Tuesday, 10 September 2013

5,000 Women Plan Protest Against Olu Of Warri For Abolishing Itsekiri Cultural Practices


According to The Punch, no fewer than 5,000 women are expected to storm the palace of the Olu of warri, Ogiame Atuwase II, on Tuesday (Sept 10) to protest the monarch’s decision to abolish some of the ancient Itshekiri cultural practices. The women would be dressed in symbolic red attire as a sign of danger for the monarch.

Atunwase II had last Wednesday declared in a document titled, “The New Order of Iwere Kingdom,” that the “Ogiame” title which had been in existence for over 500 years would cease to exist following the recent consecration of the kingdom to God. “Ogiame” means “King of the River,” according to the history behind the Itsekiri throne. He said, “I also repent for the name and title of “Ogiame” that my ancestors and I have borne, as it connotes our allegiance to Umalokun (goddess of the river) and other deities of the sea, all of which are false gods. “Today, I renounce our allegiance to Umalokun and other gods of the sea, land and sky.
On behalf of the royal bloodline, the throne, the people of Iwere land, I publicly enter into a new covenant with God.” But, a former Commissioner in Delta State, Dr. Alex Ideh, urged the monarch “to rescind and recant immediately his declaration or abdicate the throne.” He added that the monarch did not consult the Itsekiri Traditional Council of Chiefs and Ruling Houses before his decision to denounce the title of Ogiame.

“Any action otherwise will make him (monarch) face the wrath of the Itsekiri people. The issue of religion being canvassed in the monarch’s declaration are his personal views. He could not railroad the nation to accept those views or obliterate the history of the people,” he said. Also, Itsekiri Leaders of Thought in a statement by its leaders, J.O.S Ayomike, Chief I.O Jemide (Secretary) and eight others stated, “The part of the (Olu’s) statement which alleges that the Itsekiri religion is fetish and that the Itsekiris are non-Christians is a misrepresentation of the well-known documented historical fact that Christianity actually started in Warri/Benin region in the early 16th Century and about eight of the 19 Olus got baptised as Christians. “Itsekiri as a nation cannot be said to have covenant with Umalokun. There may be pockets of Itsekiri people who do. Everyone has freedom of worship as it is done everywhere. Religion is a personal matter.”

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