Fiery Youths Seize Warri Palace, Protest Plans To Renounce 500-Year Old Title

Published On: September 9, 2013, 7:26 am (7 years ago)
Author: Olusola Agbaje
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Tension and panic yesterday gripped Warri, a major town in Delta State, as hundreds of irate youths seized the palace of the Olu of Warri, Atuwatse II. The more than 500 youths said they came out to protest against alleged clandestine moves by the monarch and others to change the only recognized ancient title of “Ogiame” that represents the symbol of the Iwere Kingdom of Warri. According to some of the protesters, the traditional ruler recently issued a contentious document titled “The New Order of Iwere Kingdom.” They said the document outlined a proposal to expunge the “Ogiame” title since the kingdom had been consecrated to God. One protesting youth told SaharaReporters that the move amounted to a desecration of a title that has been in existence for more than 500 years.

The protesters set a huge bonfire outside the gate of the palace, disrupting social and economic activities as well as vehicular movement in the area. A security official told SaharaReporters that Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, who was scheduled to pay a visit to Warri, scratched the visit once he got wind of the crisis. The source disclosed that the governor’s security personnel, press crew and other government officials had earlier arrived in Warri in preparation for his aborted trip. One of the government officials on the governor’s advance team told SaharaReporters that Mr. Uduaghan abandoned his plan to visit to avoid being linked to the crisis.

“His Excellency had planned to visit to Warri to spend the weekend and attend to some state matters, but he doesn’t want to be dragged into the traditional crisis,” the official stated. He added, “We all know that the [traditional] title has been in existence and the governor doesn’t wish to be involved in changing it. So immediately he got wind of the disturbance in Warri concerning the issue, he decided to put off his visit.”

The protesting youths vowed to resist any gimmicks employed to change the traditional title, adding that the traditional ruler was unacceptable to the Itsekiri people. One of the protesters, who simply identified himself as Ayo, stated, “Ogiame simply means ‘King of the River.’”

An elderly Itsekiri chief told SaharaReporters that he was supported the youths’ rejection of the embattled traditional ruler’s plan to dump a title that has lasted five centuries. He said the monarch had recently converted to Christianity, renounced allegiance to the “Umalokun” and other gods of the sea, land and sky, and denounced the “Ogiame” title.

SaharaReporters learnt that, after a recent decision to become a born-again Christian, the traditional ruler renounced all “acts of idolatry within his kingdom and sanctified the land in the name of Jesus Christ.”

SaharaReporters obtained a copy of the document issued by the ruler turned Christian convert. In it, he proclaimed, “Henceforth, I submit and present the title ‘Ogiame’ to God, the creator, who made the sea and rules over all. Therefore, no Olu or person may bear the title or name that now belongs to God.” He added: “I nullify all tokens of libation poured on the land and seas or sprinkled into the air in Iwere land. I frustrate all sacrifices of wine, blood, food, water, kola nuts, and other items (known and unknown) offered in Iwere land.

“In conformity with the new covenant through the blood of Jesus, I release the royal bloodline, the chiefs of the Iwere kingdom, the Iwere people and land, waters and atmosphere of Iwere kingdom from all ties to all other spiritual covenants and agreements.”

The monarch’s statement invoked the authority of the blood of Jesus to “destroy all ancient and new altars in Iwere land not raised up to God.”

His declarations triggered swift reactions from the Emiko royal family. In a petition signed by more than 35 members, the family contended that, when Prince Ginuwa left Benin to become the first Itsekiri monarch about 1480, he received the authority and blessing of his father (Olua, the then Oba of Benin) to reign over the river – hence the title “Ogiame.”

They added that the title “Ogiame” belongs to the Itsekiri people who have used it to address their monarchs, including Christian ones, for more than five hundred years. Admitting that Atuwatse II, as the incumbent Olu of Warri and custodian of the title, has the authority to review aspects of the culture/tradition, they underlined that such reviews must follow due process and be in consultation with Itsekiri stakeholders.

Contacted to comment on the protest, one Omolubi Newuwunmi, alleged to be the mastermind of the protests, declined to speak beyond stating that the matter was already being handled.

Some of the protesters accused Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, an Itsekiri and National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), as well other Itsekiri Christians of pushing the monarch to denounce all deities in the land.

Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 07:26 AM | Gistmaniac
calm down  Roll Eyes
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 07:38 AM | Gistmaniac
Why e b say every were for naija get dia own palaba ,no cool place at all?                               Eneh say so via nokia 3310
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 07:45 AM | Gistmaniac
Make them take am easy
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 07:50 AM | Upcoming
 Undecided Undecided Undecided  
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 08:07 AM | Gistmaniac
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 08:07 AM | Gistmaniac
calm down lads
Three Ritualists Arrested In Niger With Human Head
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 08:40 AM | Newbie
@ least it should be done peacefully.

Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 08:44 AM | Gistmaniac
If he don't wanna be doing all those things he mentioned let him step down asap.
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 08:46 AM | Addicted Hero
Just passing by.
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 08:52 AM | Upcoming
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 08:56 AM | Hero
ogiame Atuwatse
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 09:28 AM | Gistmaniac
i see
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 09:57 AM | Gistmaniac
 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 09:57 AM | Addicted Hero
if you dont like the smoke,get out of the kitchen.if atuwase does not like African deities then let him leave the throne with his big bible and let the people keep their dont wake up and change a peoples culture on some whimsical excuse like religion.for me he can go to heaven all he wants but dont start another tribal war in warri.
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 10:04 AM | Upcoming
Dis is really funny and dishearten. How can u tell me dat dis youth are fighting for marine spirit in d name of tittle and leave GOD. Am surprise. In dis mordern world.
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 10:56 AM | Addicted Hero
 Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 11:54 AM | Gistmaniac
micc micc (m)
They should be born again
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 01:06 PM | Hero
Joacy Joacy (f)
Not my problem just passin
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 01:17 PM | Upcoming
wahala everyday
Posted: (7 years ago) on 9-09-2013 01:19 PM | Hero
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