Heavy security as rites for Olu of Warri hold

By Elo Edremoda, Warri

The final traditional funeral rites of passage for His Majesty Ogiame Ikenwoli, the 20th Olu of Warri, continued at Ode-Itsekiri, the ancestral home of the Itsekiri people, in Warri South council area of Delta state, amidst heavy security presence across the riverine community.

The ceremony lasted from dusk of Saturday, June 19 till Sunday with guests and locals thoroughly frisked before gaining entrance into the main town hall.

It was gathered this was to forestall any form of unrest following the tension that accompanied the succession process for the vacant Olu stool.

The alleged invasion of High Court sitting in Warri where a party is challenging the choice of Prince Tsola Emiko as Olu-designate also accounted for the heavy security presence.

The ceremony, presided over by the regent, Prince Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh, began with some rituals performed at the catafulque, a spiritual home the corpse of the departed monarch lives throughout the 14-day spiritual exercise.

Read Also: Olu of Warri tussle: How armed thugs invaded court, chased out judge

As the rituals are concluded, canons otherwise called ikurusu, are fired signaling the commencement of the rich cultural display of the Itsekiri people.

Men and women, young and old, the Ogele Ukpukpe, Ibiogbe and Uku-Umalikun Ola-Aja dancers, clad in native attires took up the centre stage around 9pm singing and dancing to drummers’ rhythms bringing nostalgia to spectators.

By then, members of the Warri Traditional Council of Chiefs, including its chairman, the Iyatsere of Warri Kingdom, Chief Johnson Amatserunleghe, the Olu Advisory Council, princes and members of the Ginuwa l Ruling House and indigenes across Itsekiri communities were seated in the hall.

Some chiefs, including member representing Warri Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi, joined in the dancing all night long.

The Itsekiri people who pride themselves in one king, one culture and one tongue, celebrated the departed monarch till daybreak when the sounds of ikurusu signalled end of the session.

Many extolled the qualities of Ogiame Ikenwoli, who they described as a “peace” crusader.

Ogiame Ikenwoli was crowned on December 12, 2015 and had passed on in December 2020, shortly after his 5th coronation anniversary.

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