By Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe, JP
It is crystal clear that a new King, in the person of Omoba, Tsola Emiko, is about to be crowned as the 21st Olu of Warri, for Iwere land of Itsekiri Nation, South-South Nigeria.
All attempt by a tiny group of powerful stakeholders to disqualify him on the grounds that his mother is of Yoruba extraction fell like a huge log before the axe. The royal politics got to a climax and the ancient crown got missing, but now recovered. The majority will always carry the day while minority will have their say.
The 37 years old young Olu Designate, described by many as a humble, intellectually sound and enterprising oil mogul, certainly have the royal blood in his genes, being the eldest son of Ogiame Atuwatse II.
In African tradition and customs, mothers don’t own children but fathers, particularly the male child who must keep the family name in progression. The girl child must of a necessity take to the name of her husband’s family which technically disallow her to retain her paternal name. It is so till date.
However, the Itsekiri Edict of 1979 or so, had certain provisions that tend to deviate from this ancient African custom and tradition, which ultimately disqualify any Itsekiri Prince from mounting the throne of his forefathers if mother does not hail from either Benin Kingdom or Itsekiri extractions. The question is, what happens to his paternity? The mother may not have royal blood in her, why then must a non royalty be made to determine the legality of who wears the crown in Itsekiri Nation? Your guess is as good as mine.
However, it must be stated that every Itsekiri son or daughter automatically have Benin royal connections through the Monarchy established by Olu Ginuwa, which is why the origin of a Mother in this scenario cannot disqualify a Prince of Itsekiri from mounting the royal throne of his ancestors. I stand to be corrected.
Some Itsekiri historians were quoted as saying that Itsekiris are of Benin Kingdom extraction, and therefore their King must have a direct or indirect link with that great kingdom. Omo N’Oba Ghato Okpere, Ise! It sounds great but that decision cannot override the will of God concerning the paternity of a Prince, as well as the choice of the gods of Iwere land.
History has it that the Itsekiris are not Benin people but their Monarchy is of Benin origin through Olu Ginuwa, the only son of Oba Olua of Benin Kingdom, and his son Ijijen, Atuwatse I christened Don Domingo; who spent eleven years in Portugal to acquire western education.
It was further learnt, though still subject to further historical clarifications, that an Ijaw woman gave birth to the first two children of Ginuwa, a Benin Prince, before he arrived Iwere land to establish the Itsekiri Monarchy (Olu of Itsekiri), and which was later named Olu of Warri, with the help of the late Nigerian powerful politician, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Itsekiri nation had great royal connections with the ancient Benin Kingdom through Olu Ginuwa, for establishing Itsekiri Kingdom, but in a situation where the Crown Prince father was a King, his eligibility for the throne cannot be faulted on the basis of where his mother hails from. I stand to be corrected because his father the former King was a bona-fide Itsekiri who had both Itsekiri and Benin royal connections through Olu Ginuwa, so also the crown prince. Everything in the genes of his father is domiciled in the crown prince. Again, I stand to be corrected.
It follows that the Edict of 1979, may have been put in place to discourage inter tribal marriages in Iwere land, which may further polarise Itsekiri Nation. Whichever reason or reasons why the Edict was promulgated, it falls short of the essential ingredients of freedom of association and freedom of choice, in terms of choosing a life partner.
The vexed Edict tends to injure the emotions and affections of two consenting adults who legally became life partners, husband and wife. And as born again Christians, we are joint heirs with Christ, no tribal sentiments. We are new creatures bound by biblical injunctions, not by an Edict that is obviously repugnant to natural justice and good conscience.
The emphasis, in my candid opinion should be the paternity of the King or Crown Prince of Itsekiri Nation. Choice of a life partner, husband or wife, must not be coerced by a mere Edict against constitutional provisions. It was not stated whether or not the contents of the Edict of 1979, was inspired by the ancestors or gods of Itsekiri Nation.
And by the way, the gods does not operate according to provisions of an Edict or Constitution. The gods are always wise, and devices ways and means of conducting their affairs without recourse to mortals and their selfish interests. The ways of the gods are in most cases at variance with the ways of mortals.
The gods have no respect for the rich or poor in spiritual matters, decisions or operations. Therefore, it is laughable for anybody to say that the gods will not speak in his or her absence, especially when you are not the Chief Priest. Let’s be careful about the ways and manners we drive our ambitions in life. Very important.
It is on this note that I humbly and respectfully congratulate Itsekiri Nation and their emerging King, Omoba Tsola Emiko. If the Edict of 1979, was not written by the gods of Itsekiri Nation or Iwere land, there is therefore the urgent need to deploy legal procedures to abolish it, once and for all. The vexed Edict is obviously repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.
More importantly, the so-called Edict is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, and to that extent null and void, and of no effect whatsoever.
Those folks relying on the inconsequential Edict must of a necessity renew their minds and join efforts with the progressives to move Itsekiri Nation forward. History has it that Benin Kingdom, the Yoruba Nation and the Aborigines have close connection, one way or the other with Iwere land.
Furthermore, Olori Gladys Emiko the Queen Mother of Omoba Tsola, ruled with Olu Atuwatse II, and to that extent her status in the kingdom cannot be rubbished by any man made Edict that is inconsistent with the constitution of Nigeria, and which may not have the backing of the gods of Itsekiri Nation.
The gods of Iwere land were with the King, HRM Atuwatse II and Olori Gladys for twenty eight years (28) of their prosperous and peaceful reign, and above all, the King was a devoted christian. Therefore, the moribund Edict cannot disqualify Prince Tsola now Omoba of Iwere land from mounting the throne and wearing the ancient royal crown of his forefathers.
It appears that the procedures leading to the final coronation of the new King is in progress in Iwere land, judging from images that surfaced on social media and other media platforms. It is a good development worthy of mention. The royal drum beats has commenced and Iwere land will soon go agog, to celebrate the entrance of a new royal father.
And from the look of things, It is a new day for the royal family, and maximum cooperation and watertight synergy is required to crown the 21st Olu of Warri, for Itsekiri people.
Long live the emerging King, HRM Tsola Emiko.
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