Urhobo Historical Society

A Profile of

On the Occasion of Award of Certificates of Chieftaincies
August 12, 2001
By Chief Imo Joe Otite
Ogbavwudu of Agbon

At the age of 23 years, HRH Ogurime-Rime, Okpara 1, then known as Chamberlain O. Orovwuje, ascended the throne as the Ovie of Agbon Kingdom. Now 66 years in August 2001, the Ovie is today the longest reigning monarch in Urhoboland.


Fresh from St. Thomas College, Ibusa,  the famous Teachers' Training College of colonial times, the young king did not find it easy at the early stages of his reign. However, he moved on with intelligence to unite Agbon, appointing his highest titled chiefs from rival Uhwokori, from which a claimant to the Agbon throne had emerged. Thus, the late Chief Obodo Manuwa emerged as the holder of the envied and exalted title of Otota for Ogurime-Rime, Okpara I. Chief Patrick Bolokor, also from Ukwokori, now occupies this important position.

In a brief speech on Sunday, August 12, 2001, while presenting certificates to Ekakuro and Ehovwore of his kingdom, the Ovie of Agbon was full of thanks and praises to some key personalities in Agbon, who made his transition from a young student teacher to a king less difficult.

His Royal Highness said he would forever be grateful to Chief Otite Ijedia, for his early morning visits and tutelage, which continued for over a five-year period. Chief M. G. Ejaife was also specially mentioned for his closeness and wonderful efforts during the early struggle for the throne. Chief T. E. A. Salubi was at the time the most resourceful person to him in the area of traditional governance of the Urhobo people, before and during the colonial era.

According to His Royal Highness, with these nationally and internationally great and experienced people around him, he felt sure and secure in his position. He quoted Chief Otite Ijedia, who was a Warrant Chief appointed in the twenties by the Colonial Office in London, as telling him: "Support and subsistence from the people will come to you in relays. Like a relay race, you will have a group of people coming to support you and ensure your success and well being. Before long this group will be tired and fed up and will abandon you. As they are doing this, another group will take over. This situation will continue until the first group, realizing that the institution of the Ovie is ours and cannot be abandoned, will come back. This circle will continue throughout your life time." This and other wise counsels, the Ovie said, had manifested themselves over and over again.

His Royal Highness said Chief T. E. A. Salubi, then the Commissioner for Labour for Nigeria in the 1950s, equipped him with many documents relating to the administration of Nigeria in general, and Urhoboland in particular. These covered the pre-colonial and colonial eras.

Chief (Senator) McNeal Gabriel Ejaife, the first Urhobo graduate and founding principal of Urhobo College, spent most weekends in Agbon with him, providing him both intellectual development and grooming in social behaviours and decorum.

HRH Ogurime-Rime Okpara I was thus superbly handled by great men. He has turned out to be one of the most intelligent, responsible, and respected kings in the whole of Delta State, and indeed Nigeria. He has been severally called to serve both at the Federal Government level, such as being a member of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Coal Corporation, Enugu, and at the state level, as Chairman of Bendel State Hospital Board. 

Agbon Kingdom has one of the most respected chieftiancy institutions. Membership of the Agbon Council of Chiefs is highly restricted. Until 2001, no citizen of Agbon Kingdom has been awarded a chieftiancy title. The only exception now is Her Excellency, Chief (Mrs.) Nkoyo Ibori.

Agbon Chieftiancy titles are made under and comply with Part III of the Traditional Rulers, Council and Chiefs Law, 1998 (Laws of Nigeria). Once conferred with their titles, all chiefs of Agbon Kingdom are gazetted by the Delta State Government. Thereafter, certificates are issued.


On August 12, 2001, HRH Ogurime-Rime, Okpara 1 J.P., Ovie of Agbon, presented certificates to more than 30 of his chiefs. The brief ceremony took place in the Ovie's palace at Okpara Inland, in Ethiope East LGA, Delta State.

Below are the Chieftaincy titles in Agbon Kingdom categorized in the order of awards:

(1) Ohovwore 3rd rank
(2) Okakuro (Olorogun) 2nd rank
(3) Honourary Title Holders 1st and highest rank

Any of these three titles may be conferred men. Women may only receive the 3rd rank and, in especial cases, an honorary title.