Ogiame Atuwatse III is one of Nigeria’s foremost monarchs, famed as the 21st Olu of Warri. He was born with the real name, Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko on April 2, 1984, and is currently 39 years old.
The Olu’s place in Nigeria’s royalty has been of great significance as it helps in sustaining the cultures and traditions of the Warri people and in a larger light, Nigeria. Beyond this, he has also made a difference through several career paths, including working for Shell Nigeria Closed Pension Fund Administrator (SNCPFA) and Sahara Energy. He is a top business executive and is a founder of Noble Nigeria Ltd. and Coral Curator.
The Olu of Warri is the Son of a Warri King and Ife Princess
The Warri king was born Utieyinoritsola “Tsola” Emiko on April 2, 1984. He was born to parents who have a long lineage in royalty. His father was Olu Atuwase II (born Godwin Toritseju Emiko), the Olu of Warri from 1987 to 2015. At the time of his birth, however, his father was still a prince.
Emiko’s paternal ancestors have ruled Warri for centuries, with his grandfather being Erejuwa II (who ruled from 1966 to 1986). His other ancestors are Olu Ginuwa II (ruled from 1936 to 1949), Olu Ginuwa (first Olu of Warri), and Oba Ewuare the Great (King of Benin from 1440 to 1473).
Looking at his royalty through his mother, Queen Gladys Durorike Emiko, he is a descendant of the royal family of Ife. He is the great-great-grandson of the 46th Ooni of Ife, Adelekan Olubuse. In a broader sense, he is a descendant of legendary Yoruba leaders, Oduduwa and Oranmiyan.
Ogiame Atuwatse III’s Education
The Olu of Warri attended different schools starting from a very young age. For his primary education, he went to Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Primary School in Warri before moving to Adesoye College in Offa, Kwara State in 1995 for his secondary education. The traditional ruler graduated from the school in 2001.
In his later years, the Ewuare descendant moved to the United States where he attended Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. In the prestigious school which was established in 1826, the Olu of Warri obtained a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in International Studies and Political Science with a minor in History and Economics.
The Warri king did not only stop at earning a Bachelor’s Degree. Instead, he earned a Master of Science Degree in Management in 2007 at the time he was 23 at the same Case Western Reserve University.
This same school is known for graduating notable people such as the developer and creator of Gmail, Craig Newmark; founder of Craiglist, Peter Tippet; the first American scientist to win the Nobel Prize, Albert A Michelson; and the man who discovered insulin, John J.R Macleod.
In 2008 at age 24, Emiko returned to Nigeria and went for mandatory service through the National Youth Service Corps scheme. At the time, he served in the Public Affairs Department of the National Petroleum Management Services.
The Olu of Warri has Worked with Companies Such as Shell Nigeria
Ogiame Atuwatse III started his professional career after his national service year. He became an officer at the Shell Nigeria Closed Pension Fund Administrator. Following that, he became a Government Relations Officer at Sahara Energy.
In the progression of time, Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko took different routes with respect to his career. He is the Chairman of Ocean Marine Security Limited and also a Director of companies such as Gulf of Guinea Limited and Vessel Linj Big Limited.
Knowing there was more for him to give with respect to his career, the Warri King explored the path of entrepreneurship. He is the founder of Noble Nigeria Limited and Coral Curator Limited.
He Became the King of Warri in 2021
Utieyinoritsola “Tsola” Emiko was crowned the Olu of Warri at the age of 37 in 2021 and following the death of Ogaime Ikenwoli I in 2020. Several notable people from Nigeria and beyond were in attendance to witness the ascension of the new Itsekiri king.
Among the present politicians include Idris Wase, Atiku Bagudu, Emmanuel Uduaghan, and Ovie Omo-Agege. Also, traditional leaders that were present include the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Oba of Onitsha – Alfred Achebe, Aare Ona Kankafo of Yorubaland – Gani Adams.
While the coronation was elaborate and successful, it was met with numerous controversies. One of those includes the fact that there was already a standing custom that an Olu of Warri’s mother must either be from the Itsekiri or Benin Kingdoms. As such, since Emiko’s mother hails from Ife in Osun State, some deemed him ineligible for the crown of Warri.
This opposition came from many Itsekiri natives, including the Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom named Chief Ayirimi Emami.
Another huddle that the coronation faced was the disappearance of the crown of the Kingdom. This crown has lasted 400 years but was reported missing only a few days before the coronation.
While there were those who objected to the coronation due to the absence of the monarch’s symbol of authority, others pointed out that there were other crowns to serve the same purpose.
In any case, the monarch passed through several traditional rites to become the king of Warri. One of the many rites was having 21 swords to select from.
Among these swords, 20 carried the names of all his predecessors while only one had no name. Tradition demands that he would inherit any name on the sword he picks. However, if he picked a blank one, he would select any name of his choice to use during his reign.
Other traditional rites that he had to pass through were splitting wood with an axe, fetching water in a clay pot, and paddling a canoe.
Upon his coronation, Emiko became one of the most significant and influential first-class traditional rulers in Nigeria. He also made history as one of the youngest kings in Nigeria and also the first king of the Warri Kingdom to have a mother who is neither from Itsekiri nor Benin.
What Is Olu of Warri’s Net Worth?
Olu of Warri is worth an estimated $5 million to $10 million (about 2.3 to 4.6 billion Naira). With this, he is considered one of the richest kings in Nigeria. He made his wealth from different sources, including his place as a first-class traditional king of one of Nigeria’s richest and most notable towns, Warri. He has also recorded his wealth through his initial jobs with several companies, as well as through his businesses.
While his exact earning may remain sketchy, it is a known fact that the highest place of royalty in Nigeria is to be a first-class king. Also, this title is accompanied by a salary which, according to sources, may be as low as ₦300,000 and as high as ₦3 million. This salary is only an estimation and is often accompanied by other allowances.
From his initial job as an officer at Shell Nigeria Closed Pension Fund Administrator (SNCPFA) Ltd. and Sahara Energy, it is noted that his salary will be nothing less than ₦100,000. It is worth of note that Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies that is also known to be one of the highest-paying companies in Nigeria.
In a similar way, Sahara Energy is also another international energy infrastructure conglomerate that is known for paying high salaries in Nigeria and the other 37 countries where it operates.
What Cars Does Olu of Warri Drive?
Ogiame Atuwatse III has a fleet of luxurious cars to his name. Although many sources have reported only two cars, a thorough search has shown that the Olu of Warri has at least five expensive cars. These cars include SUVs, Crossovers, Coupe, and other luxury cars.
While the king may not have given a complete insight into his cars, numerous posts on his verified Instagram page have shown these cars in convoys while others conveyed the monarch.
Here is a list of some of these cars and their prices
- Olu of Warri owns a Customized 2021 Rolls Royce: This luxury car is reportedly worth around ₦176 million. On different occasions, the king posted both black and white Rolls Royce cars. Hence, it is safe to say that he owns two of the brands. These cars are some of the most expensive cars of the king, and based on internet sources, he bought one of them in 2021 ahead of his historical coronation.
- The Olu of Warri Owns a Bentley Continental Sedan: In 2021 also, Ogiame Atuwatse III was said to have added a Bentley Continental Sedan worth ₦100 million naira. Other brands of cars, as displayed by the monarch, include a Mercedez Benz car and a Toyota SUV car.
Does Olu of Warri Have a Private Jet?
While it remains unverified, there are internet sources that claim that the Olu of Warri purchased a golden-colored private jet in 2021 ahead of his coronation.
Some of these reports claim that the jet is worth about ₦3.8 billion Naira. If, indeed, the monarch owns a jet, the cost of maintenance is high in Nigeria. Jet owners obtain insurance policies valued around ₦3.9 million to as high as ₦50 million depending on the type of jet one owns.
Also, the monarch may spend on fuel, hanger space (₦3,000-₦8,000 per hour), pilots, and crew members. In addition, there are other maintenance costs that include pre and post-flight checks, weekly inspections, and software checks which can also be costly.
Looking at the aspect that the Olu of Warri may not necessarily own a jet, it is common knowledge that the king is no stranger to boarding private jets. Flying private in Nigeria is expensive and is mostly charged per hour and depends on the size of the jet – whether small, large, or ultra-long-range jets. Also, the cost of using one depends on whether one is flying domestically or internationally.
The Olu of Warri is a Known Philanthropist
He Spends Millions on The Olu of Warri Tech Challenge
From the Warri King’s pool of wealth, he gives back to society through the Olu of Warri Tech Challenge.
This challenge is usually open to great minds and talents from or residing in Warri and its environs. These candidates must be between the ages of 18 to 35 years and must be enthusiastic about tech advancement and emerging digital solutions.
Taking it to monetary value, the challenge offers ₦1 million to the winner while other consolation prizes are also given.
He Empowered 1,000 People With More than ₦15 Million in 2022
The Olu of Warri has been dubbed a “monarch with the heart of empowerment” by Vanguard. This was after he empowered 1,000 people in his kingdom with Point of Sale (POS) machines in 2022. This was in order to create jobs and bridge the gaps created by the lack of banks, especially in rural areas.
While the exact amount that he may have spent on this empowerment may be difficult to pin, reports have suggested that POS machines in Nigeria cost nothing less than ₦15,000.
With this in mind, the king may have spent nothing less than ₦15 million on only one of the empowerment. Also, in a different POS empowerment program, he may have spent about ₦150 million (if judging based on the initial speculation that a POS machine costs ₦15,000).
He also Co-founded and Funds The Royal Iwere Foundation
The Royal Iwere Foundation, a Non-Governmental Foundation, was co-founded by the Olu of Warri. The foundation is saddled with creating better lives for people within and outside his community.
So far, the king, through the foundation, has spent millions of naira on relief materials, skill acquisitions, and empowerment, among other notable things. In 2022, the foundation, with the contribution of the Warri King, assisted people and communities affected by a flood that killed over 600 people and displaced no fewer than 1.2 million people in different parts of Nigeria.
In March 2023, it was revealed that the Monarch and his wife, Olori Ivie Atuwatse III, gave the nod for about 50 people to benefit from a skill acquisition through the Royal Iwere Foundation.