From Ben Dunno, Warri
Indications that the intrigues and power play among key traditional title holders in Itsekiri kingdom over the succession to the throne of the Olu of Warri after the demise of HRM Ogiamme Ikewoli may become a subject of litigation emerged yesterday with the Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom, Chief Ayiri Emami, approaching the court over his suspension.
Making the intention of the Ologbotsere, which literary means the ‘Traditional Prime Minister’, known in a statement made available to reporters in Warri, the spokesman of Ologbotsere Descendant Worldwide, Mr Alex Eyengho, said the decision to go to court to challenge his suspension has become imperative to set the records straight.
He noted that Chief Ayiri Emani the Ologbotsere, who also doubled as the Chairman of the Olu Advisory Council, decided to take the honourable way of seeking redress in court in order to set aside his suspension after due consultation with his family members, friends and associates both at home and in the diaspora in the interest of peace and upholding the Itsekiri culture and tradition.
According to the statement: ‘I am sure that the general public must have noticed the dignified deafening silence of Ologbotsere Ayiri Emami since his purported suspension by a section of the Ginuwa I Ruling House.
‘This silence is certainly not a mark of weakness but an opportunity to give those involved enough time to retrace their steps, swallow their pride, apologise to him and the Itsekiri for their illegal action in the overall interest of the Itsekiri and as the only sure way forward,” Comrade Eyengho stated.
‘The Ologbotsere will simply be asking the court to interpret within the framework of the 1979 Edict as it concerns the Warri Kingdom and other relevant extant laws whether the Ginuwa I Ruling House has the power whatsoever to suspend any or the least Chief of Warri Kingdom not to talk of the number one Chief in terms of hierarchy, the Ologbotsere of Warri.
‘He will also ask the court to determine whether the same Ginuwa I Ruling House has the power to empower the current Iyatsere of Warri and number two in the hierarchy, Chief Johnson Atserunleghe or any other Chief for that matter to perform any or all the functions of the Ologbotsere, while he is still alive, hale and hearty.
‘These are some of the basic questions Ologbotsere Ayiri Emami shall be asking the court for interpretations and definite pronouncements,’ Eyengho further disclosed.
‘May it also be put on record that we are not unaware of the new trend of hired armed thugs and hoodlums invading court sittings in Warri and chasing out judges, lawyers etc from court premises. Because of the nature of this impending case, we are not ruling out the possibility of the same set of thugs storming the court in an even more violent manner when we appear.’
‘It is then we shall know whether the police, DSS and other security agencies are all on AWOL (Absent Without Leave) to the detriment of law-abiding citizens, particularly those whose only offence is seeking justice in the law court.
‘Specifically, may we seize this opportunity to call on the Inspector-General of Police and other security agencies to beef up security around the Ologbotsere of WarriKingdom, Chief Ayirimi Emami for obvious reasons.
‘We cannot afford to take chances or underestimate the extent to which those against extant laws can go in achieving their targets,’ Eyengho stated.
‘The Itsekiri are people known to follow the law at all times. We rely on the law and decided cases in all our internal and external issues. The Itsekiri have never been known to be part of the illegality of any kind. Therefore, we cannot afford to approbate and reprobate on this and other matters.
‘This is the stand of the current Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom, Chief Ayirimi Emami whose only crime was to err on the side of the law by advising ab initio that the extant law (1979 Edict) as it concerns the successor of the 20th Warri monarch, His Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli, be followed, stricto senso.
‘However, we take solace in the fact that at the end of the day, the truth can never be buried in perpetuity and justice shall prevail in this matter,’ Eyengho further stated.