The selection of a successor for the deceased Olu of Warri, His Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli has degenerated into a tense situation following the suspension of the Ologbotsere of Warri (Prime Minister), Chief Ayiri Emami by the Ginuwa 1 Ruling House.
The battle to select a consensus candidate for the throne heightened on Monday following reports that the choice of the Ruling House, Prince Tsola Emiko, was reportedly disqualified by the Chief Ayiri-led Olu’s Advisory Council.
Prince Tsola is the first son of the late 19th Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse ll.
However, the Regent of Warri, Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh, who was appointed following the demise of the monarch, on Tuesday flanked by members of the Ginuwa 1 Ruing House announced that Chief Ayiri has been suspended from the Council of Chiefs with immediate effect.
Okotie-Eboh also announced that Ayiri, a billionaire businessman had also been suspended as the Ologbotsere of Warri.
In Ayiri’s place, the Regent, announced the Iyatsere, who is second in command in the kingdom to immediately assume the position of Ologbotsere in acting capacity and also lead the final process for the selection of Olu of Warri.
“In the last couple of months, our dear pristine and ancient kingdom of Warri, has experienced an assault on all things dear it, ranging from the traditional, customary and even regal. This is what resulted in the unfortunate incident that happened in the early hours of this morning. We condemn this violence approach and call on our youths, to calm down and let us handle this matter from here on. This is what you get when so called leaders fail the people.
“It is regrettable that our well respected age old throne of the Olu of Warri, has been subjected to strange and deliberate machinations by a cabal of a few rascals, led by Chief Ayiri Emami, who against all odds, advise and protests by the people, was fostered on Itsekiri as Ologbotsere, of the kingdom. What most Itsekiris saw at the time that led to the massive protests across the land, are the things manifesting now in very audacious, but sad circumstances. Since this self styled traditional prime minister was imposed on the kingdom, he has been riding roughshod on the people and desecrating all things dear to us.
“The Itsekiris are a close knit, well organized people, with well defined succession processes to the throne of the Olu of Warri, which have been sustained over the last nearly seven centuries. Recently in 1979 a law was hurriedly put together by a hand few of our leaders to meet the exigencies of that time. This so called ‘edict’ annoying as it is, was never presented to the people to discuss it at a general assembly of itsekiris for purposes of ratification and general acceptance. But the last two Olus were crowned using this aberration, despite protests and court cases against the law each time.
“Now we come to another cross reads. The Ginuwa I Ruling House, which is the only ruling house in the land, and which has EXCLUSIVE powers to nominate a successor to the throne, has been meeting in the last three months after a convocation of bonafide members of the house, to nominate a successor to the throne. In the end Prince Tsola Emiko, was picked as the most qualified person to sit on the throne at this time. This was done only after his name was submitted to the ruling house by majority of the descendants of the last three Olus, even in compliance with this vexatious edict
“Chief Ayiri Emami, having exhibited actions and tendencies unbecoming of the position he occupies, and having proven himself unworthy of the Ologhotsere stool, is hereby suspended from the Warri council of chiefs.
“He is to immediately step aside as the Ologbotsere and stop parading himself as such.”
Meanwhile, the male children of Erejuwa11 (descendants of the three last Olus of Warri) have described as ridiculous and null and void the alleged suspension of Chief Ayiri Emami as the Ologbotsere (traditional prime minister) of Warri.
The princes also demanded that the process enshrined in the edict of the revered Itsekiri traditional stool must be strictly followed in the selection of a new Olu of Warri to avert confusion in the Itsekiri Nation.
In a press statement made available to newsmen on Thursday, the children of Erejuwa 11 posited that in line with the edict of the throne, the succession is limited to the descendants of the last three Olus.