Ex-Olu’s brother asks court to declare nephew as Itsekiri king
By Gabriel Omonhinmin
Mr. Bernard Emiko, junior brother to the immediate past Olu of Warri, His Royal Majesty Ogiame Ikenwoli, on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 approached a High Court in the oil city via a 17-page affidavit filed on his behalf by Chief E.L. Akpofure (SAN), seeking nullification of the nomination and enthronement of Prince Utieyinorisetsola Emiko as the Olu-designate and eventual installation as the 21st monarch of the ancient kingdom.
Included or joined in suit W104W/2021 are nine other persons namely, Pa. Akoma Dudun (Olore-Ebi of the Ginuwa I Ruling House); Chief Ayiri Emami (Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom/member of the Olu Advisory Council); Prince Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh (Olori-Ebi of Ginuwa I Ruling House of Warri Kingdom); Delta Governor Ifeanyi Okowa; state Attorney-General; Chief Johnson Atseleghe (Iyatsere of Warri Kingdom/ member of the Olu Advisory Council);
Chief Gabriel Awala (Uwangue of Warri Kingdom/Member of the Olu Advisory Council); Chief Yayah Pessu (Ojomo of Warri Kingdom/Member of the Olu Advisory Council); and Chief Isaac O. Jemide (Oshodi of Warri Kingdom/Member of the Olu Advisory Council).
Bernard Emiko claimed in the affidavit that he is the Olori-Ebi of Ogiame Erejuwa II Ruling House of Warri Kingdom. Ogiame Erejuwa II was the 18th Olu of Warri and the father of Ogiame Atunwase II (father of Prince Tsola Emiko) and Ogiame Ikenwoli (father of Prince Oyowoli Emiko).
Bernard Emiko is asking the court to set aside and nullify the purported nomination and transmission of Prince Tsola Emiko to Chief Ayiri Emami (the Ologbotere of Warri) as the selection of Omoba (Olu-designate) by Prince Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh on February 18, 2021 is utra vires.
Bernard Emiko is seeking:
*An order of perpetual injunction restraining Prince Tsola Emiko from parading himself as the Omoba (Olu of Warri-designate) and or performing the traditional “Iken” rites or other burial rites at the burial ceremony of the demised Olu of Warri Kingdom (HRM Ogiame Ikenwoli).
*An order perpetual injunction restraining the Pa Akoma Dudun, the Olare-Ebi of the Ginuwa 1 Ruling House of Warri Kingdom, from presenting Prince Tsola Emiko to Chief Ayiri Emami as the Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom, in the discharge of his duties as stipulated in the declaration made under Section 8 of the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Edict 1979 stating the Customary Law regulating the succession to the title of the Olu of Warri Kingdom.
*An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 3rd, 7th, 8th 9th and 10th defedants (i.e members of the Olu Advisory Council) from accepting any candidate presented to them as the Omoba (Olu of Warri designate) by any person or group of person or from consulting the Ifa Oracle in respect of the candidacy of such a person or approving such a person as the Omoba (Olu of Warri designate) in the discharge of their functions as stipulated in Section 8 of the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Edict 1979 stating the Customary Law regulating the succession in the title of the Olu of Warri Kingdom unless such presentation is made by High Chief Ayiri Emami herein in line with the powers vested on him under Section 8 of the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Edict 1979 stating the Customary Law regulating the succession to the title of the Olu of Warri Kingdom.
*An order setting aside or nullifying the purported presentation of Prince Tsola Emiko by Chief Jonson Atseleghe, the Iyatsere of Warri Kingdom, as the selected Omoba (Olu of Warri designate) to the Olu Advisory Council on Monday, April 5th 2021 in Ode-Itsekiri, the ancestral home of the Itsekiri people.
*An order restraining Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the Delta State Attorney-General from recognizing Prince Tsola Emiko as the Olu of Warri including but not limited to presenting Prince Tsola Emiko with a staff of office.
The affidavit further stated that Prince Oyowoli Emiko is the eldest son of the demised Olu of Warri (HRM Ogiame Ikenwoli). That Prince Oyowoli Emiko is/ was begotten by Olori Mary Emiko, a native of Itsekiri Kingdom. That Prince Tsola Emiko is a Prince of the Ginuwa 1 Ruling House and the son of the late Ogiame Atunwase 11. That Prince Tsola Emiko’s mother is a native of Ogun State.
That Prince Tsola Emiko is the person purportedly presented on the 5th of April, 2021 and the person parading himself as the Omoba (Olu of Warri designate) to ascend the throne of the Olu of Warri Kingdom.
That Pa. Akoma Dudun is the Olare-Ebi (the oldest man) of the Ginuwa 1 Ruling House of Warri Kingdom, who is saddled with the responsibility of presenting an Omoba (Olu of Warri designate) to the OIogbotsere.
That Chief Ayiri Emami is the Ologbotsere (the Traditional Prime Minister) of Warri Kingdom and member of the Olu Advisory Council who is saddled with the functions of presenting an Omoba (Olu of Warri designate) to the Advisory Council and to eventually crown/install the Olu of Warri kingdom.
That Prince Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh is the (Administrative Head) of the Ginuwa 1 Ruling House of Warri Kingdom. He plays no role in the proceedings involved in the succession to the throne of the Olu of Warri Kingdom.
That Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is the Executive Governor and Chairman of the Executive Council of Delta State. All public office holders and civil servants in the state are subject to his direction and control in the discharge of their executive duties/functions.
That the Attorney-General is the Chief Law officer of Delta State and who gives legal advice to the Governor as well as other ministries, departments and agencies of the government.
Mr. Bernard Eiko further submitted in his affidavit that on the 18th of February, 2021, a meeting of the ruling house was convened at the Olu of Warri Palace. That the minutes of the previous meeting was read and adopted. During the course of the meeting, Prince Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh requested another family member, Mr. Apoh (who is not a descendant of the three Olus, to nominate someone to present the report of the selection process which was originally assigned to him Bernard Emiko.
That he Bernard Emiko objected to the request of Prince Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh asking Mr. Apoh to nominate someone to present the report of the selection process. I maintained my stance that I am the rightful person to present the report or the selection process since I was assigned in the meeting held on the 9th of February, 2021 to nominate/select the Omoba (Olu of Warri Designate).
That despite his objection, Mr. Apoh nominated Prince Yemi Emiko to present the report. That while he was about to present his own report of the selection process, Prince Yemi Emiko stood up without being recognized by Pa. Akoma Dudun and presented Prince Tsola Emiko as the selected Omoba (Olu of Warri designate).
That after Prince Yemi Emiko’s purported presentation of Prince Tsola Emiko as the Omoba elect (Olu of Warri designate), the meeting went into commotion and pandemonium. And as such that meeting ended abruptly and in disarray.
That he Bernad Emiko knows, as a matter fact, that Prince Tsola Emiko is not a fit and proper person to ascend the throne of the Olu of Warri Kingdom, on the ground that his mother (Glady Durorike Emiko is from Ogun State, a Yoruba woman by tribe. That she is neither an Itsekiri nor of Edo State origin as demanded by law.
He concluded that the meeting of the 18th February 2021 wherein Prince Tsola Emiko was purportedly presented as the Omoba (Olu of Warri Designate) was stage-managed by Prince Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh and other unscrupulous elements in the family.
That Prince Tsola Emiko was secretly chosen by some members of the Emiko and Ejoh family contrary to the provisions of the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Edict of 1979, stating the Customary Law Regulating Succession to the title of the Olu of Warri kingdom.