By Jimitota Onoyume
The old command has reemerged in Itsekiri ethnic nationality, Warri South Local Government Area, Delta State, as the Iyatsere, Chief Johnson Amatserunleghe, turns out to be the most senior chief and Chairman, Warri Council of Chiefs.
Council of chiefs disbanded, reconstituted
It would be recalled that the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III, had earlier dissolved the traditional council of chiefs he inherited in line with the tradition, but in a very colourful ceremony in Ode Itsekiri, ancestral home of Itsekiri nation, the monarch reenlisted the chiefs and garlanded Amatserunleghe as the Iyatsere and most senior chief in Warri kingdom.
A total of 12 chiefs were readmitted into the council that day, beginning with the Iyatsere, Chief Amatserunleghe.
Each of those decorated took turns to come out in their order of seniority, knelt down before the monarch, who placed beads on their neck, handed them their swords of authority and praying for them as well.
Among those readmitted as chiefs in the first batch were Chiefs Gabriel Awala, Kofi Kartey, Chief Dr Roland Oritsejafor, Chief Roli Oritsejafor, Chief Edwin Olley, and Chief Solomon Arenyeka. Others were Clement Maleghemi, Barrister Robinson Ariyo, Eugene Ikomi, Omolubi Newuwumi and Chief Billy Besi Giwa.
The readmission exercise, NDV gathered, would run for a long period. Meantime, the monarch has also formally reconstituted the new traditional Council of Chiefs at his palace in Warri.
Warri kingdom truly back to its feet —Amtserunleghe
The Iyatsere, Chief Amatserunleghe, who later spoke with NDV, said Warri kingdom was back on her feet again, adding that the new monarch was poised to take the kingdom to greater heights.
“I feel very happy because Warri kingdom has come back to its feet. In the beginning, Oba Ginuwa, the first Olu of Warri, left Benin kingdom with 70 chiefs to found Warri kingdom in 1480 and Iyatsere Ugbalaka was the first Iyatsere, who led the royal entourage and he was the most senior chief.
“Today, I have been decorated as the most senior chief in Warri kingdom. “The communities he founded are Ogbe in Ode-Itsekiri, Uba-Uji, what is now Ubeji, Abigbodo, Koko-Duwe,Origin, Obitugbo and Ologbo. He founded all these towns before Ologbo. His children founded Ikara, Ajatiton, Kolokolo Ajoki, and Ajamogha, all these communities by his children are known as Iyatsere communities in Edo state,” he said.
High profile Nigerians and political leaders across the length and breadth of the country have been paying homage to the Olu of Warri since his coronation on August 21.
The list so far include former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Kogi State Ggovernor, Yahaya Bello represented by his deputy, Mr Edward Onoja, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Minister of Niger-Delta, Chief Godswill Akpabio and so on.
In their separate speeches, they all commended the monarch for his brilliant inaugural address shortly after his coronation as the Olu of Warri, wishing him long, peaceful and prosperous reign.
Akpabio’s coronation gift
In what looks like a coronation gift to the monarch, Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, Chief Akpabio, during his visit, said his Ministry would commence work on the Koko-Ogheye Road in Warri North Local Government Area from September.
“We are going to start the Koko-Ogheye road this September. As the Olu of Warri, our job is to support you to succeed. You will also help us. You handed over Warri kingdom to God, you cancelled all curses, ” he said.
“When you lifted the curses, it was also lifted on NDDC. Your Majesty, I am one of your sons. May God protect you.
“Today I join voice with you to pronounce uncommon transformation of Warri kingdom. You have honoured God. Even here during the opening prayers, you removed your crown to honour God, may God protect your kingdom and the rest of us.
NGF promises greater bond with monarch
The Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, also hailed the monarch on his ascension to the throne of his fore fathers, assuring that they will work with the throne for the common good of the nation.
NGF chair, Dr. Kayode Feyemi, who spoke when he paid homage to the new monarch, said: “It is my pleasure and delight to be here before you. On behalf of the Nigerian governors, the 35 of us, apart from myself here. You have received over the last two weeks some individual visits from some of our members. As governors representing the entire federation, we formally present ourselves here to congratulate you and the entire Warri kingdom for God’s presence in this kingdom.
“All over the world, we have been honoured as a people. You re invented Nigeria in the eyes of the world during the coronation. We thank God for your coronation. It was most organized “, he said.
My reign will promote unity, peace in N Delta – Atuwatse III
The Olu of Warri in his separate speeches thanked the visitors, assuring that his reign will promote peace, unity and values of prosperity in his kingdom, the Niger Delta and the country at large. He also offered royal blessings to them as they came.
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