•Ogiame Atuwase II, the late Olu of Warri
The Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwase II, is dead.
The monarch was said to have died in a private hospital last Saturday in Lagos.
The Warri Traditional Council of Chiefs officially announced the passing away of the Olu of Warri, Monday.
Chief Yahya Pessu, a member of the Olu Advisory Council, and other chiefs broke the news of the monarch’s death in Ode-Itsekiri, the ancestral home of Itsekiri nation.
He also announced Godfrey Emiko as the Olu-designate.
Before the announcement, a chalk wrapped with red and black clothes was smashed on the ground three times to symbolise the demise of the monarch, and it was accompanied by 17 cannons shots.
The septuagenarian’s death threw anxiety among the people after the chiefs kept mum over the state of health of the monarch.
Chief Pessu said the Itsekiri people would be in a mourning mood in the next three months till the burial rite was concluded.
“All Itsekiri adults both male and female will put their clothes upside down throughout this period of mourning.
“No party, no drumming or merriment of any sort in Itsekiri land, until the burial is over and new Olu installed.”
“The Olu designate will be in seclusion in the next 90 days to receive advice from elders in the kingdom.
“This is a training period for him where he will be exposed to a lot of cultural activities.”
On why the son of Atuwase 11 did not succeed his father, the Chief said the Itsekiri nation was governed by law and standard protocols.
According to him, the son of a departed monarch could only succeed the throne if his mother was either from Itsekiri or Benin.
“If the son of a departed monarch is not qualified by law, it is the prerogative of the princes to choose from the ruling lineage of Ginuwa, Erejuwa and Atuwase.” he said.
Thomas Ereyitomi, a senior chief, said the event was to clarify the rumour in circulation over the health situation of the monarch.
“The Itsekiri nation has let the whole world know that we have lost our Olu and the introduction of his successor.
“There was no disagreement among us but it is just a process and tradition we needed to follow,” he said.
Mr. Ereyitomi urged the Itsekiri to console one another, especially this mourning period, and also work together for the smooth succession of the new Olu.
Joseph Otumara, the immediate past commissioner of health in Delta State, said the event signified the end of an era and beginning of a new one.
He also urged the Itsekiri people to abide by the advice given by the chiefs throughout the mourning period.
Edward Ekpoko, the Secretary, Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, described the Olu designate as a perfect gentleman.
“He is a graduate of Business Administration from the University of Benin, a successful businessman but non-partisan.” he said.
Recalled that the late monarch celebrated his 5th coronation anniversary less than a week ago.
Our source said at the ceremony, the traditional ruler was lively and showed no signs of illness. (The New Diplomat)