How Olu of Warri responded to kingship tussle ahead of coronation

The Olu of Warri, Atunwase III, on Saturday, addressed the issues of the kingship tussle and the missing crown that unfolded ahead of his inauguration.

In his first speech after the coronation, Tsola Emiko, the new king, noted that there were concerted efforts to thwart his coronation since the Idaniken (the traditional isolation period of 90 days for the king-designate) was performed last May.

He singled out eight chiefs for “special recognition.”

“We must express our profound gratitude to the proud Itsekiri sons and daughters who stood up to be counted when it appeared that the foundation of our collective patrimony was under threat,” he said.

The chiefs included Johnson Atseleghe, Gabriel Awala (who crowned the king), Brown Mene, Roland Oritsejafor, Charles Ikomi, Edwin Olley, Robinson Ariyo, and Eugene Ikomi.

After the 20th Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli, passed away last December, there was a tussle within the royal family for his replacement. While one group supported the emergence of Tsola Emiko, who is the eldest son of the 19th Olu, Atunwase II; the other, led by Ayiri Emami, the traditional prime minister of the kingdom, thought otherwise.

Mr Emami, who has been suspended from his position, was conspicuously absent at Saturday’s coronation.

While Mr Emami had filed a suit challenging the succession plant to the throne, Onyowoli Emiko, the eldest son of the 20th Olu, instituted a legal action challenging the emergence of Tsola Emiko as the new king.

On August 6, Bikoro Okolosi, a judge of the Delta State High Court, began hearing on a case challenging the emergence of Tsola Emiko as the new Olu. The judge, however, adjourned the matter till August 12 for mention.

“Interestingly, just before this precious moment in time which has brought us to where we are today, that age-long tendency that has always sought to distort and abort our greatness wanted to rear its ugly head in an attempt to truncate our glory and restoration to our original, God-given identity,” the king began, in his inaugural speech.

“We avow before you all today that we were not and were never offended at any point in time during the process that culminated to this day, that has seen me ascend the throne of my fathers.

“This is, in every ramification, a very special day. One that has been predestined and divinely ordained by the most high God. He and He alone could have determined that three months after our Idaniken began in May, our coronation will take place today, the only Saturday in this year 2021 that occurs on the 21st day of the month.


“There is no part of this that has been my own doing, it was and remains God’s divine project. And as a result, the mischief that some had intended, God has used it for good.”

Missing crown

A few days before the coronation, the king’s crown disappeared. The police declared two princes in the kingdom wanted in connection with the incident. According to the police, Onyowoli Emiko, 30, and Omatsuli Emiko, 27, broke into “the secret apartment of the HRM Olu of Warri” and stole the royal crown.

Last month, social media was awash with photos of Onyowoli Emiko embarking on Idaniken.

After his coronation, Atunwase III said the missing crown was replaced with a more befitting one.

“Our Yoruba brothers have an expression: when the palace of the king burns down, it is because a more beautiful one wants to be erected in its place,” he said.

“The taboo that was done by the desecration of our most prized crown jewels made a way for a more beautiful one, fashioned by our own royal person while staying true to the inspiration of the one that came way back in the 17th century.

“Before then, however, Olu Ginuwa I brought a coral-beaded crown from the source in Benin. And that crown adorned the heads of the first six Olus. Olu Atunwase I brought a pearl of silver crowns that would adorn the heads of the next 14 Olus.

“By the special grace of God, we have the privilege to introduce a new pearl of gold and silver crowns to the already rich and beautiful history of attire of the Olu of Warri.

“And as the progression of our crown is symbolic for all to see: from coral to silver and now to gold, so shall there be a spiritual, physical, social, and economic manifestation of the progress of our kingdom and our people.”

Reversing a curse

The new king also took the opportunity of his first speech to reverse a curse placed on the federal government by Olu Erejuwa II who was deposed by the NCNC-led regional government in 1964. He was, however, reinstated two years later.

“While not seeking to reopen old wounds, it is pertinent to recall the fact that following the grave injustice meted out to Olu Erejuwa II, he visited his royal majesty, Oba Akenzua II of Benin, and recounted his ordeal,” Atunwase III said.

“In a reaction, a curse was placed on the land by both of them. It is not recorded that Olu Erejuwa II reversed the curse over the land. Neither is it recorded that Oba Akenzua II did the same. Most probably, the issue was never revisited. As a firm believer in the intricate interconnectedness between the spiritual and the manifestation in the physical, it is our firm belief that the matter needs to be addressed.

“As the spiritual, cultural, political, and traditional ruler of this land, I, Oghiame, Atunwase III, the 21st Olu of Warri, I hereby reverse the curse placed on the land.

“In its place, I release forgiveness and healing to the federal government of Nigeria whose might was used to propagate that offence and I decree unprecedented and uncommon peace, progress, prosperity, development upon this land.

READ ALSO: Rites, drama, jubilation as Warri kingdom gets a new king

“I bring down the government of heaven onto this land and I direct it to flow as a force that can neither be sabotaged, slowed, nor stopped. It goes out as a strong ripple effect emanating from this kingdom to the rest of the Niger Delta, to the rest of the Nigerian nation, and even the African continent.

“Africa has always been shaped as a gun, with Nigeria as its trigger. Today, that gun has been fired and full restoration comes out of the barrel. This land begins to yield its riches to us, all that has been hidden hitherto comes to the surface and the world shall marvel at how we have defied projected economic trends, and this time around we shall be the ones to chart the course of our own destiny.

“We boldly declare that the kingdom of Warri has become the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and he shall reign forever and ever.”

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