The Itsekiri People of Warri Kingdom has crowned Omoba Tsola Emiko as the new Olu of Warri Kingdom. In a spectacular coronation event well attended by Itsekiris from all parts of the world, Royal Fathers from all over Nigeria, Political Leaders and captains of industries, Omoba Tsola was crowned the 21st Olu of Warri Kingdom. The coronation was the culmination of various events which were lined up as part of the coronation.
The coronation commenced with the Boat Regatta at the Warri River en route to Ode-Itsekiri, the ancestral home of the Itsekiris. The Boat Regatta featured boats by several Itsekiri communities and organisations along the Warri River. The boats were decorated in different unique colours and also had flags that show the community name and title of the community. The boats were manned with several people using paddles to paddle the boat towards Ode-Itsekiri.
A unique boat decorated in red colours housed the Olu of Warri designate during the regatta. Some of the Chiefs were also part of his entourage in the red boat. They were dressed in their traditional attires. The boat paddlers were all dressed in red with red paddles.
Performing last chores
On getting to Ode-Itsekiri, the Omoba proceeded to the Palace where he performed his last chores before ascending the throne which is very significant as he is no longer expected to perform any of thee chores after he becomes the Ogiame. The chores included breaking firewood for the last time as an ordinary Itsekiri, fetching water for the last time and paddling a canoe for the last time.
Choosing the name
After the chores, he proceeded to pick the title which he would use throughout his reign and which symbolises his new name. To choose this name, the Olu is expected to pick a ceremonial sword from 21 swords which have 20 symbolic titles of previous Olus and other titles with the last one being an unnamed sword. If the Olu picks a title used by a previous Olu, he would be called by that title and the number of the Olus that has used that title. If he picks the unnamed title, he would be at liberty to create a new title like his predecessor who picked an unnamed sword and named it Ikenwoli.
Interestingly, the Olu-designate picked Atuwatse which was used by two previous Olus, Atuwatse the 1st (Olu Dom Domingos, 7th Olu of Warri Kingdom) and Atuwate the 2nd who happens to be his father (19th Olu of Warri Kingdom). He will be addressed as His Royal Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse the 3rd (Atuwatse III), the Olu of Warri Kingdom throughout and after his reign.
The Olu of Warri walked majestically to the venue of the coronation in the company of the Regent of Warri Kingdom, Prince Emma Okotie-Eboh. It would be recalled that Prince Okotie-Eboh has been managing the affairs of Warri Kingdom upon the announcement of the demise of the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli. They were preceded by the Ojoyes of Warri Kingdom. The new crown was carried by the Olu’s brother, Prince Toju Emiko while the Otusi was carried behind the throne which was carried by a special team of Itsekiri youths.
After the walk, he was led into the coronation hall which was already filled up with dignitaries from all works of life. His throne was placed on the podium. The MC invited award-winning musician Omawumi Megbele who is an Itsekiri to render the Nigerian National Anthem. This was followed by the opening prayer which was rendered by Chief Mene Brown. Chief Johnson Atse presented a short speech as the Chairman of the Warri Council of Chiefs before welcoming Chief Gabriel Awala to crown the Olu of Warri.
While crowning the Olu of Warri, Chief Gabriel Awala announced to the Itsekiris that he is about to crown Omoba Tsola Emiko as the new Olu of Warri and asked them three times if he should be crowned. A resounding yes in Itsekiri filled the hall. At the completion of this, Chief Gabriel Awala proceeded to place the crown on the head of the Olu of Warri Kingdom.
The Olu was beaming with smiles after the crowning as the Itsekiris are hoping for a prosperous nation going forward.
The coronation of the new Olu of Warri enjoyed the presence of many dignitaries from various parts of the country, including traditional rulers, political leaders, Itsekiris from across the world and captains of industries. Political leaders present are Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege; former Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan; Wife of former Senate President, Toyin Saraki; Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu; Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu; Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase; Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was represented by Chief Festus Agas; President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick; Hon. Emomotimi Guwor, member representing Warri South West, Hon. Austin Uroye, member representing Warri South constituency I, Hon. Fred Martins, member representing Warri North and Hon. Matthew Opuoru, member representing Warri South constituency II, Delta State House of Assembly and many others.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege represented President Muhammadu Buhari during the coronation event. While showering praise on Ogiame Atuwatse III, Ovie Omo-Agege informed everyone present that his mother hails from the Warri Kingdom.
Some of the traditional rulers and dignitaries also in attendance include the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Obi of Onitsha, Alfred Achebe; Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams; Dein of Agbor Kingdom, Dein Keagborekuzi I; His Majesty, King (DR.) Dandeson Douglas Jaja, Jaja of Opobo and many others.