By Jimitota Onoyume, Asst. News Editor
EXULT-ANT to be part of the first one year anniversary of Ogiame Atuwatse III, Secretary, Warri Council of Chiefs, Chief Eugene Ikomi, stated that it is a very tremendous one year for the Itsekiri people and they were happy at this time to have a very forthright king.
“A king that has a vision for the Itsekiri people; a king that is taking the Itsekiri to a very strong unimaginable height in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This one year has been a very beautiful and colourful year for the Itsekiri. Since Ogiame’s enthronement, he has reached out first and foremost to all our neighbours, building a bridge of peace and cooperation.
“He has made various visits to traditional rulers in Delta State, beginning with the Asagba of Asaba; His Royal Majesty, Obi Professor Chike Edozien; and the oldest traditional ruler in Nigeria, His Royal Majesty, Ohworode (King) R’ Olomu, Richard Layeguen Ogbon, Ogoni-Oghoro.
“We are really proud of Ogiame Atuwatse III. As Nigeria begins to transit into another era, more particularly a time when we begin to own our own resources; as a matter of fact, we can see he is setting the stage for a better deal for Itsekiri on the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA. For the first time in the history of our country, we had first Iwere Economic Summit held on May 26, 2022 with all major stakeholders and players in the industry coming to plan the future of Itsekiri nation.
“Going forward from this, we are looking at a situation where in Itsekiri land, development will come in the time of His Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse III. We pray for God to continue to give him long life, wisdom to manage Warri kingdom. We are very certain that in the next couple of years, there will be greater development in Warri Kingdom,” he said.
Speaking on the king’s innovations, Palace Watch and others, Chief Ikomi asserted: “You are talking of the Gigho Aghofen. It is very unique and designed to show the rich Itsekiri culture and tradition. It is patterned in line with what happens in the Buckingham Palace. There is this traditional change of guard in the United Kingdom. Every year at the Buckingham Palace, you see these guards, they change at particular time of the day.
“The Gigho Aghofen patterned along that line is not meant to have communities come to change guards. Ogiame designed it in such a manner that all Itsekiri communities will at one time or the other, take over the management of the activities in the palace. “His Majesty made it that the change of guard will be after every three months. Communities will come to display their culture, march into the palace in very colourful manner and hand over the flag responsibility to another community.
“They are not physically on ground to keep watch over the palace. The whole idea is that during the three-month period, the community in charge will enjoy prominence in all palace activities.
“At the end of the three months, they go out and another community comes to take over. This is very unique and every Itsekiri looks forward to the change of guard.
“So far, three communities have done theirs. Itsekiri communities are many; so we are looking at this ceremony running for a very long time.”
Additional value to traditional institution – Dr. Michael Tidi, Warri South chair
“His Majesty’s reign this past one year has no doubt added value to traditional institution and strategically put Itsekiri on the map of world reckoning.
“As the father of a cosmopolitan community, he is the symbol of the people’s custom and tradition as well as the hub around which the socio-economic life of Itsekiri revolves.
“I sincerely pray the Almighty God will grant him good health, long life and wisdom in the onerous challenges of the throne. May his reign usher in peace, progress and development to Itsekiri kingdom and entire humanity.”
Unassailable education vision – Professor Jim Omatseye
“After a bitter struggle for the crown among the princes and some chiefs, the emergence of Atuwatse III has turned out to be a blessing for Itsekiri and the country and a source of discomfort for some selfish self-serving leaders who have sulked the nation dry.
“The Olu’s vision of tapping into education as a means of developing the economy of Iwere land is an unbeatable strategy. One would hope for success if only people would rally round him to use our natural resources to improve the lot of his people, especially those who have been exploited by the charlatans in various communities, who are ready to fight for their survival without working for it.
“It is unfortunate that some of these thugs would challenge the Olu’s ability to move the Itsekiri nation and Nigeria forward. With God’s help success will be achieved. May God and his people enable Atuwatse III prosper?
Greater glory to Warri kingdom – Newuwumi
A proud Itsekiri son and Executive Director, Peace and Community Empowerment Initiative, PCEI, Collins Uwaomaetan Newuwumi, has this to say: “The one-year reign of the Olu of Warri is a breakthrough to the Itsekiri nation. He is a king that every nation desires to have because of his exposure and leadership style.
“Ogiame Atuwatse III is a visionary leader, who is so concerned with the well-being of his people. His reign as the Olu of Warri has attracted more development, light, unity and love among the people of Iwere land and Delta State at large.
“Ogiame Atuwatse III has done very well in the area of health care, infrastructural development and peace in his kingdom. May his reign be long with peace, joy, continued progress and prosperity to our people,” he added.
He opened business opportunities to our people – Ofeoritse Ogharandukun
For Ogharandukun, a resident: “His reign has brought business opportunities in our communities; not only to his subjects but everyone in and around the kingdom. This is besides free healthcareon. He was given to us by God Himself.
New wine in new bottle –Mrs. Newuwumi, woman leader, CODAFA
Woman Leader, Children of Drivers Fishermen Association, CODAFA, Warri Kingdom, Mrs. Andris E. Omolubi Newuwumi, said the king has extended kindness beyond his kingdom.
According to her: “His emergence has ushered the Warri kingdom into a new dawn, not to only the people of his tribe but all that live in his kingdom; he is so kind- hearted and ever-ready to give; he is passionate about the well-being of all under his watch.
“In fact, you are a fresh wine in a fresh bottle, my digital king, the king who is a radiator of love, peace, and a gorgeous king. I join the host of heaven to celebrate Ogiame Atuwatse III, the Olu of Warri Kingdom.
Monarch stimulating peace – Odudu
Pastor Elijah Odudu from the Duwe Iyatsere Descendants Warri North area, said: “Our monarch is promoting values of peace in Warri kingdom. His reign will usher in a lot of development to all.”