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A Modern Successor for One of Africa’s Oldest Nations

The coronation of a new monarch in the oil-rich Delta region has sparked a resurgence in royalty, tradition and ancestry among some young Nigerians. Thousands thronged the streets and dignitaries, and well-wishers flew in from around the world as the Itsekiri people of Iwere Kingdom in Delta state crowned a new king, Ogiame Atuwatse III. Born Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko, the 37-year-old is the 21st Olu of Warri to ascend the throne and one of the youngest to do so. In a wide-ranging speech, he called for the region to look “beyond oil and gas.” The Olu of Warri also pledged that woman would be given agency to play an active role in the community. “We will ensure that women, both old and young, honored and respected not only by word, but in actual cultural practice. So, I say to our women today, you will no longer be invisible.” Notable leaders including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Ooni of Ife, the king of Ile-Ife in Southwest Nigeria, were present at the ceremony to pay homage to the Olu of Warri at Ode-Itsekiri, the ancestral home of the Itsekiris.