Congratulations your Royal Majesty as you assumed the respected royal stool of your forbearers. How does it make you feel on a day like this?
Thank you. It’s a cocktail of emotions; there’s happiness, there’s joy, there’s caution, there’s optimism, there’s sober reflection, there’s a heavy sense of seriousness and responsibility.
There was this overwhelming acceptance of your emergence among the ruling houses and the Itsekiri’s the day you were unveiled as the Olu designate. As a father to all, how do you intend to unite all your subjects in the kingdom?
Well, that would be inspired and led by God. It will require humility and flexibility, but also decisiveness, equity, fair consideration of all the facts as well as the larger picture. And in the end, you weigh it in the balance as to how God views it through his scales of righteousness and justice.
As a young king, how prepared are you for the royal responsibility and the huge expectations from your subjects in advancing the Warri kingdom for the better?
Well, God holds times and seasons in his hands. He knew all this would happen from the foundation of time, and knew I would be this young when He would permit my emergence. And because nothing that happens to us in life is in vain, as situations and circumstances happen in my life, I learnt the best lessons I could from them, and to the best of my ability applied the lessons as I went on in life. Some were in leadership roles; some were as an employee, a friend, a sibling, a husband, a father, a team member. If you’re always receptive, no matter the situation, there are lessons to be learnt. One just has to be receptive, and one would be the better for it.
What are some of the issues dear to your heart that you intend to address in your kingdom?
Leadership; I must be a living example of what it is to be a good leader. That way when one is speaking about the abundant leadership problems in our society, it won’t be the pot calling the kettle black. There’s also an attitude and a mind-set problem because leaders don’t become as they are in isolation, they are products of the society. So, while it’s easy to point to leaders and say one thing or the other, we must also be ready to look inward and embrace the right attitude. If the attitude of leaders and followers is right, I think we would be on the right track in dealing and managing situations that come up, be it in unemployment, allocation of resources, delivery, execution of projects, and so on. Education will be key to this – formal and informal education, as well as reassessment of what values are. But as I said, one must be willing to be a living example of all that.
Lastly, do you subscribe to the clamour in certain quarters for constitutional responsibility for royal fathers?
These are delicate matters. Royal fathers and their kingdoms predate Nigeria. It’s important to address and respect foundational issues so that what one builds on can stand the rigid test that is nation building.
Royal fathers are as grassroots as they come, and are the closest to the people. A people’s sense of identity is connected to their culture and in this part of the world, as custodians of culture, royal fathers have the hearts and ears of their people. Formal recognition of the office and roles by the constitution is very well-deserved in my view.