Itsekiri get new crown to replace missing 378-year-old one
*Uduaghan wades into kingship feud
By Gabriel Omonhinmin
In the absence of the 378 years old missing Itsekiri crown, the Ginuwa Princes have settled for a new one for the throne, clearing way for the official coronation of Omoba Tsola Emiko on Saturday, August 21, 2021.
Prince Emiko is already in “Idanike” (seclusion) for the event as the 21st Olu of Warri Kingdom. The question on the lips of most people now is, will this important event hold on that day or not?
It is this riddle that men like the former Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who is an Itsekiri chief, have been making frantic efforts to solve.
Chief Johnson Amastserunleghe JP, the Iyatsere of Warri Kingdom, who also doubles as the Acting Chairman, Olu’s Advisory Council, after the alleged suspension of Chief Ayiri Emami, as the Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom by the Ginuwa Ruling House, made the proclamations about the official burial rites of His Royal Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli and the coronation ceremonies of Tsola Emiko as the 21st king of the Itsekiri on May 27, 2021.
Since then, the relative peace hitherto brokered by some Warri chiefs and indigenes seems to have suddenly evaporated.
A group of prominent Itsekiri sons and daughters such as Prince Michael Diden, popularly known as Ejele, who kept his cool while the crises raged, last week, called a press conference, where he asked for the entire process that brought about the selection of Tsola Emiko, to be reversed and the proper thing done, if peace must continue to reign in the kingdom.
He described all the actions taken to date as illegal and violations of the Itsekiri tradition and customs, especially the 1979 edict, which stipulates in very clear terms, the steps to be followed before an Olu-designate is selected.
He added that the process that threw up the candidature of Tsola Emiko and his eventual selection as the Olu-designate was faulty and a complete violation of the law, and cannot stand.
In an effort to end what looks like a major crisis that could forestall the coronation of Tsola Emiko, notable Itsekiri personalities such as Chief Uduaghan (the Atema of Warri Kingdom), who was in London when the crisis began, have now delved into the imbroglio.
Uduaghan is said to be doing all within his powers to bring together the major warring factions to maintain peace.
Palace Watch gathered, that on Monday, June 7, 2021, Uduaghan invited Chief Ayiri Emami, the Ologbotsere of Warri, to his personal residence in the oil city.
After their discussion, Uduaghan told him that a meeting has been scheduled for Emami, to meet with the Tsola Emiko and Prince Yemi Emiko in the Olu-designate’s temporary palace in Warri.
Uduaghan was said to have driven Emami to the venue of the planned meeting. But surprisingly, when they arrived at the venue, Uduaghan and Emami met Tsola Emiko, Amastserunleghe, Chief Brown Mene, Chief Roland Oritsejafor, and the present Regent of Warri Kingdom, Prince Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh, waiting for them.
When Emami was asked to state his grievances, he clear stated that he could not discuss anything meaningful in the presence of the people seated at the meeting because they were all junior to him in ranking as Warri palace chiefs.
Yemi Emiko, who is a major factor in the Warri chieftaincy crisis, was said to have been livid with anger, saying the invitation and presence of the above named persons at the meeting, which he never expected, “amounted to an ‘ambush’ which is most unacceptable to him.”
Consequently, nothing meaningful was discussed on that day. The Olu-designate was said to have told Emami that the Itsekiri people were deeply offended with him for shredding a letter that the Princes of the Ginuwa Ruling House wrote him and forwarding the pieces to them.
He added that for peace to reign, Emami should do a letter of apology to the Ginuwa Ruling House requesting to be forgiven, and the matter of his suspension as Ologbotsere will be looked into and resolved.”
Emami was alleged to have seized the opportunity to formally congratulate Tsola Emiko as the Olu designate and promised to do the letter.
Palace Watch reached out to the Ologbotsere descendants over Emami’s alleged recognition of the Olu designate and acceptance to write letter.
The Spokesperson of the Ologbotsere descendants of Warri Kingdom, Comrade Alex Eyengho, shouted and said the claims were false.
He said that what most people don’t understand is that Chief Emami usually briefed the Ologbotsere descendants about all that happened in all the meetings he attended.
According to him, there is no way that Emami will ever contemplate doing such a letter, without first tabling the matter for exhaustive discussions in the Ologbotsere descendants’ meetings, which now virtually hold every other day.
Uduaghan, who was said to have observed the drama with amusement, without uttering a word, immediately after the failed meeting, called for another enlarged one for Wednesday 9th June, 2021, in his residence in Warri.
During the Wednesday meeting, the following persons were said to be present: Chief Gabriel Awala, Chief Yayah Pessu, Chief Isaac Jemide, Chief Richmond MacGrey, Dr. Andrew Ayu (a retired General Manager, Medical Services at NNPC), Chief Eroro Emiko, Chief Barrister Ariyo, Emami, Prince Yemi Emiko, Dr. Alex Ideh (who has been a Commissioner twice in Delta State), Barrister Ekeoko, Chief Pa Akoma (the Olarebi of the Ginuwa Ruling House) and Godwin Abigoro.
Uduaghan was said to have thanked everyone present for attending and said sadly, two persons invited were, however, absent. They were Amastserunleghe and Diden (“Ejele”).
Uduaghan was said that the essence of the meeting, was to first see how lasting peace could be brokered between the warring factions.
Secondly, to see how some of the people present at the meeting, especially Emami and MacGrey, could help locate the missing crown and the two sons of the immediate past Olu (Ogiame Ikenwoli), Princes Oyowoli and Omasholi, who have gone out of circulation since the crisis became heightened some months back.
Uduaghan was said to have promised to pay for the flight tickets of the two princes once their whereabouts are located anywhere in the world, so that as demanded by the Itsekiri tradition, they could participate fully in the traditional burial rites of their father, which will soon begin before the coronation of Tsola Emiko.
Emami was said to have promptly responded that he was not in any position to help find thecrown and the two princes. According to him, Amastserunleghe, who was absent from the meeting, should be the right and proper person to help find the crown, some of the Olu of Warri regalia/artifacts and the two Princes.
MacGrey, who was also asked to assist on the whereabouts of the crown and the Princes, was said to have told the meeting, that there was no way he could be of help.
Yemi Emiko was said to have intervened at this juncture, saying, “if the missing crown is not found before the coronation date, we are already making a new and more beautified crown than the missing crown, which we will use to crown Omoba Tsola Emiko as the 21st Olu of Warri Kingdom come August 21st 2021.
I’m ready, to provide accommodation for Princes Oyowoli and Omasholi and ensure their safety in Warri during the traditional burial rites of their late father.”
He was said to have stressed that the missing crown and other items at the palace were last seen there when the two Princes fled the place.
Yemi Emiko’s comments were said to have angered MacGrey, who asked him whether he was sure that the two Princes, who were seriously traumatized by thugs allegedly brought to the palace by a chief, while the duo children were still in the place before they were chased away, were still alive.
MacGrey was said to have told Yemi, that the “reckless” allegation he has just made against the two Princes were not only unfounded, but can’t be proved against the duo.
MacGrey then asked Yemi Emiko where he was and what he did to ensure the safety of Oyowoli and Omasholi, when the two Princes were trapped in the palace for days, begging for help as they were almost killed in the process;
and why does he, Yemi, think that the two Princes will believe him or take him seriously when he could not help them when they needed his assistance the most, and were fighting for their lives immediately after the death of their father;
and why does he think the children will believe his promise to accommodate them and ensure their safety, when they were neither told when their father’s remains were to be interred nor shown the grave.
Chief MacGrey was said to have asked of what use will the two Princes presence be in Warri, now that the burial rites of their father is about to begin?
MacGrey, who said, he and his family members have been sufficiently embarrassed over this matter, promised to seek redress in court any moment from now.
Ideh and Jemide were said to have told the gathering that if reconciliation can’t be reached now, the possibility of finding the crown and the children will be extremely difficult.
They again stressed that, no matter the beauty of the purported crown that is now being made or procured, the old missing one would remain more valuable and forever the symbol of the Itsekiri people.
Hence, there is need to find the crown at all costs. Pessu and Jemide, who are part of the five kingmakers sidelined from the new process, were said to have expressed how deeply hurt they were over the matter.
Pessu, however, promised not to pursue the matter in court, saying there were better ways of resolving issues like this without litigation.
Another source at the meeting, who did not want his name mentioned, alleged most people are not surprised that Amastserunleghe, has not been cooperating with all the peace initiatives so far made.
He said, contrary to most opinions that he is the problem, he is actually not, but Chief Brown Mene, who was the right hand man of Ogiame Atuwase II, the father of Tsola Emiko.
He alleged that Mene served the late Ogiame Atuwase II for 28 years, and he was his man Friday before his death.
“Mene is the man pulling all the strings behind the scene; whatever, he asks the Iyatsere to do, is what he does without questioning the rationale behind such actions,” the source claimed.
Another Chief was said to have cautioned those fighting as if this is the end of the world, to thread gently.
He said the people fighting in support of Tsola and those backing Prince Oyowoli were also battling for the ruling family as the two principal contenders to the Warri throne are all Emikos, adding: “why should anyone die because of this disagreement?”
Uduaghan has fixed another meeting for tomorrow, Saturday 12 June, 2021 in his residence in Warri, to find a way of settling the problem.
Source: daily times