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Funeral Rites Begin Today For 20th Olu Of Warri

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Barring the unforeseen, the burial rites for the 20th Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli will start today. The kick-off is almost five months after Ikenwoli’s transition, The Nation learnt last night.

The burial rites, according to reliable Itsekiri sources, would begin with a trip to the royal cemetery in Ijala, Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.

Ijala community holds a special place in the kingdom as it holds the site where all past Olu’s are buried.

Today’s ceremony is expected to be coordinated by the Olu-designate, Omoba Tsola Emiko, who was unveiled at Ode-Itsekiri, about one month ago.

“The visit to Ijala signifies the commencement of the official burial process. It is only a part of the burial rites; nobody can tell you specifically where the Olu will be buried in the royal cemetery. The ceremony usually lasts 14 days,” the source said on strict condition of anonymity.

Omooba Tsola Emiko, son of the 19th Olu, is expected to actively participate in the burial rites of his predecessor, after which he would proceed on Idaneken (isolation), preparatory to his coronation as the 21st Olu.

The burial process will culminate in the symbolic destruction of the Uli-Oku (coffin house) of the late Olu at Ode-Itsekiri. It will also end the mourning period announced by Chief Johnson Amatserunleghe, the Iyatsere, at Ode-Itsekiri (Big Warri) on Easter Monday.

It was also learnt that the burial arrangement of the late monarch is kicking-off under the cloud of divisions and uncertainty in the kingdom, as the process had been postponed twice in the past, ostensibly due to the division in the kingdom.

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The suspension of the Ologbotsere, Chief Ayiri Emami, by the sole ruling house of Olu Ginuwa, which also dissolved the traditional Ojoye-Isan, has polarised the people.

Investigations shows that Chief Amatserunleghe, who was saddled with the responsibilities of the Ologbotsere after being named as acting head of the Ojoye-Isan, is beginning to face scrutiny and resistance by a section of the kingdom.

He was forced to abandon a meeting with the police on Friday because of a massive protest by youths of the kingdom, who are demanding an inclusive process.

Also, two sons of the late Olu Ikenwoli have not been seen since the invasion of the palace in late March and they may help in police probe into the two missing priceless diamond and silver crowns.

Emami had told the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Zone ‘5’, Mr Isaac Akinmoyede, that he left the palace intact in the hands of the two princes before traveling out of the state when the palace was invaded.

The police had consequently identified the princes as those who could provide useful links to their quest to recover the missing crowns.

Itsekiri youths stormed the AIG Office in Benin City last Friday with placards urging the police to hands off investigations into issues of the succession crisis, in order.

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