By Richard Mammah
Navy Commodore Omatseye Oritseweyinmi Nesiama, retd served on the Security Committee for the coronation of the 21st Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III, that took place in the Niger Delta city recently. He spoke with Pan African Visions on the outcome and his expectations going forward.
You were personally involved in the process leading to the coronation of the Olu. How do you feel now?
I feel very proud and fulfilled, more so for the glamour the event attracted and the successes recorded.
Give us your feel of the Olu's inaugural address. Did it speak to what would be considered as the issues?
The inaugural address can be adjudged as world-class, bringing out more than enough positive talking points. So far, one has not gotten any negative comment emanating from the address. The address was rich in content. It brought out a link between history, present and the future. It linked the spiritual to the physical. It was able to fuse religion, culture, politics in such a way as to find relevance in the affairs of men. It reflected gender sensitivity. Interestingly also, it was very well delivered in a most convincing manner leaving no one in any doubt of the power thrust of a true leader of relevance to the current times. Finally, it brought out ‘food for thought’ not only for the Itsekiri people but also for Nigeria and indeed Africa.
From your knowledge of the Warri Kingdom, what do you think are three growth areas the monarch should focus on going forward?
First for me would be establishing think tanks that would⁵ research into key areas of education, agriculture and infrastructural development. Second would be addressing the reconciliation of belligerent groups and third would be encouraging entrepreneurial development.
The Olu also stretched a hand of fellowship to the neighbours of the Itsekiris in his address. What do you expect here?
That is the way to go. By so doing, he has presented a hand of fellowship to all in the interest of the collective interest of all.
The Itsekiri monarchy is an ancient throne that is even older than the formal Nigerian nation. What role do you see for the Olu on the national stage at a time like this?
The Olu, Ogiame Atuwatse III knows what to do, to a very large extent and his inaugural address attests to this in my personal view. If I'm asked to suggest, I would say he should focus more on the advisory role that First-Class Kings are known for.
On one hand, the Olu spoke of healing and forgiveness and on another he spoke of empowering women and youth and diversifying beyond oil or a focus on a single product economy. Should Nigerian and African leaders adopt such paradigms overall?
Of necessity, Nigerian and African leaders have great lessons to learn from here.
Finally, against the backdrop of the acrimony over the initial selection of the Olu and now the successful coronation, how do you feel as an Itsekiri. What would you say to those who were originally opposed to the Olu's emergence?
Again, I'm very proud as an Itsekiri. I call on the belligerent groups to sheathe their swords and accept the counsel on the need to toe the part of reconciliation as quickly as is reasonably possible.