By Ovie Okpare
Notable Itsekiri and palace chiefs have vowed to testify against the Ologbotsere of Warri, Chief Ayiri Emami, over his decision to challenge the emergence of Prince Tsola Emiko as the 21th Olu of Warri in court.
Some of them, who had earlier backed and supported Chief Ayiri quest to follow the edict of the kingdom in the selection process, described the decision of the embattled Ologbotsere to head to court as embarrassing to the Itsekiri people and the most revered Iwere crown.
The process for installing a new Olu of Warri has been embroiled in crisis following the passage of the 20th Olu, Ogiame Ikenwoli, which resulted to the purported suspension of the Ologbotsere as chairman, Olu Advisory Council and Traditional Council of Chiefs by the Ginuwa I Ruling House.
Following the suspension of Ayiri, the Ruling House announced Chief Johnson Amatserunleghe, Iyatsere of Warri as the acting Chairman of Olu Advisory Council, which subsequently announced Prince Emiko as Olu-designate.
As the crisis degenerates, Chief Ayiri last weekend announced that he had approached the Warri High Court seeking legal interpretation of the controversial 1979 edict which specified the processes for selecting a new Olu.
A writ of summons with suit number W/128/2021 and dated July 8, 2021, has Chief Ayiri as claimant, while Chief Akoma Dudu Dimeyin (Olori-Ebi of Ginuwa Ruling House), Prince Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh (Olori-Ebi of Ginuwa l Ruling House) and Chief Johnson Amatserunleghe (Iyatsere of Warri) as defendants.
The Ologbotsere is seeking “an order of interlocutory injunction restrain ING the defendants either by themselves agents, privies and/or whomsoever from crowning any person as the Olu of Warri kingdom pending the hearing and determination of this suit.
“An order retraining the defendants either by themselves, agents, privies and by whomsoever from using anybody, particularly the 3rd defendant (Iyatsere) or the Uwangue or any other traditional Chief of Warri kingdom to crown any person as the Olu of Warri Kingdom against the provision of the the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Edict of 1979, pending the hearing and determination of this suit”.
But in a latest attempt to thwart Ayiri’s legal process, notable Itsekiri have signify interest to counter Ayiri’s quest to stop Prince Emiko (Omoba) from succeeding Ogiame Ikenwoli as Olu of Warri in court
NIGER DELTA TODAY (NDT) Online learnt that some of the highly place Itsekiri being assembled alleged that Ayiri is fighting a personal battle with his position as Ologbotsere.
Several sources who confirmed the development to our correspondent on Monday but pleaded not to be named accused Chief Ayiri of abandoning his duties as Ologbotsere.
It was gathered that some of the leaders who had indicated interest to testify against Ayiri in court “are those who have condemned the suspension of Ayiri as Ologbotsere but going to court to challenge the selection of Olu-designate in court seems the fight is a personal battle.”
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One of the sources alleged further that Chief Ayiri as Ologbotsere failed to unite Itsekiri people especially in their moment of grieve thereby polarizing the kingdom along political lines.
“Itsekiri crown is bigger than any individual. No matter the issue, the selection of Olu had never been challenged in court by anybody. For Ologbotsere to have concluded to stop the coronation of the Omoba (Olu-designate) is a slap on us (Itsekiri).
“We have assembled prominent Itsekiri including traditional chiefs of Warri Kingdom to testify against Chief Ayiri in court. Ayiri will be surprise that even his supporters are not with him on this court issue. Many have withdrawn their support since he had decided to take the Ruling House to court. We are collating his sins and at the appropriate time we will surprise him”, one of the sources claimed.
Another source who alleged that Ayiri abandoned his position leading to his suspension as Ologbotsere, adding that “While we were mourning in Iwereland, Chief Ayiri was almost in every political meeting and parties. We expected more from traditional Prime Minister in moments like this but he failed us.”