The Warri Council in Delta State may have begun the search for a successor to the throne despite the traditional council’s denial of the Ogiame Atuwatse II’s demise.
Although details of how the 17th king of the ancient kingdom would emerge were sketchy, sources said the kingmakers might bypass Crown Prince Tsola Emiko, the first son of Atuwatse II.
The Itsekiri monarchy is hereditary and palace sources said the crown prince was his father’s chosen successor.
“It is true that the Ogiame has joined his ancestors, but we cannot announce it officially until certain procedures have been made and steps taken in line with the tradition and customs of the Itsekiri people.
“I can confidently tell you that we have commenced the search for a new Olu, so that when we announce his death, we can also say, ‘Long live the new king’ and that is the stage we are right now; that is the Itsekiri tradition.
“The search for a new Olu is on and I can tell you that the son of our father, king and custodian of our rich history and tradition is no longer in the race for a number of reasons, which every legitimate Itsekiri son and daughter is aware of,” the source said.
Various sources hinted that the crown prince’ disqualification might not be unconnected with his mother not being from areas earmarked to produce queen mothers.
“Only princes born by an Itsekiri or Bini queen can become Olu,” another source said.
An aged source explained that the law relating to the emergence of an Olu stipulated that he must not only be from the royal family, but must be born by either an Itsekiri or Bini mother.