By Emma Arubi & Akpokona Omafuaire
WARRI—THE people of Okere-Urhobo kingdom in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State and the Urhobo nation are mourning the death of HRM, Benjamin Okumagba, Okumagba I, the Orosuen of Okere-Urhobo Kingdom and former President of Urhobo Progress Union.
The news of Okumagba’s death was broken by the traditional council of chiefs led by Chief Wilson Eboh, Otota (Traditional Prime Minister) yesterday, in Warri at a news briefing.
Chiefs with black arm bands were seen discussing in hushed tones as the king’s stool was covered with black cloth.
Eboh said: “Today (yesterday) is an important day in the history of the people of Okere-Urhobo Kingdom, Warri. A great iroko tree has travelled. A powerful patriot, a traditionalist and lover of culture, justice and equity, a general in his own right, an Urhobo nationalist and leader per excellence is presently on a journey.
“If you take a look at his throne, you will discover that the throne is carefully covered with a black cloth signifying that the kingdom is in a state of mourning.
“By the power conferred on me by the traditional Chieftaincy Declaration of Okere Urhobo Kingdom, I hereby formally announce the glorious journey of our Monarch, HRM, Benjamin Okumagba, Okumagba I, the Orosuen of Okere Urhobo kingdom, Warri.”
Eboh said all burial rites will be completed by June and a new Orosuen installed in three months in accordance with the law.
Three traditional songs were sung to mourn the departed king as chiefs, children, youths and women wept freely.
The Otota said that the late monarch was selected and appointed by statutory Kingmakers of Okere Urhobo on February 22, 2008 in accordance with the Traditional Chieftaincy Declaration of Okere Urhobo, Warri.
He added that Okumagba I performed all the traditional and customary rites pertaining to the office of the Orosuen of Okere Urhobo Kingdom.
Until his selection and appointment, he was Otota of Okere Urhobo Kingdom, Warri.
The departed king was born in Warri on October 20, 1928 to the families of Late Chief Okumagba Eboh of Okere Urhobo Kingdom, Warri and Late Princess Osikomuenu Okumagba (nee Ojakovo) of Agbarha in Ughelli North Area.