Fanfare as Ogiame and Olori Atuwatse III Holds Royal Iwere Carol and Aghofen Community-Watch Legacy Project
By Yemisi Suleiman
Over the weekend, the ancient Kingdom of Warri, Delta State was agog with colourful parades, dances, fireworks and cultural entertainment as the Monarch, His Royal Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse III and His wife, Olori Atuwatse III welcomed the world to the maiden edition of the Royal Iwere Christmas Carol and Ghigho Aghofen held at Aghofen, Warri Kingdom on Friday, December 17th and Saturday, December 18th, respectively.
The Christmas Carol was a night of high praises, traditional renditions and deep ministrations. Guests and indigenes of the Kingdom were thrilled with classic Christmas carols such as Silent Night, Once in Royal David City, The First Noel and the Halleluyah Chorus, all rendered with instruments and intonations that define the rich cultural heritage of the Warri people.
Dignitaries at the joyous occasion included: Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, C.O.N, former governor of Delta State; Founding Pastor, Word of Life Bible Church, Papa Oritsejafor; Founder, Restoring Issachar’s Generation (RIG), Apostle Tomi Arayomi, and other notable personalities who also participated in the event.
Highpoints of the event were the paying of homage by the palace chiefs, the ethereal renditions of carols by the choir, the reverberating recitation of the Itsekiri National Anthem and the spectacular fireworks display at the close of the evening from the beautifully lit Palace premises.
In a similar vein, Ghigho Aghofen (now known as the Community-Watch initiative) attracted traditional rulers, captains of industry, government officials and well-wishers from across the country and outside its shores.
Prominent dignitaries at the event were the Ohworode of Olomu Kingdom His Royal Majesty, Ovie Richard Layeguen Ogbon, Ogoni-Oghoro; Former governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, C.O.N; Senator representing Delta South Senatorial District of Delta State, James Manager; Founder, Restoring Issachar’s Generation (RIG), Apostle Tomi Arayomi, traditional rulers from across Nigeria and high ranking officials from state agencies.
The event also began with a series of cultural showcases comprising dance, music, and other spectacular traditional displays, including the ceremonial hoisting of the Ureju crested flag representing the first community to partake of the Palace’s legacy welfare project, by His Royal Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse III, to the delight of guests and indigenes alike.
In his address, His Royal Majesty described the Community-Watch initiative as the latest cultural innovation of the Kingdom.
According to Him, “Ghigho Aghofen (now Palace Watch) is a new initiative and a legacy project which forms part of our plans to establish Warri Kingdom as a centre of tourism and development in Nigeria.
Ogiame Atuwatse III cleared the air about the significance of the project. He stated that it was not about watching the Palace but about the welfare of over 200 communities. Hence the immediate change of the initiative from Palace Watch to Community Watch.
He also announced the establishment of the Royal Iwere Society, set up to coordinate and organise a central resource centre for all things Itsekiri—the history, the identity and the unique ways of the people.
High points of the grand occasion were the elegant, fashionable and rich cultural displays by the Ureju Community and other community settlers in Delta state. Representatives of the Hausa, Igbo, Ijaw and other communities were not left out as they all matched out in turns to pay homage to Ogiame Atuwatse III, praying for the peace and progress of His reign.
Since ascending the throne in August 2021, His Royal Majesty, Ogiame and Olori Atuwatse III have intensified efforts in ushering in the new Warri Kingdom characterised by socio-economic growth and opportunities for its people.