FOR THE RECORD
His Royal Majesty Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko, who was crowned the 21st Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III last Saturday included the reversal of a curse which his ancestor Olu Erejuwa II placed on Nigeria.
As part of his speech immediately after his coronation, The Olu of Wari said:
“A release of forgiveness, healing and unprecedented peace, prosperity, progress and development to the Federal Government of Nigeria, whose might was used to propagate that offence” against the late Olu Erejuwa II.
“While not seeking to reopen old wounds, it is pertinent to recall the fact that following the grave injustice meted out to Olu Erejuwa II, he visited His Royal Majesty, Oba Akenzua II of Benin, and recounted his ordeal.
“In a reaction, a curse was placed on the land by both of them. It is not recorded that Olu Erejuwa II reversed the curse over the land nor is it recorded that Oba Akenzua II did the same. Most probably, the issue was never revisited.
“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, 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.”
Full speech of the Olu:
Wikipedia writes as follows about Erejuwa II:
Erejuwa II was a Nigerian traditional title holder and paramount leader of the Itsekiri who was Olu of Warri from 1951 to 1964 and from 1966 to 1986. He was the 18th Olu of Warri Kingdom with the title Ogiame Erejuwa II. He succeeded his father Ginuwa II as Olu. Ginuwa II was a great grandson of Olu Akengbuwa the last Olu who died in 1848, he was crowned in 1936 after an interregnum that lasted 88 years when Warri’s political leadership was dominated by merchant princes.
Erejuwa was born c. 1908 as Wilson Gbesimi Emiko, he attended a CMS missionary school at Ogbesse, thereafter he did business with United African Company rising to become a provincial cooperatives president. Warri was the capital township of Warri Province, a colonial administrative unit with Warri Division as a sub-unit consisting of Warri Township, Sapele and Forcados. The government decision led to protest led by non-Itsekiri groups within Warri Division who feared the title could lead the Olu to lay claim as paramount authority within Warri Division. The title had always been “the Olu of Warri before it was changed to Olu of Itsekiri in 1936 to passify the Itsekiri neighbours who had always feared Itsekiri domination by their very influential king. But the Itsekiri had used every civilized forum to protest this anomaly until 1952 when the title was reverted to its original status of Olu of Warri.
As Olu of Warri, he was appointed regional Minister without portfolio and president of the Warri Divisional Traditional Council.
Following unhealthy rivalry between prominent Itsekiri leaders in the Action Group and the NCNC in the lead to the creation of a Mid-West region, Erejuwa, who perceived to have backed Action Group, was deposed by the NCNC led regional government in 1964 and deported to Ogbesse. He was re-appointed in 1966 by the new military government of David Ejoor after some of the prominent Itsekiri leaders in the NCNC had been taken out by the emerging military government.
Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe deposed the grandfather of the new Olu Erejuwa III. He was re-instated by Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
The newly crowned Olu of Warri, Ogiame Erejuwa III, reversed the curse his grandfather, the Ogiame Erejuwa II put on the land.
In 1963, Ogiame Erejuwa II, had taken the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Mid-West Government to court over the inclusion of Itsekiri in the newly created Mid-West region.
Ogiame Erejuwa II told the court that the Itsekiri Kingdom was part of the Yoruba nation and should have remained as part of the Western region and not included in the Mid-West region.
He argued that the Itsekiri people would like to be a part of the Western region and backed the Action Group led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and rejected the NCNC, led by Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, which controlled the Mid-West.
In anger, the NCNC leader deposed Ogiame Erejuwa II and deported him to Ogbesse. The king then put a curse on all the Itsekiri who supported an Ibo to bring the Itsekiri kingdom into disrepute. Chief Okotie Eboh, an Itsekiri who supported the Ibo to depose the Itsekiri King would later be assassinated by Ibo soldiers who executed the January 1966 military coup.
Post 1966 events, Chief Awolowo was set free by Lt Col Yakubu Gowon, Head of State, and named the Federal Minister of Finance and the de facto Vice President of Nigeria. Among the first things he did was to reinstate Ogiame Erejuwa II as the Olu of Warri. But Ogiame Erejuwa did not revoke the curse he placed on the land. His grandson, Ogiame Erejuwa III, has just removed the curse on the Itsekiri people.
The Itsekiri Kingdom is regarded as one of the twenty-six tribes of the Yoruba.