L. Monoyo Edon

I read with consternation a media report credited to the Nation Newspaper about what transpired in Okere Community yesterday and I can’t believe a reputable media outfit like the Nation Newspaper would allow themselves to be used as one of the propaganda tools to impugn the reputation of Warri especially with such crass and roadside headline, “Two shot, dozens wounded as soldiers reportedly invade Okere-Warri”.

I would have kept mum if the Nation Newspaper was one of those obscure mushroom online media but that the Nation Newspaper will hurriedly put up a one-sided report makes me question their professional ethics. You don’t use “reportedly” when your correspondents are not on-ground to give you leads or quote authoritative sources. If your reporter did his or her job well, you would have spoken to sources from the Olu of Warri Palace and Okere community -people who have authority to speak on the issue. Your reporter claimed to speak with some sources – who in my opinion are social media hirelings of one of the troublers of Warri kingdom. The Nation Newspaper should be ashamed of themselves for not demanding balance report from their reporter. If I were the CEO, I’d fire the lazy reporter.

Since the Nation Newspaper could not do an accurate report of what transpired yesterday, let me help them because I was there.

Ogiame Atuwatse III, The Olu of Warri visited Okere Community -community keeping Watch at the Palace of the Olu of Warri since December 2023. The Community will be handing over the Barton to another community later this month as part of Ogiame Atuwatse III’s Ghigho Aghofẹn (Royal Change of Guard).

Olu of Warri is king over all deities and shrines in both land and sea in Warri kingdom. As customary of Ogiame, after the reception and fanfare, he proceeds to bless the sacred spots in those communities.

However, after the event ended peacefully yesterday, a small band of dissidents from Okere wanted to test their luck by standing in the way of the Olu of Warri by mounting a resistance against him entering their sacred spot.

Itsekiris are not known to willfully attack their own. This explains why Ogiame forbade the mammoth crowd following him from dealing with the dissidents. Instead they were left in the care of men of the security operatives present at the occasion.

The Nigerian Army and Police gave me the names of Messrs David Iwere, Austin Lori (aka Agbamudu), Napoleon Tseke, Oyibo Awani as ring leaders brewing the nuisance enroute the Ogwa. They are in their custody as I write because they weirded weapons and rocks capable of causing bodily injuries to guests at the event. The security operatives didn’t invade Okere community. They basically maintained law and order as is their constitutional right to do.

If the security operatives were not invited to maintain law and order at the event, there would have been records of deaths because Itsekiri will not idle by watching some dissents mount resistance against their king. Nobody has done that and live to tell the story in the history of Warri kingdom.

The Olu of Warri in his wisdom barred anyone from responding to the provocations of these dissidents earlier as they heckled and jested from a corner of the community during the ceremony. Otherwise, there are Itsekiris that are more than willing to help the security operatives do their job but Ogiame doesn’t and will not allow Itsekiris to fight themselves.

The Olu of Warri’s fatherly demeanor is why the unsuspecting public may think Itsekiri nation is weak in crushing the troublers of Warri Kingdom but only a wise man can play a fool or a strong man act weak. The troublers know this and continue to push their luck but they are running out of luck each passing day.

The Olu of Warri as an earthly god of all Itsekiris is the singular reason a bloodbath has not occurred and may not occur in Warri because he sees what a lot of his subjects do not have the calmness to see. This is what the troublers of Warri kingdom are trying fruitlessly to exploit by going roguish on social media impugning, denigrating and spinning propaganda to provoke crisis in the kingdom.

No man can play god in Itsekiri let alone square up against the Olu of Warri. The leader of the troublers who used to be a knight at the Palace of the Olu of Warri until his services were no longer needed would have himself provoked a bloodbath in Warri to show might. The dissidents who pelted us with stones in Okere yesterday would have been maimed or given permanent deformity. They would have been visited in their homes at night and all kinds of atrocities perpetrated in the name of Itsekiri or the Olu of Warri.

But everyday, the Olu of Warri continues to show uncanny royal leadership by pressing down vehement reply to all these rebellion against the throne by a very infinitesimal number of troublers of Warri kingdom who are merely brewing storm in a teacup. An attempt to move their storm from social media as they have been doing since the royal succession will be met with more than equal resistance. The troublers again know this for a fact.

Anyone reserves the right be aggrieved during the succession struggle but after the crowning of an Olu, everyone falls in line. If you don’t want to fall in line, you may as well relocate with your family out of Warri to a place where people can do your bidding. You cannot recruit any community or more than your hirelings to hate on the tribe or be aggrieved with you. Those of us who are not aggrieved may feel your pain but we can’t join your propaganda. We can only sue for peace and unity. Itsekiri history is replete with even powerful figures who were aggrieved -some pushed their luck abortively, others went into self-exile or fell in-line.

I am using this medium to call on those who are still aggrieved to move on and accept the olive branch so that we can continue to be the civilized and responsible tribe we have always been. But an attempt to cause unrest in Warri will not be acceptable to the generality of Itsekiri.

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