Emiko’s reign will usher in blessings, peace, prosperity to Itsekiri Kingdom
Nothing mirrors the ephemerality of life like billionaire Edo State-born business mogul, Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo, looking forward to the enthronement of his son-in-law, Prince Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko, as the 21st Olu of Warri, only to pass on 21 days to the coronation. In his last interview with journalists, including OTAS DAVIDSON, from his home in the United Kingdom, the philanthropist said he expects Itsekiri Land to flourish under Emiko’s reign as Olu.
Your son-in-law, Prince Tsola Emiko will soon be crowned the 21st Olu of Warri. What are your thoughts about his ascension to the throne?
First of all, I want to give all the glory to God for everything. Prince Tsola Emiko happens to be my son-in-law as you rightly point out, but I call him my son because that is how I see him since the day he got married to my daughter. Prince Tsola is a well brought up child; he was nurtured and brought up as a king, and for us in our family, we are very lucky to have Prince Tsola because he has conducted himself over the years as a prince and a well brought up child. He has given us peace; he has not given me any reason to differentiate between my biological children and him. That is why before this whole thing about the Olu of Warri stool, I had no inhibition at all about taking a back step in my company and making him the chairman. I appointed him as the acting chairman of my company because of his uprightness, the confidence, and trust that I have in him. The Olu designate, who happens to be my son, is now going to be my father. He is a man of good integrity.
This is about the first time in living memory that the build-up to the coronation of a new Olu of Warri has attracted some sort of controversy. As the father-in-law to the Olu-designate, what role did you play in dousing tension among the stakeholders?
To be very honest, when this happened, I was very scared. Very scared for Prince Tsola and my daughter because it happened all of a sudden. We never expected it, and I had a very good relationship with King Ikenwoli Godfrey Emiko, the late Olu of Warri. He was a father figure and a confidant. We had a very good relationship even before he went to Ode Itsekiri, and what eventually happened. We had a chat and I always pay regular homage and respect to him. He was a peaceful man.
King Ikenwoli joining his ancestors was a shock to me personally, not only that but there was this fear for my children because I have an idea of what the respected stool was all about. For me, the best thing to do was to stay away from everybody, I didn’t discuss it with anybody, but focused on God, and all I did was to pray to God to take charge and you know, when ever God takes charge of a situation, it is sure and simple. That was why I refused to speak with anybody. There is nobody that will tell you that I spoke to him concerning this matter, not even Ayiri Emami, who happens to be a friend that I had worked with. I just wanted the will of God concerning this matter to take place, and God took charge.
What quality or attribute influenced your decision to give your daughter, Ivie, as wife to Prince Tsola Emiko about seven years ago?
Well, I was not the one to see the quality in the young man. It was for my daughter to see the quality of whom she brought to me, and we should all pray for our children to also make the right decision because I am not the one to choose a husband for my daughter; it is for me to accept. But when I met him, just like I said earlier, it was easy to accept Prince Tsola as my son-in-law. He was properly brought up, and I knew he was a different person that was ready for the royal task that he is about to assume. And of course, you know my daughter is also a well brought up girl to take up the challenge of looking after her husband, and by her name, Ivie, she belongs to the palace.
Just like the king, a queen has enormous responsibility in the kingdom. So, what would be your advice to the monarch’s wife?
My advice to Ivie, who will now be the queen is to completely support the king. I expect her to give him all the support and make the kingdom a blessing onto others and we will also be there to give them necessary support and prayers all the time as parents, but you know when he ascends the throne, he becomes our father.
Historically, what is the link between the Benin and Itsekiri kingdoms?
You know I’m not a historian. However, it is on record that the Itsekiri ruling house is from the Benin Kingdom; that lineage with the Itsekiri people is there. The history is there for everybody to appreciate, and we thank God for that.
What are your expectations of the new King?
I expect that his reign will usher blessing, peace, and prosperity to his people. I believe that being a king is not only for the people to continuously serve you, but it is for you to serve them, it should be both ways. People should be able to feel the impact and when things come his way, he should be able to dissipate it to the community and also expect that the people should equally give him the support to succeed. We are all praying and we will continue to pray for him to succeed.
What can you say about Chief Ayiri Emami’s opposition to the emergence of the new king?
Just like I said earlier, Ayiri Emami is someone I know and I expected him to see the direction of things rather than taking the position that he took. But all the same, we thank God for what has happened. His (the Olu designate) ascension shall usher in peace and unity in the kingdom.
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