Protests over disqualification of Olu of Warri’s ‘successor’

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The kingship tussle for Warri kingdom escalated early yesterday with reported gunshots at the Aghofen, the palace of the Olu of Warri.

It is located on the Ajamimogha Road in Warri South Council Area of Delta State.
Hundreds of protesters, mostly youths, occupied the entrance of the palace as early as 3 am.

They rejected the “disqualification” of the Omoba, Prince Tsola Emiko, son of the 19th Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwaste ll.

Emiko was said to have been chosen by the Ifa oracle to succeed the 20th Olu of Warri.

The protesters bore placards with the inscriptions: “We must follow Ifa oracle”; “Itsekiri is not your property” and “We are tired of waiting”.

Our reporter observed the heavy presence of security operatives around the palace.

A statement by the Regent of Warri Kingdom, Prince Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh, said the protest followed the declaration by the kingdom’s prime minister, the Ologbotsere, Chief Ayiri Emami, that Prince Tsola Emiko has been disqualified.

Addressing reporters amidst the crowd of protesting youths, the regent announced the suspension of Chief Emami as the Ologbotsere.

The statement was read by Prince Toju Emiko, a member of the Ginuwa I Ruling House and Secretary of the Emiko Descendants Forum. Other elders of the Ginuwa I Ruling House were present at the briefing.

According to the regent, the Iyasere of Warri Kingdom is to take over the duty of the suspended prime minister immediately.

The statement reads in part: “The Ginuwa I Ruling House, which is the only ruling house in our land and which has exclusive powers to nominate a successor to the throne, has been meeting in the last three months after a convocation of bona fide members of the house to nominate a successor to the throne.

“In the end, Prince Tsola Emiko was picked as the most qualified person to sit on the throne at this time. This was done only after his name was submitted to the ruling house by a majority of the descendants of the last three Olus, even in compliance with this vexatious edict (of 1979).

“Only yesterday (Monday), Chief Emami together with two of his known friends who he…brought into the Olu’s Advisory Council as temporary members, took an irrational decision declaring that they have disqualified Prince Tsola!

“The edict does not give them such powers; they have no right whatsoever to disqualify any candidate presented to them by the Ruling House.

“Their only prescribed function is to summon the elders and senior officials of the Ruling House and in the presence of the regent consult the Ifa Oracle one last time.

“This singular illegal action of disqualification is now threatening the relative peace in the Warri Kingdom and almost tearing apart the very fabric of our existence…

“We have reached a tipping point in this matter and before it further degenerates into mayhem, the following urgent actions are to be taken: Chief Ayiri Emami, having exhibited actions and tendencies unbecoming of the position he occupies and having proven himself unworthy of the Ologbotsere stool, is hereby suspended from Warri Council of Chiefs.

“He is to immediately step aside as the Ologbotsere and stop parading himself as such.

“The Iyatsere who is next in command, and, the most senior chief who accompanied Ginuwa I from Benin to found the Warri Kingdom, is hereby appointed as acting chairman of the council of chiefs and the Olu’s Advisory Council.

“He is to take over immediately and steer the remainder of the process to give us an organised, speedy closure…

“I take these decisions as the regent of Warri Kingdom, duly elected by the entire Ruling House and officially presented to Chief Ayiri and the Advisory Council on February 5, 2021.

“We reiterate our loyalty to the crown and commit to the Itsekiri people, land and crown that we will not let them down in these very tempestuous times and will continue to stand for all the values we hold sacred.

“We again call on all youths to remain calm but resolute and trust that we will not betray them in this fight of good over evil,” the statement concluded.

President of the Itsekiri National Youth Council (INYC), Comrade Weyinmi Agbateyinro, who spoke on the sideline said that “rejection of Prince Tsola Emiko is unacceptable” to Itsekiri youths and people of the kingdom.

Emami could not be reached to react to the allegations against him or his suspension.
He did not pick his calls and did not respond to text messages sent to him as of press time.

Messages sent to his Whatsapp indicated they were read but he did not respond to them as of the time of filing the report.

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