•Ask Olu to jettison ban on Ologbotsere title
Following the outright ban on the Ologbotsere title in Itsekiri-Warri kingdom, the Ologbotsere family has petitioned the Inspector general of police over what it described as unlawful the action of Olu, Ogiame Atuwatse III.
The petition alleged that there is pressure on the 100-year-old ‘Olori-ebi’ (family head), Pa Jofotan Higson Oporokun, to sign a controversial letter which content was yet to be disclosure.
Congress gathered that the Agiame Atuwatse III, on early October announced the proscription of the family title in the climax of a face-off with the holder, Chief Ayiri Emami, who waved it off as “off no effect”.
In a petition to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the family’s spokesperson, Mr. Alex Eyengho, alleged that the pressure on Pa Oporokun is capable of causing a breach of peace and security challenge in the area, particularly as it involved upturning age-long order of affairs in the family.
Eyengho maintained: “The Ologbotsere Eyinmisan descendants of Warri Kingdom are constrained to draw your attention to a verifiable case of intimidation and harassment on the Olori-Ebi of the Ologbotsere family, Pa. Jofotan Higson Oporokun.”
In swift reaction to the petition, a Itsekiri-Warri palace chief and lawyer, Robinson Ariyo, explained that the disrobed Ologbotsere, Ayirimi Emami and a faction of the Ologbotsere family have been the ones formenting trouble from the beginning of the succession crisis.
Describing them as the “aggressors”, he re-emphasised the power of the king to bestow and withdraw chieftaincy titles.
The lawyer said those writing petition were not authorized by Pa Oporokun of Ologbotsere family, adding he should be allowed to speak for himself, since he has right to do so.
The spokesperson, said the aged family head is under pressure from the palace to give credence to ‘illegality’, noting: “The pressure is to compel him to single-handedly sign a letter scripted from the palace of the Olu of Warri, to make it seem as emanating from the Ologbotsere Eyinmisan descendants.
“This development does not just have the lace of impersonation, it also smacks of desperation by an illegitimate authority, to rewrite an obnoxious pronouncement likened to a policy somersault.”
However, a copy of the petition, which was made available reporter, posited that the palace is trying to coerce the centenarian to sign a statement purportedly supporting the action of the palace, contrary to the family’s position.
It further stated that correspondence from the Ologbotsere descendants usually had the imprimatur of approval from at least 10 of 12 stocks of the family, in order for it to be a family document, adding that pressuring the ‘Olori-ebi’ to single-handedly sign was out of order.
The petitioners disagreed with the position conveyed in the ‘stage-managed’ letter to the effect that the Ologbotsere title was a prerogative of the Olu of Warri, stressing that nothing could be farther from the truth.
“While we acknowledge that it is the Olu of Warri that confers chieftaincy titles on deserving Itsekiri indigenes, and occasionally non-Itsekiri, it is laughable that the content of the letter, which a particular chief and other elements from the palace, are intimidating Pa. Jofotan Higson Oporokun to sign (through phone call pressures) that “all titles belong to the Olu of Warri.
“It must be stated, clearly once more that the Ologbotsere title belongs to the Ologbotsere Eyinmisan descendants and not the Olu of Warri. The Warri monarch has the prerogative to install an Ologbotsere, based on the recommendation of the Ologbotsere Eyinmisan descendants.
“Never in the history of Warri Kingdom has an Ologbotsere been disrobed. The holder of such title lives with it for a lifetime and there is nothing like former Ologbotsere. Telling the world in the presence of the media that Ologbotsere title has been abolished and the name is now merely a nickname, only to backtrack and say that the pronouncement, which was widely reported in the media, was a misrepresentation, is the height of opaque leadership, devoid of proper understanding of Itsekiri heritage.”