Ogiame Atuwatse III: Thorny path to the crown

 By Jimitota Onoyume, Asst. News Editor

THE road to the ascension of the throne of his forefathers was a prickly one for the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III. 

 This, probably, explains why he sang so much praises to God Almighty minutes after he was crowned at the ancestral home of Warri Kingdom, Ode-Itsekiri, Warri South Local Government Area, Delta State, August 21, last year. The people sang along with him that day after the Uwangwe of Warri Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Awala,   placed the crown on his head on the coronation day, thus performing the historic ceremony. It was all joy. The monarch in what has become a celebrated address across the globe, reflected strongly on the barbed route to the crown.

 Resilient chiefs, sons and daughters 

 He singled out some of his chiefs for their commendable roles while the struggle lasted.  “We must express our profound gratitude to the proud Itsekiri sons and daughters who stood up to be counted when it appeared that the foundation of our collective patrimony was under threat. While it is not expedient on this occasion, Chief Johnson, Chief Gabriel Awala, Chief Mene Brown, Chief Roland Oritsejafor, Chief CD Ikomi, Chief Edwin Olley, Chief Robinson Ariyo and Chief Eugene Ikomi need to be specially recognised,” he had said. 

 Sadly, one of those mentioned, Chief C.D. Ikomi, would not be part of the one year anniversary of the monarch. He passed on peacefully in Warri, few months after the colourful coronation ceremony. 

 The monarch in his address said he bore no ill feelings against anyone. 

 “This time, however, God did not just intervene to truncate and destroy any disruptive blot, He ensured that the Itsekiri nation stood united and all Nigeria rallied behind Itsekiri to ensure that there was no division. We avow before you all today that we are not and were never offended at any point in time during the process that culminated in this day, which has seen me ascend to the throne of my fathers.

“This is in every ramification, a very special day; one that has been predestined and divinely ordained by the Most High God. He and He alone could have determined that three months after our Idaniken began in May, our coronation will take place today, the only Saturday in this year, 2021 that occurs as the 21st day of the month. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this unique August day is truly a day of the Almighty God, divine visitation to Iwere Kingdom. It is not just a divine visitation, it heralds a divine habitation.”

God turned bad to good

The monarch also recalled the missing crown, stolen ahead of the coronation to stop the exercise. Conceivably, the thinking of those who made away with the crown from the Palace in Warri South Local Government was that without it, there would be no king. But then again,  Ogiame Atuwatse III  said the whole incident  turned out to be gain to the kingdom  as it was an opportunity to  add two more crowns, one entirely gold, to the royal wardrobe.

“There is no part of this that has been of my own doing. It was and remains God’s divine project. And as a result, the mischief, that some had intended, God has used it for good. Our Yoruba brothers have an expression – when the palace of the King burns, it is because a more beautiful one wants to be erected in its place. The taboo that was done by the desecration of our most prized crown jewels made a way for a more beautiful one fashioned by our own royal person while staying true to the inspiration of the one that came from Portugal, way back in the 17th Century.

Evolution of crown

 “Before then, however, Olu of Warri, Ginuwa the 1st, brought a coral beaded crown from the source in Benin which adorned the heads of the first six Olus. Olu Atuwatse the 1st brought a pair of silver crowns that would adorn the heads of the next 14 Olus. By the special grace of God, we have the privilege to introduce a new pair of gold and silver crowns to the already rich and beautiful history of the attire of the Olu of Warri. And as the progression of our crown is symbolic for all to see, from coral to silver and now gold, so shall there be a spiritual, physical, social, and economic manifestation of the progress of our kingdom and our people,” he explained.

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