Olu of Warri Passes On | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

News, Slider

Olu of Warri Passes On

Posted: Sep 6, 2015 at 12:04 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

A gale of mourning fell on the Itsekiri nation state at the weekend, following the demise of Ogiame Atuwatse II, the Olu of Warri at a Lagos hospital on Thursday, after suffering stroke.

NewsOgiame Atuwatse, the 19th Olu of Warri, born Godwin Toritseju Emiko, celebrated his 28th coronation anniversary, on May 2, having succeeded Erejwa II (Wilson Ayonronmitsi-Egbemisi Emiko) in 1987.

Sunday Independent learnt that following the Ogiame’s demise, Itsekiri palace chiefs met last night and may make a formal announcement today, after which a succession race could begin for the stool.

Chief Ogbemi Rewane, the late doyen of Itsekiri history and Ologbotsere of Warri kingdom, crowned the late Ogiame Atuwatse II, the second son of his father and only son who was a member of the Warri Traditional Council since 1983.

A lawyer by profession he is the second university graduate to ascend the great throne, he was also a member of Warri Local Government Council, where he served in several capacities.

Ogiame Atuwatse’s passage is coming one month and six days after the death of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, Olubuse II, in a London hospital on July 28.

When contacted on Saturday night, prominent Itsekiri chiefs and indigenes neither confirmed nor denied the news of Ogiame Atuwatse’s passage, but a source in one of the local governments in the area confirmed the incident and the fact that he passed on in Lagos.

The late Atuwatse II stirred controversy when he renounced his title Ogiame, after receiving “Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and saviour,” following which youth in their hundreds, led by an Itsekiri masquerade, literally relocated their homes to the monarch’s palace, dancing, singing and eating to register their disenchantment.

Ogiame in Iwere Kingdom means “King of the Rivers” which the youth claimed was a royal heritage from their forefathers, but which the Olu of Warri tried to erase, due to his newfound faith.

Heaps of bonfires were set in strategic places in Ugbori community, where the Olu of Warri’s palace is located while the gates to the two entrances leading to the Itsekiri-dominated area, were put under lock and key by the protesting youths. Consequently, there was tension in the community as youth leaders, including Comrade Newuwumi Omonubi, made frantic efforts to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order.

Reacting, the Emiko royal had in a statement claimed that though they supported the power of Olu of Warri to review aspects of Itsekiri culture in line with the new age, they were at a loss as to why the Olu would renounce the Ogiame title which they respect highly.

Palace chiefs also followed up with a demand that the Olu withdraws his controversial statement in a letter handed over to the monarch.

During the stand-off, the then Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, an Itsekiri, relocated to Warri to intervene and prevent the crisis from escalating beyond the peaceful protest.

The Olu had days later bowed to the wish of his people.