By Michael Tidi
On Saturday, December 12, 2015, history will be made as the Itsekiri will enthrone their 20th monarch, the third university graduate to ascend the pristine Olu of Warri royal stool. Apparently excited by the peaceful completion of a usual pre- coronation traditional ritual circle which every new Olu of Warri is made to undergo before taking full charge of the palace, many commentators are of the view that the new monarch is man to take the people of Warri from a commerce- oriented people to the promise of intellectual beacon that the city has evolved to become in modern times. As I post these comments, many Itsekiri sons and daughters have undertaken to throw a civic reception in honor of the new Olu of Warri.
The event will have all the trappings of a state function: an array of royal fathers, bureaucrats, technocrats, brass-hat politicians, religious leaders, and the moguls in the other professions and businesses, even as Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State leads his entourage to the epoch making occasion.
Omoba Ikenwoli Godfrey Emiko, who had gone through a thorough royal tutelage for 90days, is a graduate of business administration from University of Benin, Edo State and reputed to have mentored many Itsekiri sons and daughters. The new Olu is married and blessed with three children.
A man of many parts, Omoba Ikenwoli is a religious, community, professional and business leader. He was chairman, HOSTCOM, Delta State Chapter, and was credited with the legendary achievement of agitating and securing judicious use of the 13% Derivation accruable to oil and gas producing communities in Delta.
In profession and business, the also distinguished himself. He led his colleagues while in the oil services firm, Slumberger Nigeria Limited, and also held other professional and administrative positions.
As a family man, Omoba Ikenwoli is a caring husband to his regal spouse and a devoted father to his princely children. He is a unifying factor in the Emiko Royal Family. He was earmarked for the stool at a very tender age, and ascending the throne at this critical point in Itsekiri history, certainly, calls for celebration. Specifically, the new monarch is noted for honesty, commitment, compassion, and listening ability. He is knowledgeable and philosophical as many of his utterances relive the past, pattern the present and define the future. He is a patriotic, conscientious, selfless and forthright. A grassroots mobilizer and loved by all and greatly admired for his transparent and detribalized nature, Omoba Ikenwole remains an epitome of goodwill to all regardless of tribe, age, gender, ethnicity or status in the society.
As he dons his royal regalia, supported by his Olori and waves his horsetail at the weekend, shots of dane guns by the community hunters will be heard and the chanting of the eulogy of Ogiame by the ageless traditional drummers will rent the air, conveying the joy of the Itsekiri who are happy to have a new monarch. As the Itsekiri tradition demands, chiefs, princes, the Olu’s relations, among others, will line the route to honor the new monarch and publicly demonstrate their allegiance, as he makes his way to his high seat.
There cannot be any dull moment. A grand parade of gorgeous apparels by the crème de la crème of the society, is expected on Saturday as the Itsekiri ethnic nationality plays host to the MNOCs and those in the vanguard of moving the state and nation forward.
I am overjoyed that our new Olu holds the promise for peace and unity, and as such all Itsekiri sons and daughters must do well to be more cohesive in this new era.
They would do better to concentrate on deepening existing ties with our fellow Deltans while building new bridges of understanding. While fiercely and unyieldingly protecting Itsekiri interests, we must remain committed to fostering inter-ethnic harmony with our Urhobo and Ijaw brothers to help the government of the day engender peace needed for the advancement of Delta and Nigeria.
*Tidi is the eldest son of Oritsetimeyin Tidi and the late Princess Roli Emiko of the Royal House of Emiko.