Reacting to the reported removal of Chief Ayirimi Emami as the Ologbotsere of Itsekiri-Warri Kingdom, the Ologbotsere descendants, on Thursday, rebuffed the pronouncement of Ogiame Atuwatse III, insisting that only death or the Delta State government can take such a binding decision.
Congress recalled that the Olu of Itsekiri-Warri, His Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse III, on Tuesday in his palace through Chief Brown Mene, pronounced the removal of Chief Emami and outrightly abolished the Ologbotsere title, reducing it to a mere sobriquet.
However, the spokesman, Mr Alex Eyengho of the family, arising from an emergency general meeting of the Ologbotsere descendants on Thursday, restated that the dynasty has passed a vote of confidence in Chief Emami as the subsisting Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom and, in fact, preparing for the fourth anniversary celebration of his ascendancy.
The spokesperson, asserted that part of the resolutions taken at the meeting was that “it is only a bastard Ologbotsere descendant that will accept this so-called disrobing of Emami as Ologbotsere of Warri kingdom.”
The statement of the spokesman further reads: “l couldn’t pen down the statement due to my mother’s burial slated for Friday, meantime, the purported removal of Chief Emami as Ologbotsere will only be taken seriously when it comes directly from the mouth of the Olu of Warri.
“As you are all aware, the Ologbotsere Descendants Worldwide convened an emergency general meeting. It was well attended.
“All the stock, prominent people, including the members of the six-man delegation that the Olu of Warri invited from the family; five of them were present. The only person that was not present because of age is the Olori-Ebi of the family. He was packaged to the palace for that meeting.
“However, he sent a representative. The Olu specifically invited the Olori-Ebi and five others. By the time Chief Brown Mene, who spoke for the Olu finished, the Olu rose and left.
“So, it was more or less a monologue. The Ologbotsere Descendants were not given the opportunity to respond.
“At today’s meeting, the Ologbotsere Descendants Worldwide have taken a decision that we reject in totality the decision from the palace as read by Chief Mene.
“And we further pass a vote of confidence as a family on Chief Ayirimi Emami, the Ologbotsere of Warri kingdom.
“And we insist that in line with extant laws, culture and tradition of the Itsekiri people and Warri kingdom in general, once a title is given, it is till death, particularly, the title of Ologbotsere, who is the Chief Adviser of the Olu of Warri and the chairman of the Olu Advisory Council and the Chairman of Warri Council of Chiefs.
“His position is statutory. Therefore, nobody can remove him or disrobe him. We know this, it is in tandem with extant laws, culture and tradition of Itsekiri. It is after death that Chief Emami would seize being the Ologbotsere of Warri kingdom.
“And that is the position of the family today and we further pass a vote of confidence on him. We will continue to address him as the Ologbotsere of Warri kingdom.
“He will continue to perform his function as the Ologbotsere of Warri kingdom as best as he can,” he asserted.
“The Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom is the head of the masses which we Itsekiri call Oma-Jaja, the royal family through the Olu heads another arm of government which is monarchy; two different statutory arms of government. One cannot shove aside the other.
“The Olu is the head of the royal family and the entire Itsekiri nation, while the Ologbotsere is the head of the masses which we call Oma-Jaja. And these two organs are statutory.
“The only way to remove the Ologbotsere or disrobe him is there in the law. It must pass through the state House of Assembly and the governor.
“It must be debated in the House and gazetted. I refer you to a book titled ‘The Foundation of Itsekiri Culture and Tradition’ authored by a former Justice of Bendel State, Justice Rufus Ogbobine.
“It is very clear there that once you make titles like Ologbotsere, Iyatsere, Uwangue, Oshodi and Ojomo, it is till death that they will stop to hold such titles and nobody can remove them.
“We as Ologbotsere Descendants, we know our culture, tradition and the law. We stand with Chief Ayirimi Emami on what he is doing because his only offence is that he has said ‘let us follow the extant law in the succession to the throne of Olu of Warri,’” Eyengho further noted.
The spokesperson, Eyengho added that since they were not averse to peace and reconciliation, a seven-man panel of elders from the Ologbotsere descendants has been inaugurated to further look into the matter by consultations, emphasising that the “Ologbotsere family is not at war with anybody.”