The succession crisis rocking the Warri Kingdom in Delta State took a dramatic twist over the weekend after the 400-year-old crown and symbol of the Itsekiri monarchy was declared missing.
Reports of the missing crown made waves after some interested parties in the succession battle invaded the palace (Aghofe) in the Warri metropolis.
The development was confirmed to The Nation by a high ranking chief and other members of the Itsekiri royal family.
“It is true, the crown has been taken away from the palace. We do not know who is responsible for this unfortunate activity. What I can tell you is that it is nowhere to be found in the palace,” a member of the Ginuwa I Ruling House told our reporter in a telephone chat.
However, other sources said efforts were being made to retrieve it.
The Nation further reports that the missing crown was first worn by Ogiame Atuwatse (Dom Domingos) who reigned from 1625 to 1643, and it was said to be a parting gift from the King of Portugal after Dom Domingos completed his education in the European country in 1611.
According to reports, the kingmakers consulted a fresh Ife (oracle) and confirmed Prince Tsola Emiko as the chosen Olu-elect (Omoba) on Wednesday in Warri.
Prince Tsola Emiko has already been presented to a reconstituted Ojoye-Isan by the Olori-Ebi (administrative head of the ruling house) by Prince Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh.
The reconstitution of the Ojoye-Isan, comprising the Ologbotsere, Uwangue, Iyatsere, the Ojomo (Chief Yahaya Pessu), was done after the Chief Ayiri Emami-led group of chiefs disqualified Prince Tsola Emiko, in line with the 1979 Edict.
The Iyatsere of Warri, Chief Johnson Atserunleghe, was subsequently elevated to take over the responsibilities of Ologbotsere in the search for a new Olu.
Sources confirmed to The Nation that the Omoba would be presented to the Itsekiri General Assembly on Monday, April 5 at Ode-Itsekiri (Big Warri).
This development, however, may be hampered by the missing crown.