The death of the 20th Olu of Warri Ogiame Ikenwoli, has been announced with an Olu designate, 37-year-old Prince Tsola Emiko presented to the people.
But in a swift reaction, the suspended Ologbotsere of Warri kingdom, Chief Ayirimi Emami has described the development as null and void.
The announcement was made on Monday at the ancestral home of all Itsekiri, Ode-Itsekiri (Big Warri) by the Iyatsere of Warri Kingdom, Chief Johnson Atserunleghe, on behalf of the Itsekiri National Assembly.
Making the announcement at the solemn assembly of all Itsekiri, the Iyatsere also introduced the Olu-designate, Prince Itieyinoritsetsola Emiko to the people.
While announcing the demise of the late Olu at the solemn assembly, Chief Atserunleghe broke the symbolic earthen wares containing white native chalks one after the other on the floor. The announcement of the departure of the 20th Olu was also greeted with 20 canon shots sig- nifying that 20 Olus had reigned over Iwereland, so far.
Meanwhile, three months of mourning of the departed Olu has been announced with ritual restrictions.
There will be no ceremony involving drumming and dancing in Iwereland, no merry-making of any kind, and all Itsekiri sons and daughters are expected to tie their wrappers upside down for the duration of the mourning.
Meanhwile, hours after the announcement of the Olu-designate, the suspended Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom, Chief Ayirimi Emami has declared the exercise null and void.
He did not only dismiss the unveiling of Prince Tsola Emiko as successor to the Olu throne, he insisted that Ogiame Ikenwoli has not joined his ancestors.
Emami said: “The Olu has not joined his ancestors. As far as I am concerned, whatever was done today at Ode-Itsekiri was kangaroo in search of power. The person that has the right to pro- nounce the transition of the Olu of Warri, whenever that happens, is the Ologbotsere, which I am till this moment by the grace of God. I must add that the 1979 Edict has not been amended to give any other person the right to pronounce the passage of the Olu of Warri, apart from the Ologbotsere.”
It will be recalled that the battle to select a consensus candidate for the Olu of Warri throne heightened last Monday following reports that the choice of the ruling house, Prince Tsola Emiko, was reportedly disqualified by the Chief Emami-led Olu’s Advisory Council.
As a result of Prince Tsola’s disqualification, Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh, head of the royal family, announced the suspension of Chief Emami as the Ologbotsere and head of the Olu’s Advisory Council.
However, the Olu-designate, Prince Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko was born on April 2, 1984 to Prince Godwin Toritseju Emiko, the late Ogiame Atuwatse II) and Gladys Durorike Emiko, in Warri, Delta State. He attended the prestigious NNPC Primary School in Warri and for his secondary education, at Adesoye College, Offa, Kwara State from 1995 to 2001.
Prince Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko got admitted to Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, United States where he bagged his Bachelor’s of Arts degree, majoring in International Studies and Political Science, while minoring in History and Economics between 2002 and 2006.
He went further to earn a Master of Science in Management from Case Western Reserve University in 2007 and subsequently returned to Nigeria for his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in 2008 and served in the Public Affairs Department of National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS).
From 2009 to 2010, he worked as an officer at the Shell Night Closed Pension Fund Administrator (SNCFPA) and worked for Sahara Energy as a government relations officer (2010-2012). Prince Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko, a serial entrepreneur, is the founder of Noble Nigeria Ltd and Coral Curator Ltd. He is also the chairman, Ocean Marine Security Ltd and director, Gulf of Guinea Ltd and Vessellink Nig Ltd. Prince Tsola Emiko is married to Mrs Ivie Uhunoma Emiko, with Oritsetsemaye, Oritsetemisan and Oritsetimeyin Emiko as children. Dignitaries from the Itsekiri nation included the Regent of Warri Kingdom, Chief Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh; Chief (Mrs.) Olivia Agbajoh, the Egudeghe (Oyewumi) of Warri; Chief Solomon Areyenka, Chief (Dr.) Adams Timeyin, Chief (Dr.) Charles Ikomi, Prince Yemi Emiko and Chief Brown Nene, among others.
Among other dignitaries in attendance were the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, who was represented by two frontline monarchs from the South West, Oba Akinola Oyetade Aderere (the Olubosin of Ifetedo) and Oba Adekunle Adeayo Adeagbo (the Ore of Otun-Ekiti).