Saturday, December 12, 2015 9:08 pm
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
The Itsekiri nation of Delta State today, with rich display of culture and tradition, crowned a new monarch, His Royal Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli I, as the 20th Olu Of Warri.
The ceremony attracted serving and past top government functionaries at Federal and State levels, Governors Ifeanyi Okowa and Adams Oshiomhole of Delta and Edo states, state and national legislators, the immediate past governor of Delta State (Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan), traditional rulers from within and outside the state, the diplomatic corps, past governors, All Progressives Congress chieftain, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and Minister of State [Petroleum]. Mr. Ibe Kachikwu as well as Itsekiri sons and daughters in Nigeria and in diaspora.
At the occasion, President Mohammadu Buhari and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa charged traditional rulers to work assiduously to sustain the existing peace and promote unity among ethnic groups in the state so as to attract investment and development.
President Buhari who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engineer Babachir Lawal, commended the peaceful emergence of the new Itsekiri monarch and urged people of the Itsekiri nation to remain supportive of the policies and programmes of the Federal Government.
Governor Okowa on his part reminded the traditional rulers that “peace and security is a critical factor for economic growth and sustainable development, we hold the traditional institutions in the state in high esteem, as custodian of our culture and those closest to the grassroots, we count on their counsel and guidance for policy formulation and execution for overall effectiveness” adding “synergy between the traditional institutions and government is a sine qua non for good governance and sustainable development.”
He urged the new Olu of Warri who was crowned by the oldest man in the kingdom, and Olare-aja of Jakpa, to consolidate on the peaceful co-existence of the various ethnic groups in his domain and make Warri attractive again for investors and companies asserting “ Our administration is taking steps to woo back some of the companies such as Shell that relocated from Warri due to the atmosphere of insecurity that prevailed in the past, our efforts in this regards will not yield the desired dividends if there is no guarantee of peace and public safety, hence we must roll up our sleeves and do the work necessary to sustain the peace that we now enjoy in the state.”
Governor Okowa restated government’s determination to tackle the problems of youth restiveness, unemployment, and low agricultural output through its programmes.
In his remarks, the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli I, thanked all those who identified with the Itsekiri nation on the coronation and promised peaceful co-existence among different ethnic groups in the area.
In a goodwill message at the occasion, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, congratulated the Warri monarch and promised to sustain the cordial relationship between both kingdoms.
There were also goodwill messages from other traditional rulers, from within and outside the state.
Also, former Vice President of Nigeria and chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar, has congratulated the new king.
Atiku in a statement released by his Media Office in Abuja over the weekend says the choice of Omoba Emiko to ascend the throne as the 20th Olu of Warri, venerates the totemic deep wisdom, courage and resourcefulness which the Oluship throne is widely acknowledged for.
According to Atiku, “The story surrounding the ascension of Omoba Ikenwoli Godfrey Emiko to the throne of his forefathers as the 20th Olu of Warri Kingdom is as interesting as it is instructive”, stressing that “the narrative is a lesson on the virtue of patience, for not only his Itsekiri people, but for every human.”
“Sixty years before his selection as the 20th Olu of Warri and head of the Itsekiri nation, his birth had made him a front runner for the position. His father named him Abiloye (born while on the throne) because he was the first son to be born after Erejuwa II’s enthronement.
“He also called him Ikenwoli (the king has come) because he thought he was naturally designated to succeed him as king but he was not to be at the death of his father in 1987.
“Being the first male child born to his father, the then Olu Erejuwa II, many thought he was a natural choice, but the Itsekiri have their ways of choosing their monarch.
“However, when he was overlooked in the selection process in 1987 leading to the crowning of his older brother, Prince Godwin Toritseju Emiko as the Ogiame Atuwatse II, Ikenwoli accepted the choice of his people as his faith.
“Today, the dream that seemed aborted in May 1987 has come true. The man who has had to wait 28 years to fulfil destiny will be crowned, breaking a 200-year-old father-to-son Itsekiri succession tradition. It is in the story of people like the new Itsekiri monarch that the novel saying ‘delay is not denial’ has found real life expression. He could have lived his life into ripe old age and not be the Olu, which his father and his destiny, had purposed him for. The circumstances surrounding his eventual ascension may make the topics of destiny and supernatural predestination more interesting to study.”
Atiku urges the new Olu to dedicate himself to building on and surpassing the worthy legacies of his much-acclaimed predecessor, Ogiame Atuwatse II, by committing himself to carrying his subjects along to a new era of peace, stability and progress in Itsekiriland, Delta state and Nigeria as a whole.
He urges him to work with the government and other traditional rulers across the country to foster harmony and socio-economic development across the country.
He wishes the new Olu “long life and successful reign” in the service of his people and the country.