Monday, June 14

Warri Succession Crisis: Oba Of Benin Wades In, Meets Ologbotsere

There were indications on on Friday that the Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II, has waded into the succession crisis that is rocking Warri Kingdom in Delta State.

The Nation authoritatively gathered that the Benin monarch met with one of the key players in the crisis, the Ologbotsere, Chief Ayiri Emami.

A source at the Oba of Benin palace told our reporter that Emami arrived at the palace at 3pm on Thursday and was immediately ushered into the presence of the Oba where a meeting that lasted about three hours with the monarch took place.

“The visit of Chief Emami to Benin on Friday was at the instance of the Omo N’Oba, who is very disturbed by the happenings in the Warri Kingdom,” our source said.

Although the details of the Wednesday’s meeting were not immediately known, it was gathered that Emami left the palace at about 6pm.

Chief Emami, who was contacted on the phone yesterday morning, confirmed the meeting but declined comment on what transpired.

“Yes, it is true that I met with our royal father, HRM the Oba of Benin. Whatever happened at the palace is personal,” he said before hanging up.

But The Nation gathered that the visit was not unconnected with the happenings in Warri Kingdom, where the Ologbotsere is embroiled in a fight with the Ginuwa Ruling House.

It will be recalled that the Ginuwa Ruling House, led by the Olori-Ebi, Prince Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh, had suspended the Ologbotsere, following disagreement over the emergence of Prince Tsola Emiko as the Olu-designate.

The Ojoye-Isan, the apex body of traditional titleholders in the kingdom, led by the Ologbotsere, had disqualified Prince Tsola on the strength of Article 4 of the law guiding the stool, which bars princes, except those born by Bini or Itsekiri mothers, from the throne.

The emergence of the Olu-designate without the Ologbotsere has led to a crisis, with the state government refusing to acknowledge the Omoba because of “issues around his emergence”.

Bini and Warri kingdoms share very close ties dating back to the 15th Century when a Benin prince founded the kingdom and became its first Olu Ginuwa in 1480, and it is hope that the peace move of the Oba could help bring a quick resolution of the matter.

Similarly, the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILOT) has also being meeting with the stakeholders, including the Ruling Family and Ologbotsere Emami with whom the group held a very lengthy meeting on Tuesday.

Various sources said Itsekiri leaders at the meeting held at the home of Chief Isaac Jemide, the Otsodi of Warri, called for cessation of the ‘media war’ to pave way for dialogue and reconciliation.

“The ILOT is working to ensure that the persons involved refrain from unnecessary newspaper and other media engagements that can worsen the already bad situation,” our source at the meeting said.

Meanwhile, sources said the Ologbotsere is under intense pressure to drop his opposition to the emergence of Prince Tsola Emiko as the Olu-designate in order to pave the way for a peaceful and seamless coronation.

“There has been a lot of pressure on him to cease hostility and flow with the wish of the people. His visit to the Oba of Benin is therefore a part of the plan to ensure that he buries the hatchet to allow a peaceful transition and coronation.”

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