Chief (Rt. Hon.) JFK Ọmatsọnẹ (The Olutimẹyin of Warri Kingdom), Itsekiri lady, Chief Winifred Egbejule (The Oyeifo of Warri Kingdom), Chief Francis Ọmatsẹye (The Ẹdigbe of Warri Kingdom) and Chief Prest Uduẹyin (The A-ko-inọ-tse-ọkan of Warri kingdom)

On the vibrant morning of March 16, 2024, the Warri Kingdom bore witness to the grandeur of the 9th edition of Ghigho Aghofen, a cherished tradition that unites the Itsekiri Nation in honoring its cultural heritage and history. Hosted by Ogiame Atuwatse III, alongside the entire Itsekiri Nation, this event marked a significant transition as Okere Community gracefully handed over the responsibility of Palace Watch to the Itsekiri communities in Ethiope West Local Government Area, led by Efurokpe community.

The journey leading up to this momentous occasion traces back to the 8th edition of Ghigho Aghofen in December 2023 when Okere Community assumed the mantle of Palace Watch from Ikpisan Community. Since then, Okere Community has tirelessly served alongside Ogiame Atuwatse III, extending warm hospitality to guests of the Warri Kingdom at the Olu of Warri Palace. Notably, the visitation of Ogiame Atuwatse III to Okere Community on March 2, 2024, as part of Ugwa Olu, further cemented the bond between the palace and the community currently overseeing its watch.

As the sun cast its golden glow upon the gathered crowd, Okere Community emerged resplendent in their signature green wrappers and milk kemije and blouses. Their captivating display of rich Itsekiri cultural dance steps enthralled the audience and set the stage for the day’s festivities. The air resonated with the harmonious notes of both the Nigerian and Itsekiri National Anthems, signaling the commencement of a joyous celebration.

With hearts brimming with anticipation, the spotlight then shifted to Efurokpe Community, adorned in vibrant red wrappers with men donning white kemije and women elegantly dressed in white blouses complemented by red headties. Led by distinguished Palace Chiefs, Chief (Sir) Patrick D. Yalaju (KSQ) (The Kenekueyero of Warri Kingdom with the Akpuja of Adolo) and Chief Winifred Egbejule (The Oyeifo of Warri with Akpuja: Ọtsowode), Efurokpe Community stepped forward to embrace their new role with pride and dignity. Barrister Egert Omoniukarin eloquently narrated the storied history of the 11 communities comprising the Itsekiri communities in Ethiope West LGA of Delta State, underscoring the rich tapestry of their ancestry.

Throughout the day, guests were treated to captivating performances from various ethnic nationalities, including Akwa Ibom, Igala, Edo, Yoruba, Ilaje, and more, further accentuating the cultural diversity and unity that characterize the Warri Kingdom.

As the echoes of laughter and joy reverberated within the hallowed halls of the Olu of Warri Palace, the 9th edition of Ghigho Aghofen served as a poignant reminder of the enduring legacy of tradition and the unwavering spirit of community that binds the Itsekiri Nation together. As Efurokpe Community assumes its sacred duty of Palace Watch, the torch of heritage continues to burn bright, illuminating the path for future generations to follow. #Oluofwarri #GhighoAghofen

By Aliwere