THE OLU FINAL CORONATION RITES OF BECOMING THE OLU OF IWERRE (WARRI) KINGDOM

The Olu-elect then went through several tests.
The Ritual for the Sanctification of ODE-ITSEKIRI (Ta gba fa Aja) proceeded apace; there was also the driving away of evil Spirits from the Town (Awerewere).

The highlight of the ceremonies was the Ogun Ceremony in which Traditional Warriors from OGBOLOKPOSO carried out the Ogun Test, to determine finally whether the Candidate was acceptable to the Ancestors (Ogiri).
If he failed that test, he was disqualified; if he succeeded then the final stages of the Coronation Rites began.
The whole Nation was then summoned by prolonged beats of the Signal Drum (Oji).

After this, the Olu-elect was made to walk through the Ancient City Road (Ona Eghare). As soon as he returned, the Swords of the departed OLUS and another one which was given a name, though kept secret, were produced.
The Olu-elect’s face was bound with a White Cloth and he was made to pick one of these. After picking it he was declared the Olu of Itsekiri by the OLOGBOTSERE.
The OLU was then sworn in by the Senior Elder of the IRIGBO QUARTER, to rule the Nation justly. Then the Nation through the Chiefs took Oath of allegiance. He was then dressed in full State Robes and mounted on a Dais.
His new title which was given to him according to the Sword which he had chosen was proclaimed by the Eldest Descendant of the Man, ITSEKIRI. After this, he was crowned by the Head of the Kingmakers.
He then made his formal entry into the Royal Palace (Aghofen) while the People acclaimed with Drums and Cannon. As soon as he sat on the Throne in the Palace all the People came to pay their homage.

We must emphasize that every Act in this Coronation Drama had an Historic significance.
*The arrival in the heavily decorated Canoe with the Nobles, commemorated the arrival of GINUWA with his Chiefs in the Ark.
*The new land had to be purified to make it acceptable. As OLU IJIJEN and his team proceeded from OKOTOMU (OKOYITEMI) to their new settlement, they drove away the evil Spirits, a function which was performed by the Ovia Cult in Benin.
*The Priest of the First Settler swore in the name of the Traditional Deity that evil should come to the Olu if he did not rule justly and the Olu replied by swearing that if the People did not treat him justly evil should come to them.

Once the Olu was crowned, he became the centre of a Remarkable Political System.
In theory, he was an Absolute Ruler and could dispense with the advice of his Council. This however is an oversimplification. Although his powers were great, the King would fail in the administration if he continued to alienate his own Chiefs.
If he derived his Authority from his descent from GINUWA, so many of the Chiefs would also claim descent from the Sons of the Chiefs who had left Benin with GINUWA or from the lineages of the Earlier Settles of the Capital and the Benin River Villages.
The Olu was thus constantly involved in politics and the competition for power. The Olu was however responsible for all State patronages and he could thus place a favourite Chief in any Post of Public Emolument.

The Olu was bound by tradition and had to be Sanctified by Ritual.
*Could he remove any person who had been appointed Chief by his predecessor? It does not seem that the OLU, even if he had the power, would dare to exercise it.
This was because the granting of a title was generally within the framework of tradition also and the Olu would be afraid to get the Chiefs grouping against him.

One thing we should bear in mind however was that everything depended on the Personal Power and Ambition of the OLU.
Since there was the belief that the OLU had the PEOPLE and all their Property, any OLU could exercise his Supreme Power, grant favours only to those obedient to him, eliminate a Chief, or force him into voluntary exile.

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