The funeral rites for the late Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse II, came to an end yesterday, at Ode-Itsekiri, the ancestral home of the Itsekiri nation with encomiums showered on the late Olu by eminent Nigerians extolling the virtues of the late Olu.
He was described as a quintessential royal father who led by example and impacted positively on the lives of many who came across him.
He was also described as an icon of the traditional institution and an embodiment of the culture and pride of Warri people, presiding over a kingdom that dates back to the 14th century and exemplified the awe and majesty of the traditional ancestry.
Ogiame Atuwatse II will forever be remembered as a father, a bridge builder, reformist, peace loving and most importantly, a faithful Christain king who stood by his belief in Jesus Christ in-spite of the challenges that his responsibility as an African traditional ruler demanded.
A statement at the end of the funeral rites said: “We will definitely miss him. Throughout his reign, he was a beacon of hope and unity of the Itsekiri nation, a wise leader and worthy king who has left his foot print on the sands of time. He stood out amongst kings and became a reference point for majesty and dignity. He contributed a great deal to the development of Nigeria.”
The high point of the funeral rites was the rich display of Itsekiri culture and tradition by the entire Itsekiri nation. Dances of various forms reserved for royality were on display throughout the 14-day period, especially the ancient Ogolo dance by Irigbo people, which is a spiritual dance where the drummers sit on mats beating special drums made of metal basins while the women dance. It is usually performed only for kings and was staged on day 4 with a full dance troupe of 250 persons performing. This dance was performed 28 years ago when Atuwatse II was crowned.
The Ojomo of Warri Kingdom Chief Tesigiweno Yaya Pessu, who is the chairman of Olu Advisory Council and Warri Traditional Council shed more light on the rite of passage for the late Olu. He said that December 3, 2015 marked the end of the funeral rites for Ogiame Atuwatse II, adding that the 14 days programme had come to an end and the ban on festivities in Warri Kingdom had been lifted as the mourning period for the late Atuwatse II had ended.