By Olu Oma
ＷＡＲＲＩ— the Oil city and economic capital of Delta state is set to come alive again as the Itsekiri Nation rolls out drums in preparation for what is unarguably the most important festivity in Ìwẹrẹland— The Coronation Anniversary of the Olu of Warri Kingdom!
On August 21st of 2021, the world watched in awe of the rich cultural and historical heritage of the Itsekiri people, as their traditional ruler, the Olu — Ogiamẹ Atuwatse III — ascended the throne of the ancient Warri Kingdom to become the 21st of a long line of nobility spanning over 540 years.
Almost two years after, the enthusiasm, passion and thrill that ushered in the reign of the Warri Monarch is still felt all over the Kingdom as preparations are in top gear for the second-anniversary celebration of this historic and all-important event.
Economic Activities around the coronation anniversary
As it is customary, Warri becomes a beehive of activities whenever the indigenous Itsekiri people celebrate the annual Ùgé ọyọ ekoro. Individuals, families, communities, social clubs and associations storm the local markets in search of wrappers, headgears, beads and other ornaments befitting for the epoch-making event. As a result of this, there is a surge of economic activities in and around the Oil City.
A tour around Main market; Dore; Mciver; Igbudu and Pessu markets of Warri reveals an abundance of smiles and big grins on the faces of local traders who admittedly have seen an exponential increase in sales as people scamper to buy food and clothing items in preparation for this ‘August occasion’.
The transportation as well as hospitality sector in Warri and environs are also not left out as hotels, event centers, restaurants, food and beverage services, bars, etc., are positioned to have a piece of this multimillion naira economy that the Olu’s coronation anniversary celebration brings to the city annually.
Coronation Anniversary Program of Events
In commemoration of this year’s anniversary, the palace of the Olu of Warri doesn’t intend to lower the tempo as it has rolled out a program of events that will last for 10 days— longer than any anniversary celebration the Kingdom has hosted in almost a decade!
According to an announcement signed by Ojoye Solomon Arenyeka, the Ẹsọn of Warri Kingdom and chairman of the anniversary publicity committee, no activity will be held this year at the traditional capital, Ode-Itsekiri; as all events for the Second coronation anniversary are billed to take place at the Olu’s palace on the Warri mainland.
According to the program of events, the celebration will kickoff on Friday, August 18, 2023 with a ‘Praise Day’ service at the Palace Church by 3:00 PM;
The next day, Saturday, August 19, Ogiamẹ will confer Chieftaincy titles on three deserving Itsekiri daughters (the first batch of three sets of recipients) at the main palace hall by 12:00 Noon;
On Sunday, August 20, the Iwẹrẹ Musical Concert headlined by the Royal Iwẹrẹ Choir will be held at the Palace church by 3:00 PM;
On Monday, August 21st (Coronation Anniversary Day), Ọsẹn gbigba (Paying of homage) by various families, communities, associations, etc., shall begin from 10:00 AM at the palace hall;
On Tuesday, August 22nd, the second batch of already-announced recipients shall be conferred with Chieftaincy titles by Ogiamẹ from 12:00 PM;
On Wednesday, August 23rd, the last set of recipients will be Conferred with Chieftaincy titles by Ogiamẹ from 12:00 PM;
On Thursday, August 24th, paying of homage by individuals, families, communities, organizations, etc., resumes from 10:00 AM;
On Friday, August 25th, paying of homage continues from 10:00 AM;
On Saturday, August 26th, the 7th edition of Ghigho Aghọfẹn will be held as the Ifiekporo, Ikenren and Aja-etan communities handover to the ‘palace watch’ responsibilities to Ikpisan community;
And climaxing the celebration on Sunday, August 27th,a special anniversary thanksgiving service will be held at the palace church by 12:00 PM.
Clarion Call by Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom
The Warri Council of Chiefs ably led by Ojoye (Engr.) Oma Eyewuoma, the Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom, implores all Sons and Daughters of Iwẹrẹland, friends of the Kingdom and well wishers from far and near to come out in their numbers and beautiful attires to join His Majesty and the Royal Family as the Itsekiri Nation celebrates another year of God’s goodness and grace.
Congratulations to Ogiame Atuwatse III
I humbly congratulate His Majesty and all Omá Iwẹrẹ worldwide, on this special occasion and pray that God and our ancestors continue to prosper and bless Warri Kingdom under His Majesty, Ogiamẹ Atuwatse III, CFR, and may His reign be long.
— Olù Ọmá