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Treasure king of Warri

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Prince Tsola Emiko waves after being crowned as the 21st king or the Olu of Warri kingdom and the Ogiame Atuwatse 111 during his coronation at Ode Itsekiri on August 21, 2021. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

What happened in Big Warri (Ode-Itsekiri/Itsekiri-Olu) on Saturday, August 21, 2021 was what I called, among other things, in this column last Friday, the spirit of “Itsekiri classical taste” of the “ever glorious and ever immaculate Itsekiri people.” Of course, I didn’t go the whole hog to say or to clarify my terms or terminologies for the reason given therein. Now I am not likely to go the whole hog as well. I am already billed to do something elsewhere along the line of what I may ostensibly describe here. So I won’t go into details of the emblematic qualities of what I should like to call here the Itsekiriry of that “gloriously artistic Saturday.” I have quoted myself finally.

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One thought that occurred to me, if not a paramount one, on that Saturday that did not in any way obtund my positive picture of events was this: How come the Itsekiri people of wondrous wonderment committed their wonder-work of culture to the wondrous satisfaction of those who were present for the event of divine glory? Even those who were not present physically but saw what transpired on the various television channels, within and outside our shores, including CNN of America, did not have trouble to be inspired by the creation and recreation of Itsekiri tradition and culture. And one must keep on asking: How did the Itsekiri people give modern moving or moving modern rhythm, with its traditional splendid measures and superlatively-controlled cadences to the elaborate poetry of coronation in so short a time and especially in view of the milieu of scorching heat that preceded the divinely ornamental event? I am going to answer this series of questions by saying and insisting that Itsekiri people are never far away from their culture. In fact, their culture is in-built in them right from even the wombs that conceived and birthed them. The average Itsekiri person must be an anthropologist right from birth even if his or her parents are across ethnic divides. None, no one, can teach him or her claims of his or her culture. The Ode-Itsekiri spectacle of something surreal, of something unreal and precious, demonstrated this beyond anyone’s widest and wildest dreams. Even the sceptics within and not within who spoke to me after the event accepted what I presented to them as civilized politeness of Itsekiri culture no matter the serious and not serious conspicuous conceits and cleavages that were seemingly overwhelming before the crowning of the Treasure King of Warri – His Majesty Ogiame Atuwatse 111.

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What I have attempted to say above is simply that every Itsekiri person is his or her anthropologist of culture. Each one, no matter his or her level of learning or education, finds, detects, and discovers the exploration in his or her own being especially as he or she is being manoeuvred by maturity out of their teenage years that once confined their twaddle or tittle-tattles to their fancies. Simply, I am stating that Itsekiris do not need to go to any school of culture to learn and practise and promote their culture in the way and manner anthropologists might want them to do.

The real gem of the coronation itself was the placing of the new, modern crown on the divinely refreshing head of the fabulously youthful King of Warri. After the seemingly fierce sunbeams that beat his weary head before the crown of gold became a leafy mangrove orange shade of victory, our treasure king put behind him his Idaniken moments of cultural introspection and princely tutelage which his isolation time-table demanded. His Idaniken, that is, his isolation period was a period of new cultural, traditional, spiritual and even mystical all-in-one lesson for the divine one whose feelings must conspire among themselves to bring and give succour to his people within and outside the mighty Kingdom of Warri, the land and Kingdom of Treasure. Of course, he must be a selfless king who shall also implore refreshment from his Warri homeland to be stretched to friends and neighbours and near and far relations and protectors of Itsekiri people and their treasure.

The king’s voice after his hands donned royally and with ease the crown of sovereignty of treasure on his no more weary head, was ostensibly the voice of a king that is more than a king. His coronation voice has set a new bench-mark for future kings of Warri. In one breadth his voice that did not splutter throughout its duration was that of the dove that was not meant to dwell on the sorrow of the weary mind. His was the voice of the victorious mind of the king of and to treasure devoted to God. The dove-mind-soul of the king of heavenly treasure came to the mangrove orchard of Itsekiriry at Ode-Itsekiri where the first church in our geographical space of Nigeria was built centuries ago. The name of this Catholic Church established by Portuguese was St. Anthony which entered Itsekiri vocabulary as Santony. The dove-mind-soul on the 21st of August entered the orchard ground of virtue and built a new nest of forgiveness, deliverance, peace and protection in the twigs of the modern scriptural tree of Itsekiri belief. Its mystery was the mystery of new, modern Itsekiri treasure that will deliver to Itsekiri a mystically progressive lesson beyond economic and political progress. The treasure of knowledge that should impact very positively on the marshy terrain of the Itsekiri people of enduring endurance, unlike other ethnic nationalities, shall give pure happiness, the crown of the glory of Ogiame Atuwatse III the treasure that shall bear everlasting treasure of natural and scientific magic everywhere on our milieu and landscape. The treasure King of Warri, His Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse 111, shall enhance his greatness, almightiness and eternal treasure by reconciling opposing qualities, and by demonstrating and underscoring multiplicity in unity. All ambiguities and paradoxes shall merge in unity. And the treasure king’s crown shall command the great, the not-so-great and the small and not-so-small from everywhere. The wit of the king shall be the wit of treasure to be penned by all poets in love with the Treasure King and the Itsekiri homeland of treasure.

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Now let me bring my column to a close. As every king prays for his homeland and kingdom and his people and subjects, so also do his people and subjects and their friends and helpers and protectors pray for their king, kingdom and homeland and landscape of wondrous blessings – without limits of any kind whatsoever: May Ogiame Atuwatse 111, the modern treasure-King-of-Warri, reign with splendour and valour, and with the patriotic praise of all within and outside his kingdom their kingdom our kingdom in the one and only homeland that will be his and theirs and ours forever. May hyenas and jackals, crocodiles and sharks, wolves and foxes, chameleons and ostriches and vultures and leeches (from within or from without) not descend from anywhere near the Aghofen, the palace, of the treasure King of Warri of artistic taste and bent and exquisite erudition. This is what matters to me because it is the real treasure of the treasure king who shall reign exquisitely as we have never before seen in this part of the world. The erudition which his mind has amassed is superior to the wealth ephemeral that he meritoriously possesses. The wisdom of the ages shall enter from time to time his divine erudition and actions that scoundrels wherever they may be shall not upturn. This plea numbers among my realistic and poetic wishes for the magnificent kingdom of the gloriously glorious Itsekiris.

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.

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