Prominent Itsekiri leader and current Board Chairman of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Hon Michael Diden popularly known as Ejele, has described as illegal the process that threw up Prince Tsola Emiko as the Olu of Warri-designate.
Tsola is being projected as potential successor of the 20th Warri monarch, His Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli who joined his ancestors in December 2020.
Hon Diden who is also the founder and Pastor of a popular Church in Sapele spoke during a brief chat with newsmen after commiserating with a traditional ruler from the Delta Central Senatorial district who recently lost his son, even as he berated the Ginuwa I Ruling House for its purported suspension of Chief Ayiri Emami as the Ologbotsere of Warri.
Speaking on the purported suspension of the Ologbotsere of Warri, Hon Diden said, “to me, the suspension itself is null and void. There is an adage in every community that says it is the man that can give that can take. Ologbotsere belongs to one group in the Palace and the other group in the Palace are the Princes group. The Prince cannot suspend the Chief, while the Chief too cannot suspend the Prince. I am an Itsekiri man. I am not an Igbo man. In Warri Kingdom, the Igbos have their own meeting and I don’t belong to that association at all. Is it possible for the Igbo people that I am not in their association to suspend me? That is the case of Warri Kingdom. That is the case of Ologbotsere, the Chiefs and the Princes. So, I am against the suspension because it is illegal, null and void. They don’t have the capacity to do so.”
On his relationship with Omoba Tsola Emiko, Hon Ejele said, “everything about Tsola is illegal, illegal, illegal. My relationship with him is like a father and son and a co Prince in Warri Kingdom. That’s my relationship with him,” even as he emphasized further that the process that threw up Prince Tsola Emiko as the Olu-designate is illegal. “They have turned the Itsekiri tradition upside down,” he declared.
On the issue of his name being among those published as members of various planning committees for the coronation of Prince Emiko as the 21st Olu of Warri, Hon Ejele said, “I wanted to sue them for five hundred million naira if not for Mofe who came to beg me that I should allow the sleeping dog lie. I cannot be in the left and at the same time be in the right. I told you that that food they are cooking there is a forbidden food so, there is no need for me to shear in the food. So, I am not among them. I am not in their Committee. Those people who put my name are also illegal people. They illegally smuggled my name into their list without even talking to me.”
On the issue of the alleged bypassing of the succession Edict by the Ginuwa I Ruling House, Hon Ejele who is also an Evangelist maintained that the Itsekiri people have a law for putting an Olu on the throne. “My own duty as an Itsekiri man is not to support anybody to become the Olu but it is to support the law. My believe is that when you do things rightly, we will enjoy the benefits of the throne but if we wrongly do it, we will suffer and you can see for yourself what is happening,” he stated.
When asked to advise the Itsekiri nation at critical moments like this, Hon Ejele said, “when you are driving a vehicle, you cannot accelerate the vehicle through reverse. When you are driving to Asaba and you need to meet up with time, you accelerate the vehicle. But when you meet armed robbers on the way, what do you do? You reverse. My advise to them is that they should reverse immediately, if they want the Kingdom and if they are not envisaging any calamity but me I know that calamity is coming so that’s why I don’t want to use my hands at all at all. Have you ever seen anywhere in this world that a man has two sons to represent him on earth, the man died, the children were not told, they just came to steal their father and went to bury him? Have you ever seen it in this world? He has two grown up sons that are still existing. They are in the Kingdom. No discussions at all with them. They stole their father and went ahead to bury him. They cannot even attest to where their father is buried. They were not given an opportunity to mourn their father. And you are saying what they are doing is right?”
On the congratulatory messages sent to the Itsekiri by President Mohammadu Buhari, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and many other Nigerians, Hon Ejele said it makes no difference. Said he, “it doesn’t matter. They are not Itsekiri. Let me tell you, I was the one who facilitated that meeting for them to see the Governor. I met the Governor and told him we don’t want to go and fight anybody because we cannot help the gods and God Himself to fight their fight. I am all for peace and this can only be achieved by following the law.”