EREJUWA II (WILSON AYONRONMITSI-GBESIMI EMIKO)

Second Olu in the second dynasty. Was the second son of Olu Ginuwa II. He was the first Olu to maintain two Palaces, one at Ode-Itsekiri (Big Warri) and the other at Warri Township. First Olu to reside in Warri Township. His era coincided with the emergence of party politics in Nigeria. The retainership of the old title “Olu of Warri” was achieved in this era in 1952, which resulted to the change of Warri Province to Delta Province. The title change from “Olu of Itsekiri” to the original title of “Olu of Warri” vexed the Urhobos, and there was fighting between the two tribes that year. In 1953, whale (the biggest fish in the sea) was found at the shores at Ogidigben in Escravos (in present day Warri South West L.G.A.). The very thick mud that accompanied it to the shores remained there for about four years. In 1956, the Queen of England, Elizabeth II visited Nigeria. In 1958, the Itsekiri Communal Land Trust was established by the government of Western Nigeria. In 1959, the government of Western Nigeria made an instrument of trust, under the Communal Land Rights (vesting in trustees, Law of 1958, effecting the transfer of all former Crown Lands in Warri to the Itsekiris (except those premises occupied by government offices and quarters). On October 1st, 1960 Nigeria attained independence. The people of Ugborodo who hitherto owe no allegiance to the Olu pledged their loyalty to this Olu. Was appointed a Minister in the old Western Region Government in the sixties. The Olu was deposed on August 21st, 1964 and sent to Ogbesse in Ovia Local Government Area (old Benin Division) of the state, during the premiership of Chief Dennis Osadebey, he was later re-enthroned on December 20th, 1966 during the Military Governorship of the then Lt. Col. David A. Ejoor (now a retired Major-General). This was the first time an Olu was deposed in the history of Warri Kingdom. Chieftaincy titles on women started during the era of this Olu. There were educational, Social and Political advancement in the land. Many secondary schools, social amenities and health institutions were established in this era. The Nigerian Port Authority (N.P.A.) in Warri was developed to modern standard. An airstrip was also constructed in Warri in this era. Many social cultural groups were also formed. In 1967 – 1970, there was civil war in Nigeria. The self-help effort imbibed by the people led the Eberen Iwere Society alias Omutse to build a town hall at Ode-Itsekiri (Big Warri) and donated it to the Olu and the entire Itsekiri people on 24th March, 1973. In 1976 – 1981, the Olu was appointed Chancellor of the University of Ife, Ile-Ife by Late General Murtala Mohammed, then Nigeria Head of State. On February 18th, 1980 Warri Ladies Vanguard alias Agura Iwere Erun built a grammar school at Ode-Itsekiri (Big Warri) and donated it to the State Government. The school is now called Erejuwa II Grammar School. Warri Progressive Society alias Oton-Oloye also built a town hall at Ugbori in Warri Township for the use of all. In 1980, there was the Warri Kingdom quingentinary jubilee (500 years existence of the Kingdom).

The construction of a modern Palace at Ode-Itsekiri (Big Warri) started in this era. In an interview with the author on the 8th of March, 1882 at his Palace at Ekurede during the occasion of his thirty first coronation anniversary, the Olu sanctioned the marriage between two Itsekiri cousins after the fourth generation, an act he said had the blessing of the Warri Traditional Council. His era made history, with Chief Ogbemi Newe Rewane being conferred with the title of Ologbotsere after he had dropped the former. This was the first time this has been done in the kingdom. For the first time, Awankere (Okere) juju officially visited the Olu in his palace at Ekurede in 1985. Also for the first time, the Olare-aja of Okere went to the palace for a chieftaincy title in this era. A naval base was established in Warri in 1986 with a ship called N.N.S. Umalokun.
24th March, 1951 – 17th December, 1986.

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