Prince Emiko is new Olu of Warri
Speculations about the health status of the traditional ruler of Warri Kingdom were on Saturday laid to rest as the Itsekiri nation announced the death of Ogiame Atuwatse II, the Olu of Warri, and announced Prince Godfrey Ikenwoli Emiko as the successor to the throne.
The Olu designate was also officially presented to the public.
A 90-day mourning period was also declared as a traditional mark of respect to the departed 70-year-old monarch who reigned for 28 years.
Pessu performed the traditional rite of smashing on the ground three times a substance tied in red cloth symbolising the end of the era of Ogiame Atuwatse II. This was greeted by several cannon shots fired into the air as mark of respect to the late monarch according to the custom of the Itsekiris.
Speaking after the official presentation of the Olu designate, Pessu said the reaction of the jubilant crowd signified mass acceptance of Emiko.
Pessu said, “You can see the crowd dancing. It is an evidence of acceptance. The significance of the rite I performed is to tell the Itsekiri people the passing away of the king. And when a king passes away, a new king is installed immediately.”
On the selection process, Mr. Edward Ekpoko said the choice of Emiko as Olu designate was as a result of non-qualification of the first son of the late monarch, Prince Shola. This, he said, was largely due to the fact that his mother was neither from Itsekiri nor Edo.
Chief Edwin Ereyitomi told journalists, “The significance of today’s event is very clear. It is to clear the rumour that is in circulation over the demise of the Olu of Warri, which the Itsekiri nation has done today by letting the whole world know that the Olu has joined his ancestors and to present his successor. So, this is a process that we really followed. There were no disagreement anywhere about a successor. The Itsekiri have a traditional way of doing their thing and that we have done today.”
It was gathered that Itsekiri tradition is clear on who becomes the Olu of Warri, which lucidly states that the person’s mother must be either an Itsekiri or from Benin Kingdom before he can be chosen.