By Jesutega Onokpasa
I have never met Prince Tsola Emiko, have no relationship whatsoever with him nor do I even have his number. Also, I would have much prefered not to be bothered about what the Itsekiris do with themselves, lest some fool out there ask what is the business of an Okpe man with Itsekiri matters? However, the highly obnoxious absurdities, rascalities, and brazen brigandage which have been thrown up by certain notoriously obtuse characters to most unnecessarily becloud what should otherwise be a smooth and straightforward affair, compel one to at least intervene even if only by way of well-intentioned admonition.
In any case, I was born in the very heart of Warri, indeed at Esiri Infirmary, close to the stadium, and my birth certificate is under the hand of no other than the legendary Dr. Frederick Esiri, himself, the first indigenous medical doctor in the whole of Warri. Besides, it is not an African value, neither a Christian ideal, to address nonchalance to the challenges of one’s neighbours.
For the avoidance of any doubt, Prince Tsola Emiko, contrary to what is being erroneously portrayed, is not merely one of the claimants to the throne but in fact, the bonafide and authentic Crown Prince of the Itsekiris, undisputed heir to the throne and natural and automatic possessor of right of first refusal to succession as the next Olu of Warri. Indeed, the purported “rejection” of Tsola Emiko last time around was clearly and most egregiously in error, an error, noble-minded Itsekiris are now most admirably committed to correcting in the current process.
I had warned the Itsekiris some time ago regarding the utterly objectionable disposition of Chief Ayirimi Emami, including his highly rascally tendencies and crude approach to issues. Nevertheless, to my utter amazement, total shock and complete disbelief, a clown was elevated to a chieftaincy, and Ayiri, of all people, was made Ologbotsere, a status he has managed to bring into stomach-churning ridicule and most nauseating disrepute within just a few years in that position!
This most obnoxious law purports to impose a stipulation that a claimant to the throne must have been born to an Itsekiri or Edo mother, thus effectively rendering a child, not so characterised, an illegitimate child, which directly, unambiguously and most heinously conflicts with the Nigerian Constitution which specifically provides, without exception, that no Nigerian children shall be considered illegitimate.
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Assuming, without conceding, that this most infuriating codification of what is clearly a typical village man’s archaic custom is of any relevance in the world of 2021, it goes to no moment either as a rule of customary law or provision in a written law. In order to be valid and applicable, all customs must be consistent with the written law and above all with the constitution. Similarly, no written law, from an Act of the National Assembly to a local government by-law can be inconsistent with the constitution, being the grundnorm.
Indeed, simply put, clearly and in short, according to the Constitution of the Federal Republic, no customs or laws can render a citizen an illegitimate child and had Ayiri bothered to devote time to his education and self-improvement in life before foisting himself as Ologbotsere, he, a mere commoner, would not be seeking to deny an authentic prince of royal blood his entitlement by bandying about a useless law, fit only for kangaroos like himself!
To imagine that in this day and age, someone would still be talking of “his mother is not from here” or that “his mother is from there”! Let those determined to be detained in the canoe of the thickening darkness of the past not hinder those willing to sail spaceships into the dawning light of the future.
I really don’t care how long Ayiri decides to keep embarrassing himself and his family name but I believe Ayiri has done more than enough damage in Itsekiri land. Ayiri led the late Ogiame Ikenwoli astray and His Majesty met an untimely death. If I may ask, must more members of the Emiko Royal Family similarly and most avoidably be put in harm’s way before the Itsekiris will call their buffoon of a self-styled Prime Minister to order? Must irreparable damage be done to the entire Itsekiri nation before more highly minded Itsekiris are moved to seize the crazed bull by the horns and Ayiri is put in his proper place and consigned to where he belongs?
To the young man, Prince Tsola Emiko, I’d say continue to be humble, respect your people but do not be afraid of anyone for you are a child of God. You were cheated once before and will not be cheated a second time. Even all the while you were denied the throne, all sorts of people would visit the palace and claim that they were, as they put it, “seeing two kings here.” Claim your throne; not out of pride or grandstanding but claim it for the overall good of your people, for the benefit of all of them, for the progress of all the Itsekiris, even for the good of misguided detractors like Ayiri who is actually your mere subject, at your service and therefore wholly and completely under your royal command, and, not at all in any position to deny you your own throne!
To the good people of Itsekiri who used to be known for education, awareness and exposure in the past, please reclaim your homeland, and take back your dignity and your honour from rascals, vagabonds, brigands, and thugs even if they happen to be decked in chief’s regalia.
If Ayiri is allowed by the Itsekiris to prevent their Crown Prince and rightful king, Tsola Emiko from ascending the throne of his ancestors and a different person is made king, the entire Itsekiri nation would have been defeated by just one man who would then had succeeded in imposing his stooge as monarch over them with grave consequences for the Itsekiri nation. Needless to say, people would always regard such a king as nothing more than a puppet and the client of a clown.
Injustice was done to the young man, Prince Tsola Emiko, when he was unjustly denied the throne of his forefathers. Let justice now be done to the glory of God lest the wrath of God fall even harder upon the land and its people.
Onokpasa, a lawyer, wrote from Sapele.