present the new Olu to the Itsekiri nation tomorrow.
“The absence of the three other members of the council, though regrettable, is not expected to affect the process. This is because each of the families holding these titles has their leaders. For instance, the Olaraja of Jakpa is the head of the Uwangue family,” the source added.
Also, the document guiding the selection of an Olu of Warri is a 1979 Gazette of the defunct Bendel State. The document was produced following a commission of enquiry set up by the state government in 1977.
A source conversant with the document but pleaded not to be named, said: “The state government, in 1977, set up an enquiry to have an official government on the matter. It was this that led to 1979 gazette. The 1979 gazette was a product of an enquiry commissioned by R. Kerr Enquiry, a colonial head in 1931. The Kerr Enquiry was set up to decide the way forward after the 88-year interregnum. They met the colonial head and decided on how the Olu should be crowned.”
Besides being a prince born by an Edo or Itsekiri mother, the document specifies that he must be born by one of the last three Olus.
“In a situation where there is no qualified son, by birth (direct son of Olu), the search then goes to the brothers of the late Olu. If again, there is none among the brothers, who is qualified, we will go to his uncles. If there is none among his uncles, the search them settles on grand-children,” the source said.
It was learnt that beyond the gazette, candidates are subjected to traditional consultations at the oracle.
The candidate, it was learnt, must be accepted by the various oracles that would be consulted.
“In this case, I can tell you that the man who is set to be announced on Saturday has been accepted by man and our ancestors. All the oracles consulted have accepted him as the next Ogiame,” the source added.
The Nation

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