Julius Rone is a man after my heart. He had supported my play Ibiom without even knowing me. My brother Raymond Abia had mentioned me and he immediately supported me.
So when I decided to do Ogiame, he was the second person I reached. As usual, he didn’t hesitate. I met him at Chief Ibori’s House and with Amaju Pinnick the influential football honcho, there and then said, ‘ Edgar let’s do this.
So when the time came to reach the highly respected Olu of Warri it was the same Julius Rone I turned to. He said, ‘let me call you back
In five minutes we got the date. I called Scot our Producer in Warri and he reconfirmed the date and timing.
Quickly I built a powerful Team with Evans Jakpa-Johns, my Co-Executive Producer, Austin Ebose MD Anchor, Theo John Phillips MD Goldfire, My brother Ejiro Eghagha, Goke Iyiola my brother, and O’Neal a great Itsekiri son.
We landed Warri this morning and got ourselves ready for the visit. We drove straight to the highly respected Chief Mene Brown, who was to lead and guide us on the visit.
It was time to access the Palace. The Olu had sent a message; he would meet us at the Palace.
The Palace was obviously beautiful and spacious. It had an air of royalty and made you start to respect yourselves.
We were taken through the processes and rushed into the expansive inner court of the Olu of Warri as his convoy approached us.
The room was regal. Well designed with a stupendously beautiful ambiance. The throne was something else; you need to see it to understand and appreciate it.
They told us what to do when Olu walked in, and then the door opened, my mouth opened
He was handsome. Very handsome. Skin like milk, tall and elegant. An Adonis, a beauty of a man and his kingly robes, added to the allure of power but soft power that didn’t make you fear but made you tremble with bursting pride.
We introduced ourselves one after the other, and the room started to get tight. Tears started coming out of my eyes as Ejiro spoke passionately of his lineage.
Evans broke the ice with a beautiful welcome speech, and MD Anchor, being the salesman he is, killed out with his speech and his suit.
Then, the Duke stood up, opened his mouth, and welcomed himself to Itsekiri land. He told the Olu about his love for the Itsekiri culture strengthened by his colorful coronation.
The Duke continued by taking the Olu that this play will involve over 100 Itsekiri youths, and about 1m people will see the play globally.
He begged the Olu to kindly thank Julius Rone, Dr. Awosika, Dere Otubu, Sholaye Jeremi, and Amaju Pinnick, amongst others who have made it possible to drop the biggest ever stage production in the Niger Delta.
It was time for the Olu to talk. His deliberateness was engaging. The way he carried himself was like a well-tuned movie. He was majestic and imbued with charisma and God was he fine?
He called out Scott. He told us the history of Scott’s grandfather and how he saw his grandmother’s face on Scots face.
But before then, he asked the Duke, why Shomolu. The Duke explained why the Duke of Shomolu and he smiled.
He thanked the crew and confirmed that he would attend the show while talking about the rich heritage of Itsekiri land.
He later asked us to take individual pictures with him, which was very gracious of him, and we presented our gifts, and the event was over.
As we filed out, we remained in awe of the Itsekiri court. The show of tradition, the discipline, and the high respect accorded the throne all made up of an experience of a lifetime.
As I came out, I ran to go and pee. The thing had almost killed me inside there, but I was ready to take the pain and watch very carefully this fine Monarch as he mesmerized us with his untainted aura
This was a sweet encounter, one I will never forget in my life, and I have sent a message to William Benson, the writer, and director of the play, that this will be a massive one so he had better put up his A-game.
Like the Olu said, ‘ this is about my grandfather and I will be watching with a keen eye’
Ogiame Erejuwa ll will play Warri on the 18th and 19th of April at Brownhill Coliseum, and it’s FREE
Duke of Shomolu