Preparations are in top gear for the official installation of Otunba Gani Adams, National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland. The epoch-making event which will attract prominent personalities within and outside Nigeria will take place at Durbar Stadium, Oyo City, in Oyo State.
Since his proclamation as the Aare- Ona Kakanfo-designate by Oba Lamidi Adeyemi on October 15th, Adams, a delegate to the 2014 national conference has embarked on visits to all parts of the country soliciting their cooperation and support in his new role as the generalissimo of the Yoruba nation.
Amongst the prominent personalities he has visited include Bukola Saraki, Senate President, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, Alake of Egbaland, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun state, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state, Rt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, a former governor of Ogun state amongst others.
In turn, prominent Nigerians have also paid Adams courtesy visits at his Omole Phase II residence.
Amongst them are Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, traditional rulers, captains of industries, media houses, Leaders of Arewa youths, Igbo youths and Ijaw youths, various market leaders and several others.
Describing Adams as a rallying point for the Yoruba nation, Oba Adeyemi who said he made the right choice in pronouncing Adams as the new Aare, 15 years after the demise of the last occupant, the late Basorun MKO Abiola who died on July 7, 1998.
Speaking in an interview with INDEPENDENT shortly after his appointment, Aare Adams said the position of Aare Ona Kakanfo is no longer meant for warfare as it used to be in the ancient times. He said the position is now for a unification of the Yoruba race, a task he said he has already embarked upon.
“I have also heard about the misconception about the lifespan of the former occupants of the Aare Ona Kakanfo title. 14 people had occupied the position before my approval but I can confidently say that not all of them have a short reign or brief lifespan. Although, the position of Aare Ona Kakanfo from time immemorial is a position that involves fighting war almost on a monthly basis. As the Generalissimo, you don’t have a particular location.
“When you fight and win, you move to another location. So, it is a position that keeps you on the move and as such, you have to be prepared. But that was a period when we are not a sovereign nation. Through the amalgamation of the Southern protectorate and Northern protectorate in 1914, we now have a country”.
“We now have the Army, Airforce, Navy and Police to defend our territorial integrity and as such, the job of the Aare Ona Kakanfo is limited. Instead of fighting a war, it has now become a position of unification where the occupant is expected to unify the Yoruba race. The myth of being a warrior was broken through Ladoke Akintola. Akintola, in 1964 was a politician. He was not a warrior or activist. The title was given to him based on his position as the Premier and leader of the Western region. After that, the late Chief MKO Abiola became the Aare in 1988.
“The position has changed from that of a warrior to one of leadership since the reign of Ladoke Akintola. So, the myth that every occupant off Aare Ona Kakanfo doesn’t live long is a fallacy.
Shedding more light on the functions of the Aare Ona Kakanfo, he said: “ To me, the most important thing is that you have to believe in the cause of the Yoruba and you must be loyal to the Alaafin and all Yoruba Obas”.
“Alaafin may have the prerogative right to give you the title but it is a position of the entire Yoruba race. Our forefathers were very wise. If they said every Yoruba Obas must sign before the title is given to anyone, in hundred years, there will be a vacuum in that position because various interests will come in. But with the intelligence and wisdom of our forefathers, they gave the right and power to the Alaafin of Oyo”.
Also debunking the myth that holders of the revered title have brief lifespans, Adams said he has committed his destiny into the hands of God saying iit is only the Almighty who can determine how long a man can live.
“Life and death is controlled by God. God created death, which Yoruba called ‘Iku’. If God tells death that doesn’t go near this fellow, in hundred years, the person will still be living because death is the creation of God”.
“Definitely, as Aare Ona Kakanfo, what is required of you is to hand over your destiny and life to God and make sure that if you make God your chairman, you must also accord due respect to the directors which are our ancestors and deities” .
“At the same time, also strive to protect the interest of your people because they may be human but they are also spirit and they have their guardian angels. Ensure you don’t betray their cause. If you do that, their guardian angels will back you to last in your reign and be an achiever in whatever you do” he said.
Saraki, who has promised to lead the Senate delegation to the installation also hailed the choice of Adams, saying it was good that younger Nigerians were assuming the mantle of leadership.
““I was very delighted and glad when I read it in the news that you have been appointed as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land; your determination and commitment to the promotion of culture and tradition as well as the defence and love you have for the Yoruba race and Nigeria led you to where you are today.
Aregbesola, on his part, said, “Some of us don’t know the nativity of Gani Adams, but I know the nativity of Gani Adams. I went to secondary school where he was born. I share a lot with him and I am happy that from far away Arigidi Akoko, Gani Adams has become the generalissimo of Yorubaland, both seen and unseen native armed forces.
“When I look at the circumstances of your emergence, definitely you are worthy of this title. I salute you!”
Also in his congratulatory message to Adams, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, a former governor of Delta state said his choice as Aare is “a clear testimony of your contributions to the emancipation of the Yoruba nation”.
Speaking further, Ibori said “History tells us that courageous men who stood their ground in times of crisis to defend and provide shield to protect in times of peace for their race are usually appreciated in special order as “ Men of Honour”. Such personalities are rare. For attaining this distinguished height at this time, may abiding grace and wisdom be yours in abundance. Congratulations once again”.