By Sony Neme
Itsekiri Public Affairs Committee (IPAC), United Kingdom has declared that royals and a freeborn cannot be fight over the the ethnic nationality’s throne.
Therefore, it stressed, the ongoing faceoff emanating from the declaration of their Olu-Designate, Prince Tsola Emiko, was unnecessary distraction.
The group drew the attention of the general public on the issues between the suspended Ologbotsere, Ayiri Emami, and the royal family, and addressed the issues of the provisions of the1979 edict, the position and duties of Ugbajo Ojoye Ojisan, “Prime Minister” as well as the Benin and Yoruba influences on Olu selection which it said were clear on the path to toe, by relevant traditional institutions in the kingdom.
IPAC UK, in a statement titled, ‘No royal tussle between the suspended Ologbotsere and the royal family,” signed by Adrain O. Edema, expressly stated that the Ologbotsere is a chieftaincy title and not royalty.
It further stressed: “The suspended Ologbotsere is a freeborn Itsekiri, and not a royal, so there cannot be a royal tussle between a freeborn and a royal.
“The ruling house and the Ugbajo Ojoye Ojisan working in close co-operation constitute the Kingmakers in Itsekiri Customary Law. In Warri kingdom there are different stages to the crowning of an Olu.
The Ugbajo Ojoye Ojisan duties fall under one of these stages. They are not responsible for selecting or appointing a king.
“There is no office of prime minister in Warri kingdom; and there is no chief that is next to the Olu. If there is anyone next to the Olu, such should be the royal families. The chiefs are title holders.
They are selected and given title by the Olu. “If the Ologbotsere office is that of prime minister who are his ministers?
Who voted him in, how come the Olu can choose not to have an Ologbotsere at any point of his reigns? In Warri we have the Olu and the Chiefs. And the chiefs are just title holders appointed by the Olu for reasons best known to him.
“On the vexed issues about the Yoruba or Benin influences, these two do not have such influence on the selection of an Olu, because Itsekiri is an ethnic nationality in its own right. We are not under any other ethnic nationality and as such no other ethnic nation is in position to influence the selection of an Olu of Warri.
“The Ife oracle mentioned by the Itsekiri has nothing to do with Ile Ife, because Ife or Ominigbo is an oracle system used by the Itsekiri.”
Also, a public commentator (anonymous) said: “The Olu-designate debate on social media is a typical representation of the Nigerian sociopolitical and economic debate; and in particular, the case against Ayiri can be likened to some of the prejudice and accusations against Buhari.
“I doubt if Ayiri or anyone insisting on following laid down enacts/laws are seeking to be Olu because of their ‘unpopular’ view or past history.
“However, I don’t know Ayiri in person and I’ve never had any interaction with him. Thus, whether he is eyeing the Olu stool is question beyond me. But, it is important to follow the path of illumination by inquisition.
“So, let us consider some of the points that have been raised in discuss since the passing of HRM Ikenwoli and the imbroglio that has engulfed the selection process of the Oludesignate.
1. The 1979 Edict: Several commentators continue to mention a certain 1979 edict as the Itsekiri’s adopted by-laws for choosing the Omoba. Someone referred to this 1979 edict as the ‘Rewane Edict.’ Is there an existing 1979 Succession edict?
2. Recent Past Olus: It was stated in an article I read that recent past Olus (specifically Atuwatse II and Ikenwoli) were selected and crowned using the said 1979 edict.
There’s no evidence of the Ginuwa Royal House opposing this edict in the past or even now. There’s suggestion that some are trying to circumvent this edict for their personal interest. Whether this is true I don’t know.
3. The 2015 Selection: I have also read that in 2015, the young Prince Tsola and son of Atuwatse II was disqualified from succeeding his father in accordance to the provisions of the law. Is this true?
Now, the relevant issue at play and the questions to ask are whether Prince Tsola qualification is at variance with the 1979 Olu Sucession edict. The other question is, if Prince Tsola was not qualified when his father passed in 2015, what has changed in the last 5-6 years?
Have they now amended the 1979 succession edict since the last time it was tested? I understand that Ayiri’s position is that the law must be followed, and that as the Ologbotsere, he refused to be party to circumventing laid down rules.
If it is true that Ayiri’s only crime is his refusal to manipulate the succession process/ existing by-laws, then, it’ll be grossly unfair to accuse him of anything unholy,” a lawyer, Barrister Omoregie Agho, who spoke to The Daily Times, said.
President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr. Amaju Pinnick had faulted the position of the Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom, Chief Ayiri Emami, on the emergence of the Oludesignate to succeed the late monarch, Ogiame Ikenwoli.
Pinnick, a notable Itsekiri, insisted that the 1979 edict which purportedly states that whoever must be the king must either be fully of the ethnic group or at least his mother must hail from Bini, is inferior to the Nigerian Constitution, which says that nobody should be discriminated against on account of the circumstances of his birth.
The football administrator, who backs Prince Emiko’s emergence, noted that it was sacrilegious for Emami to describe the process as null and void. He stressed that it was not only that the process was irreversible, but that a majority of the Itsekeri were with Emiko to ascend the throne of his forefathers.
His words: “We are talking about destiny that has behooved on Prince Tsola Emiko to mount that saddle of responsibility, which perhaps was erroneously denied him five years ago.”
However, Emami insisted that the reported emergence of Emiko was illegal, insisting that the Olu has not joined his ancestors.
He remarked: “As far as I am concerned, whatever was done at Ode-Itsekiri was a kangaroo process in the search for power.
The person that has the right to pronounce the transition of the Olu of Warri, whenever that happens, is the Ologbotsere, which I am till this moment by the grace of God.”
He noted that the edict outlining the process and procedure for making public the demise of an Itsekiri monarch, vis-â-vis the selection of an Om’oba or Olu-designate was duly gazetted, and there is no argument about it.
He added: “Out of seven, it was only two kingmakers that were there at Ode-Itsekiri. I am urging Itsekiri, and indeed all Nigerians, to remain calm.
Itsekiri will announce their king when the time comes”.