Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr. Amaju Pinnick yesterday faulted the position of the Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom, Chief Ayiri Emami, on the emergence of new Olu of Warri, who succeeded the late monarch, Ogiame Ikenwoli.
Some kingmakers had a few days ago selected Prince Tsola Emiko as the Olu of Warri-designate, a development that did not go down well with the rival group led by Emami, who insisted that picking him was a breach of the rules.
The announcement made by the Iyatsere of Warri Kingdom and acting Chairman of Olu’s Advisory Council, Chief Johnson Atserunleghe, at a traditional ceremony in Ode Itsekiri, had since divided the kingdom into factions.
Pinnick insisted that the 1979 edict which purportedly states that whoever must be the king must either be fully Itsekiri or at the least have his mother hail from Bini, is inferior to the Nigerian Constitution, which says that nobody should be discriminated against on account of the circumstances of his birth.
The Olu-designate’s mother is reportedly from Yoruba.
Speaking when he appeared on ARISE NEWS Channel, THISDAY’s broadcast arm, Pinnick who is a supporter of Emiko, maintained that the king designate would right the wrongs in the kingdom when he takes over in the next three months.
He noted that it was sacrilegious for Emami to describe the process as null and void, stressing that it was not only that the process was irreversible, majority of the entire Itsekeri nation wanted Emiko to ascend the throne of his forefathers.
“We are talking about destiny and destiny has behoved on Prince Tsola Emiko to mount that saddle of responsibility, which perhaps was erroneously denied him five years ago,” he added.
But in his argument, Emami insisted that the reported emergence of Emiko was illegal, null and void, adding that the responsibility for announcing the demise of the late king was strictly his as the prime minister.
He posited that the edict outlining the process and procedure for making public the demise of an Itsekiri monarch, vis-â-vis the selection of an Om’oba or Olu-designate has been duly gazetted, saying that there is no argument about it.
“The Olu has not joined his ancestors. As far as I am concerned, whatever was done at Ode-Itsekiri was a kangaroo process in the search for power. The person that has the right to pronounce the transition of the Olu of Warri, whenever that happens, is the Ologbotsere, which I am till this moment by the grace of God.
“Out of seven, it was only two kingmakers that were there at Ode-Itsekiri. I am urging Itsekiri, and indeed all Nigerians, to remain calm. Itsekiri will announce their king when the time comes”.