King Ogiame Atuwatse III at his coronation. PICTURE: Instagram
King Ogiame Atuwatse III at his coronation. PICTURE: Instagram

Meet Nigeria’s new Delta region king, Ogiame Atuwatse III

By Chad Williams Time of article published Sep 12, 2021

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CAPE TOWN: Africa's latest king, the dashing and charismatic Ogiame Atuwatse III, 37, was recently coronated as the 21st king of the Olu of Warri kingdom, one of the youngest to do so.

The Kingdom of Warri, or Iwere Kingdom, was part of the Nigerian traditional states in the city of Warri in Delta State, Nigeria.

Atuwatse III, was crowned on August 21, with all the extravagant pomp and ceremony expected for the crowning of a royal. Despite Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in Nigeria prohibiting large gatherings, a king must be crowned.

The king himself noted the significance of the day, saying his coronation fell on the only month in the year where the 21st fell on a Saturday.

Ogiame Atuwatse III is a Nigerian traditional ruler, paramount ruler of the Itsekiri people and the 21st Olu of Warri.

He was born Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko, also known as Prince Tsola Emiko, on April 2, 1984 to Olu Atuwatse II, the 19th Olu of Warri and Gladys Durorike Emiko in Warri.

He attended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Primary School in Warri; Adesoye College, Offa in Kwara State and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, in the US, according to reports.

Atuwatse III succeeded his uncle Ogiame Ikenwoli who died in December last year.

The young king’s ascension to the throne in the oil-rich but impoverished Delta region has sparked a resurgence in royalty, tradition and ancestry among some young Nigerians in a country with one of the largest youth populations in the world.

The glitzy affair saw thousands throng the streets of Ode-Itsekiri in southern Nigeria's oil hub Warri on Saturday, as they ushered in a new king with vigour and jubilation, with many holding onto the hope that the young king's ascension would improve their lives.

Clad in royal robes that seemed to weigh him down, the new king said that despite tradition, when a king spoke, the guests normally stood. He wanted those who could stand to stand.

The new king didn’t waste time in cementing his authority as monarch. He reversed an ancestral curse placed on the country by his grandfather, Olu Erejuwa II, and Uku Akpolokpolo, Akenzua II of Benin, over an alleged injustice meted out to the former, writes the Guardian Nigeria.

"As a firm believer in the intricate interconnectedness between the spiritual and the manifestation in the physical, it is our firm belief that the matter needs to be addressed today,” he said, referring to the breaking of the curse.

His gesture garnered applause from the audience, who hung on his every word.

The king started his speech by saying he wanted to honour the two most important women in his life – his mother and his wife.

King Ogiame Atuwatse III celebrated the two most important women in his life and bestowed on them the new titles to depict their new offices.

“Interestingly enough, as God has ordained, one is a beautiful young lady of Edo heritage and the other is a gracious woman of Yoruba heritage.”

Ivie Emiko , a Pastor, has been married to the King since 2014. Her father was Nigerian billionaire, Hosa Wells Okunbo, who passed on last month in London.

The new king promised to reform traditional culture, so women were “no longer invisible“.

He said he wanted to push for economic change, away from oil.

His speech was filled with hope. When he spoke about improving the lives of the people of the region, many women could be heard shouting in agreement.

The new king turned his focus on the youth, saying that they need to look beyond oil and gas, and society needed to focus on what brought value.

He said they needed to harness their culture and identity in order to influence youth development.

“We must look beyond oil and gas, and channel our energy in the right direction, towards the endeavours that will result in added value across the board.

“We will encourage and build up our women. Women need to be honoured, not by word but by actual cultural practices, to empower them,” he said.

Although Nigeria's kings and emirs hold no political power, they do wield enormous influence as custodians of spiritual and cultural heritage.

He said the throne belonged to God and the king belonged to God.

The king said there was a deep connection between the spiritual and traditional.

One person on social media said: “I was almost moved to tears by this Olu of Warri something. What I felt was close to hope. Seeing/hearing something that was making sense in an environment so devoid of it.” |

African News Agency (ANA)

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