After four days of protest over his decision to renounce the title Ogiame, the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwase II, has bowed to the wishes of his subjects.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the Itsekiri monarch on Tuesday succumbed to his subjects’ demand not to renounce the title when tension heightened around his palace.
Atuwase II had allegedly planned to relinquish the traditional title of Ogiame for a yet to be disclosed title, but the decision did not go down well with the Itsekiri people.
The Olu of Warri, who claimed the title Ogiame was associated with the “Sea goddess,” said he had nothing to do with the deity.
The Itsekiri people began the protest on September 7 by besieging the Atuwase II’s palace to press home their demand that the monarch should rescind his decision.
Some Itsekiri women had planned to stage a protest on Tuesday afternoon at the king’s palace, but Atuwase II rescinded his decision soon after this protest started.
A statement issued by 22 palace chiefs at the height of the protest, criticised the decision of the monarch to renounce the Ogiame title.
The statement, read by one of the chiefs, Mrs. Rita Lori-Ogbebor, noted that Ogiame had nothing to do with the worship of any deity.
“In Warri Kingdom, there are Christians, Muslims and pagans,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Itsekiri people and the chiefs had pledged their unalloyed loyalty to their king for “toeing the part of honour by deciding not to renounce his title.”
The early morning protest by thousands of men, women and youths of Itsekiri stock against the Olu of Warri’s decision to renounce his Ogiame traditional title forced the monarch to change his mind.
Reports said the protesters defied the early morning rain and marched through the streets, insisting that the monarch could not renounce his Ogiame traditional title which he chose when he was crowned the Olu of Warri in the 80s because of his new found Christian faith.
On September 4, the Olu of Warri had renou nced the Ogiame (King of all Water gods and goddesses) title on the grounds that it was not in consonance with his Christian faith.
The people however insisted that the traditional ruler must abdicated the throne if he renounce the Ogiame title. PUNCH