Kehinde Akinyemi, Special Assistant on Media to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has explained why his principal knelt before His Royal Majesty Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III.
Thirty-seven-year-old serial entrepreneur Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko was, on Saturday, crowned the 21st Olu of Warri, and had immediately assumed the title of Ogiame Atuwatse III.
According to Akinyemi, Obasanjo, 84, on Sunday morning, travelled to the ancient Iwere Kingdom, which is the ancestral home of the Itsekiri in the Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State, to pay homage to the new monarch.
The media aide stated this in a chat with The PUNCH on Sunday afternoon after a viral photo captured the aged ex-President paying homage to the young monarch.
Akinyemi described his boss as the “Baba (Father) of Africa” who can pay homage to all exalted traditional seats.
He said that Obasanjo did not kneel before the monarch but before the ancient Iwere Kingdom, which dates back to over five centuries.
“He (Obasanjo) went to Warri this (Sunday) morning to pay homage to the new king. It is a traditional institution; he (Ogiame Atuwatse III) is not the one sitting down, it is the institution that is on the throne.
“Obasanjo is the Baba of Africa and he can pay homage to every exalted traditional seat,” Akinyemi told our correspondent on Sunday.
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Continuing, the aide said, “It was not Baba’s first time; he also once prostrated before Gbagura.”
The former President, who is the Jagunmolu of Egbaland, had, in August 2019, attended the coronation of Oba Saburee Bakre as the Agura of Gbagura in Ago-Oka, Abeokuta, Ogun State, where he also paid homage to the then-new king.
Obasanjo, unarguably one of the prestigious global citizens from Africa, was Nigeria’s democratically elected President between 1999 and 2007.
The former Nigerian military head of state between February 1976 and October 1979 had sat on many peace committees including those of the United Nations, African Union and Economic Community of West African States and had been instrumental to the restoration of peace in many parts of Africa including Liberia, Sudan, Ethiopia, amongst others.
The new Atuwatse III is the son of the 19th Olu Atuwatse II, Godwin Toritseju Emiko and Gladys Durorike Emiko.
Born on April 2, 1984, the new Olu, a descendant of Olu Akengbuwa, studied both in Nigeria and overseas.
He is the founder of Noble Nigeria Ltd. and Coral Curator Ltd. He is also the Chairman of Ocean Marine Security Ltd. and Director, Gulf of Guinea Ltd. and Vessel link Big. Ltd, amongst others.
The husband to Ivie Uhunoma Emiko, daughter of popular Edo billionaire business mogul, late Idahosa Okunbo, is a father of three children.
According to history, this would be the first time in over two centuries where the eldest son of an Olu would ascend the throne with his mother still alive and well to witness him sit on the throne.
In his opening speech after his investiture as the newly-installed Olu of Warri, the monarch on Saturday revisited the past and reversed an age-long curse placed on Nigeria by his grandfather, Olu Erejuwa II, as a result of alleged injustice meted out to him.
“Today, in our capacity as Olu, we hereby avow, as the spiritual, cultural, political and traditional ruler of this land, I, Ogiame Atuwatse III, the 21st Olu of Warri, the first son of Olu Atuwatse II, the grandson and direct descendant of Olu Erejuwa II, who was offended on this throne, I hereby reverse the curse placed over this land.
“In its place, I release forgiveness and healing to the Federal Government of Nigeria whose might was used to propagate that offence. And I decree unprecedented and uncommon peace, prosperity, progress, development upon this land. I bring down the government of heaven upon this land and I direct it to flow as a force that can neither be sabotaged, slowed or stopped. It goes out as a strong ripple effect emanating from this kingdom to the rest of the Niger Delta, the rest of the Nigerian nation and even the African continent,” the newly coronated monarch said.
The foremost Itsekiri monarch celebrated his coronation with two brand new customised cars; a Rolls Royce and Bentley 2021 model.