Summary Report on Ascension and Coronation process for the Olu of Warri Kingdom

  • Itsekiri NextGen Project: 2022 Session 27 Report
  • Topic: Ascension and Coronation process for the Olu of Warri Kingdom
  • Date: Saturday 16/07/2022 
  • Volunteers Present: 4
  • Total Number of Attendees: 63
  • Timings: 9:00am – 1:00pm
  • Venue: Former Caravan 4, Aja-Pessu (Pessu Town), Warri
  • Main Topic/Activity: Ascension and Coronation process for the Olu of Warri Kingdom
  • Resource Person: Omatsola Okpeyeaghan


The 27th session of the Itsekiri NextGen project in 2022 was focused on the coronation and ascension process of Olu of Warri. This session was designed to get participants acquainted with the past Olus, the selection process of an Olu designate, and the coronation of a new Olu of Warri Kingdom.

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Session Delivery

The session began with an opening prayer by one of the participants. Mr. Emmanuel Egbe came up to do a recap on Pessu Community leadership structure, which was done in the previous session.

In line with the cultural mandate, Omatsola Okpeyeaghan took participants through the past Warri monarchs beginning with the first Olu of Warri; Ogiame Ginuwa I to the present Olu of Warri;  Ogiame Atuwatse III.

The title of each king and the period they ruled were made known to the participants.

Olu of Warri and Christianity

Some kings had baptismal names, this is due to contact with the Portuguese and introduction to Christianity. Olu Atorogboye who is the 6th Olu was also known by the name Sebastian while Atuwatse I who is the 7th Olu was known by the name Dom Domingos. Olu Abejoye who was the 10th Olu was also known by the name Luigi or Louis, the 12th Olu; Olu Omagboye was also known by the name Miguel. Olu Erejuwa I who was the 15th Olu was also known by the name Manuel Otobia while Olu Akengbuwa who was the 16th Olu was by the name Joao or John.

From the reign of Olu Atuwatse I, the royal regalia was more tilted towards a priestly regalia with a silver crown as against the beaded crown.

Announcement of the demise of and Selection of an Olu of Warri

When Olu Ikenwoli passed, an Itsekiri general assembly was called at Ode-Itsekiri where the three bars of efun were broken on the floor followed by the announcement of ale jefun. This is sequentially followed by the announcement of the Omoba (Olu designate). After which he goes for a three-month period of seclusion at Idaniken where he is prepared for the duties ahead of him as the Olu of Warri kingdom.

On the 21st day of August 2021 in the 21st century, there was a boat regatta in the Warri river with Ugbolokposo boat in front of the royal boat. They were followed by other community boats dressed colourfully enroute to ode-Itsekiri (Itsekiri ancestral home) for the coronation process of the Olu-designate to finalise his ascension process to become the 21st Olu of Warri Kingdom. 

Prior to the coronation properly, the Omoba was made to do his last chores. These are;

  • Fetching water from the stream with a clay pot.
  • Breaking firewood.
  • Paddling a canoe.

After the chores, he proceeded to choose an uda (sword) where udas of the past kings and a nameless one were laid while he was blindfolded. He chose the uda of Atuwatse which automatically made him Atuwatse III. He proceeded to the venue of the coronation where he was finally crowned as Olu Atuwatse III by the Uwangue of Warri kingdom in the midst of excited Itsekiri people and friends of the Itsekiri Nation. This was also televised live which meant a lot of people could watch the coronation from the comfort of their homes across the world. 

The session ended with a closing prayer, followed by the Itsekiri anthem.

Other key activities during the session

There was a question and answer session at the end of the presentation between the participants and the facilitator.

Some questions from the participants include;

  • Why is the name of some Kings appearing twice? (In the case of Ginuwa, Erejuwa and Atuwatse I and II).
  • Why did Atuwatse III not ascend the throne after the demise of his father Atuwatse II?

All the questions were given appropriate answers.

Some questions from the facilitator include;

  • At what date was Olu Atuwatse III crowned?
  • At what point in time did the dressing of the Olu change and what is the significant change?
  • What is the activity done in Warri on coronation day called?
  • What are the three last chores done by the Omoba before he was crowned as the Olu of Warri?

Those who got the correct answer went home with beautiful gifts.

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