Come Saturday, August 21, 2021, history will repeat itself in Itshekiri nation, when the governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa steps out to crown Prince Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko as the 21st Olu of Warri, thus creating a watershed in the ancient kingdom.
By so doing, he will be the first governor to crown two Olu of Warri monarchs in quick succession. This feat was first achieved in December 2015, when he installed Ogiame Ikenwoli 1 Godfrey Emiko.
Ikenwoli’s brother and immediate predecessor, Olu Atuwatse II Godwin Toritseju Emiko, was installed in 1987, before the creation of Delta state.
Since the demise of Ogiame Ikenwoli and the choice of his son as as his successor, Itsekiri nation has been an epicenter of turmoil due to the fierce battle that characterised the selection process of the next Olu of Warri.
Quite interestingly, the emergence of Prince Emiko as the new Olu of Warri, was facilitated by his father-in-law, Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo, the billionaire business magnate, investor and philanthropist, who died on Sunday, August 8, in London.
The entire Warri Kingdom is agog as it prepares to host the coronation of Prince Tsola Emiko, who will be crowned on that day, making him the 21st Olu from a long dynasty that stretches back hundreds of years.
Prince Tsola Emiko is himself the quintessential entrepreneur with something to offer the concept of a new Nigeria, one where it is envisaged, justice, equity, merit, a sense of dogged determination, strategic focus and ability for sustainable wealth creation will be the watchwords.
History may record the official announcement of his ascension to the throne as the signpost that signalled the commencement of a new era of sustained prosperity, harmony and progress for the people of the Iwere Kingdom, a place all Itsekiris call home.
Prince Emiko is the son of Prince Tsola Emiko, Ogiame Atunwase II, the 19th Olu of Warri. He was born and bred under the stewardship of the Ginuwa Royal House of the Itsekiris and underwent training in the walk of princes by his late father.
Prince Emiko attended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Primary School Warri, Delta State and Adesoye College Offa, Kwara State. He attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, where he bagged two master’s degree – the first in international studies and political science, and the second in management.
Upon his return to Nigeria, Prince Emiko worked in several public and private sector enterprises. The National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Sahara Energy, Shell Nigeria Closed Pension Fund Administrator (SNCFPA) are some of the companies involved across the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry where he spent his early professional life.
A serial entrepreneur, Prince Emiko owns and operates Noble Energy Ltd, Corral Curators Ltd and is also on the board of a number of companies, including Ocean Marine Security Ltd, Gulf of Guinea Ltd and Vessellink Nig Ltd.
He is firm believer in the notion that the problems of youth unrest in the Niger Delta can be reduced significantly through an early foundation in STEM education furthered by dedicated access to skill acquisition in the technology, vocational and creative industries. Invariably, it is hoped that Prince Emiko will translate his experience and world view into long-lasting impact on the lives of his people as he mounts the throne of his ancestors.
In continuation of the kingly eulogy of the would-be king, a palace source in a statement of endearment, titled “Coronation of Olu of Warri: “Omoba is Coming Home”, declared that the long awaited D-Day will be etched in the memories of Warri indigenes in general and Warri Kingdom in particular.
According to him “August 21, 2021 will be a day that will live long and rich in the memory of the Warri Kingdom, the people of Warri and indeed Nigeria as a whole, as the Iwere Kingdom crowns a new Olu of Warri.
“Activities and preparations towards the epoch-making occasion are in top gear and approaching fever pitch as the excitement amongst the all Itsekiri people builds to a crescendo. The occasion promises to be a grand celebration of colour, glamour, glitz, and a display of the finest traditions of royalty amongst people of the Niger Delta.
“The new Olu, Prince Tsola Emiko, who has just completed the traditional rites that herald the transitioning from one Olu to the next, is the chief celebrant of the occasion and is in earnest preparation to host the world.
“Already, congratulatory messages and words of support from world leaders and renowned personalities from around Nigeria have been pouring in including President Muhammadu Buhari, former Presidents Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Olusegun Obasanjo, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, The Oba of Benin, the Ooni of Ife and Tony Elumelu to mention a few.
“Prince Emiko, who is himself the son of the 19th Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atunwase II, Godwin Torisetju Emiko, is ascending the throne to replace his Uncle the 20th Olu of Warri who transitioned to eternal glory to be with his ancestors earlier in the year.
“At first glance, Prince Emiko cuts a picture of a fine upper-class gentleman bred in the finest traditions of royalty and aristocracy but on closer inspection, his disarming mien, down to earth candour, industrious and progressive mindset belies any previously assumed picture of the archetypal elite.
“His late father’s influence on his life cannot be overstated, from the manner of carriage of his slim gait, the air of studied exuberance he exudes to his prescient presence of mind, he is every inch a King who has been long in the making and a King for a time such as this.
“Prince Emiko, who majored in International Studies & Political Science at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio USA and also received an M.Sc. in Management from the same University, is primed to bring his public and private sector experience to bear on his new office where he has laid out an ambitious people-centred community development agenda that set outs with genuine purpose to improve the lives and livelihood of his people.
“STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education for children from an early age, technical and financial support for young people in the creative, vocational and technology industries, creation of an Itsekiri Wealth Fund to birth and attract major employment creation projects, specific skill acquisition support for disadvantaged young women, an Itsekiri online global portal/exchange for diaspora and local affairs, environmental protection and remediation and protection of endangered wildlife; are some of the things that form a critical part of his proposed agenda.
“It has been said that Prince Emiko believes that with the support of his council of chiefs, esteemed leaders of thought, youth and women groups and the generality of Itsekiri stakeholders, a new level of prosperity and progress can be unleashed with clear and significant impact on the lives of the people.
“They add that Prince Emiko has also wholeheartedly committed himself to pursue peaceful coexistence and harmony amongst his neighbours as he believes the common bonds that tie every Niger Deltan together are stronger than the seasonal disagreements that divide them.
“It is hoped that the sharp single-mindedness of his projections into the future will be matched by the requisite energy of implementation, which can itself form a template of development in many of our local communities; this indeed is the hope of all Itsekiris as they herald their new Olu.
“For Nigeria, Prince Emiko exemplifies all that is good, noble and right in the youth of this nation and his emergence signposts where we must look to for leaders that are capable of ushering this country into the new frontiers where ideas rule and shape the destinies of nations and indeed the world.
“Less than a fortnight ago, the expectation of England’s first major tournament win in 55 years was all the rage, and the buzz was “Football’s coming home”. Unfortunately, it was not to be for England, fortunately for the Itsekiri people disappointment will not be their lot as indeed their Olu, the son of Ogiame Atunwase II is finally coming home!
The Olu of Warri-designate, Prince Emiko, is married to Captain Hosa Okunbo’s daughter, Ivie Uhunoma. The union is blessed with three children namely; Oritsetsemaye, Oritsetemisan and Oritsetimeyin.