The crisis rocking the Olu of Warri stool took new twist on Thursday as Police in Zone “5”, Force Headquarters, Benin, Edo State, issued an invitation letter to Chief Ayirimi Emami, the Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom.
It was learnt that the invitation to the Ologbotsere is coming just as the Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa in a dramatic twist extended his condolence to the Itsekiri nation over the now controversial demise of the Olu of Warri, His Royal Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli.
Governor Okowa who was said to have earlier withheld his congratulatory message to Itsekiri nation, also congratulated the new Olu-designate, 37-year-old Prince Utienyinoritsetsola Emiko, who is facing legitimacy and legal hurdles following the controversial manner he was chosen.
Recall that the Delta state Government had on Wednesday stated that it was not aware of the passage of the 20th Olu of Warri amidst the denial and controversies surrounding the reported death of Ogiame Ikenwoli and the subsequent announcement of a new Olu-designate.
It was reliably gathered that the Ologbotsere who had opposed the process of the emergence of the new Olu-designate which is a departure from the 1979 Edict, the only legal instrument that controls the Olu stool and announcement of the passage of former revered traditional ruler, was invited alongside a palace chief over the festering succession crisis.
Dependable sources said that Chief Ayirimi Emami who was controversially suspended by the Ginuwa Ruling House before the Iyatsere, Chief Johnson Atserunleghe,who now heads the Olu Advisory Council, unceremoniously convened the Itsekiri Nation Assembly where Prince Tsola Emiko was presented as the Olu-designate, is being invited by the police in connection to an alleged “case of burglary, stealing and conduct likely to cause breach of peace”.
The invitation to Chief Emami, was signed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP Polycarp Dibia, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Zone “5” Force Headquarters, Benin.
The letter dated April 21st, 2021 was addressed to Chief Ayiri Emami.
The letter reads: “This office is investigating a case reported through a written petition to the Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone “5” Force Headquarters, Benin.
“You are required to have an interview with Deputy Commissioner of Police, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Zone 5 Force Headquarters, Benin through the O/C Anti-Vice Section, Zone 5 Force Headquarters, Benin on Monday 26th April, 2021 at 1000hr. You are also requested to come along with Chief Macgrey Richmond.
“Kindly accept the warm regards of Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone “5” Force Headquarters, Benin City, please”.
All efforts to reach Chief Emami on his mobile phone as of the time of filling this report proved abortive.
Meanwhile, Governor Okowa of Delta on Thursday condoled with the Itsekiri people in the state on the passing of their monarch, Ogiame Ikenwoli, the Olu of Warri.
Okowa told members of Olu of Warri Advisory Council, who visited him at Government House, Asaba, that the departed Olu was an epitome of peace who built bridges across ethnic divides in the country.
He stated that the late Ogiame contributed immensely to the peace and development of not only Warri Kingdom, but the state and the country.
“I want to truly condole with the whole of Itsekiri nation on the passing of Ogiame Ikenwoli, the king who believed in peace.
“He set out to visit other monarchs to establish partnership and friendship and these partnerships he built helped to improve on the peace in the state and helped to bringing various kingdoms together.
“We thank God for the life of his Royal Majesty who has gone to the great beyond and I pray that the Itsekiri nation will continue to work for peace because he was an epitome of peace.
“We appreciate his conduct as a royal father who was always with us at state functions along with his colleagues. He built bridges of friendship and played his role beyond the Itsekiri nation.
“We were not expecting this but only God knows why it happened so early. On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I mourn with the Itsekiri nation on the passing of His Royal Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli, the Olu of Warri Kingdom,” he said.
The governor congratulated the Olu-designate, Prince Tsola Emiko, on his emergence and called on the Itsekiri people to give him their full support.
He urged the Olu Advisory Council led by the Iyatsere of Warri Kingdom, Chief Johnson Atserungleghe, to do its best to unite everyone and ensure that there was peace in Warri Kingdom.
“I thank God that you have been able to arrive at a decision in the interest of the people on the choice of a new monarch.
“I pray to God to lead the Itsekiri nation through these trying times even as we work towards giving the departed king befitting burial rites and as we also look forward to the presentation of the new king.
“Please extend my congratulations to the new monarch and we assure him that our prayers are with him just as we pray that the Itsekiri nation will remain united.
“It is only when there is peace that we can have development not only in Warri but the entire Delta State,” Okowa added.
He urged all aggrieved persons in the process of picking a new Olu to sheath their swords to ensure that everything was done peacefully and in unity in the overall interest of Itsekiri people.
Earlier, the delegation which spoke through Chief Brown Mene, said its visit was to intimate the governor on the demise of the Warri monarch and the enthronement of a new one.
“Your Excellency, on the 5th of April, 2021, we got to a point where as a people, we gathered together to make a proclamation that our revered Ogiame Ikenwoli had been called to join his ancestors.
“And, because we know the king never dies, on that same day we proclaimed to the whole world that we have a new Olu-designate in the person of Prince Tsola Emiko.
“At the conclusion of the funeral rites of the departed King, we can then enthrone the new king,” Mene said.