Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, has explained why his boss knelt before His Royal Highness Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko, who was crowned the 21st Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III, on Saturday.
Obasanjo, 84, travelled to the ancient Iwere Kingdom, which is the ancestral home of the Itsekiri in the Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State, on Sunday morning, according to Akinyemi, to pay tribute to the freshly coronated 37-year-old monarch.
This was mentioned by a media assistant in a conversation with The PUNCH on Sunday afternoon, after a viral photo of the ex-President kneeling before the king went viral.
Akinyemi referred to his boss as the “Baba (Father) of Africa,” capable of paying respect to all elevated traditional seats.
He claimed Obasanjo kneeled before the old Iwere Kingdom, which dates back over five centuries, rather than the ruler.
“He (Obasanjo) went to Warri this (Sunday) morning to pay homage to the new king. It is a traditional institution; he (Ogiame Atuwatse III) is not the one sitting down, it is the institution that is on the throne. Obasanjo is the Baba of Africa and he can pay homage to every exalted traditional seat,” Akinyemi told our correspondent on Sunday.
“It was not Baba’s first time, he also once prostrated before Gbagura,” the aide added.
The former President, who is the Jagunmolu of Egbaland, had in August 2019 attended the coronation of Oba Saburee Bakre as the Agura of Gbagura in Ago-Oka, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Obasanjo, unarguably one of the prestigious global citizens from Africa, was Nigeria’s democratically elected President between 1999 and 2007.
The former Nigerian military head of state between July 1975 and February 1976 had sat on many peace committees including those of the United Nations, African Union and Economic Community of West African States and had been instrumental to the restoration of peace in many parts of Africa including Liberia, Sudan, Ethiopia, amongst others.
The new Atuwatse III is the son of the 19th Olu Atuwatse II, Godwin Toritseju Emiko and Gladys Durorike Emiko.
Born on April 2, 1984, the new Olu, a descendant of Olu Akengbuwa, studied both in Nigeria and overseas.
He is the founder of Noble Nigeria Ltd. and Coral Curator Ltd. He is also the Chairman of Ocean Marine Security Ltd. and Director, Gulf of Guinea Ltd. and Vessel link Big. Ltd, amongst others.