The National Coordinator of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Chief Gani Adams, on Saturday, made history as he was inaugurated the 15th Aare Ona Akakanfo of Yorubaland, 558 years after the stool was created.
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, also made history on the same day by becoming the first Alaafin to install two Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland.
Oba Adeyemi installed the late Chief MKO Abiola as the 14th Aare Ona Kakanfo 30 years ago, a post the late businessman held for about 10 years.
The final installation rites which made Adams the new Generalissimo of the Yoruba race were performed by Oba Adeyemi at the Durban Stadium, Oyo. The ceremony was witnessed by the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, prominent traditional rulers from Yorubaland and outside including the Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran.
Adams succeeded the late Chief MKO Abiola, who died in custody on July 7, 1998, while fighting for the restoration of June 12, 1993 presidential election mandate which was annulled by former military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.
The title created by King Ajagbo in the 17th century, was conferred on the 47-year-old indigene of Arigidi Akoko in the Akoko North West Local Government Area of Ondo State at a ceremony attended by a large crowd of people from within and outside Nigeria.
The new Aare Ona Kakanfo is not expected to lead the Yoruba race to war but he was charged by various speakers at the event to fight the war of unity and bring all Yoruba sons and daughters together in order to develop the race.
The new Aare and the Alaafin were driven by a chariot to the venue of the installation. The chariot which was followed by a convoy of vehicles amidst chanting of ‘Iku Baba Yeye’ from the crowd who followed them, went round and acknowledged cheers from the people before the dignitaries were ushered to their seats.
Adams’s wife, Mojisola, and her daughter seated among prominent personalities on the front row which included the Oba Aromolaran and White Cap Chiefs from Lagos State.
The programme started around 1.55pm immediately the Oyo State Governor, Ajimobi, arrived at the venue.
Adams was led to the middle of the pitch which was cordoned off and partitioned by local mats and where some calabashes were placed.
The new Aare, dressed in white agbada carried the calabashes which he used to pray for the peace of Yoruba land and the entire Nigeria.
He promised to protect the interest of Yorubaland and work together with all sons and daughters of the race in order to further develop the land to an enviable height in the international circle
Adams said, “ I want to assure everyone that as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo, I will use my position, God’s willing, to protect the interest of our land.”
The Aare Ona Kakanfo promised to use his office to project the Yoruba culture and tradition by promoting and sustaining the identity of the people globally.
He added, “ The journey has started from here. And my first appeal goes to Yoruba sons and daughters who are outside the shores of the country not to forget that there is no place like home.
“This was what informed the formation of the Oodua Progressives Union, Gani Adams Foundation and Olokun Festival Foundation. Please, see Yorubaland as the place to be. Don’t give the race a bad name. Come home and invest.
“As the 15th Aare Ona Kakanafo, I consider myself lucky that there is no war at hand confronting the Yoruba race now. In other words, we are living in peace time. However, I am not pleased with the level of Yoruba unity today and I am very concerned. Therefore, my greatest priority is the unity of the Yoruba race at home and in the Diaspora.
“I will, therefore, spare no effort in ensuring the unity of Yoruba race within the contemporary Nigeria body polity.
“To take the journey further, I will, after this inauguration, launch the Aare Ona Kakanfo Foundation. This will further promote the culture of the people and document the history of the Aare Ona Kakanfo title.”
Aare Adams also appealed to the Federal Government to address the issue of power in order to boost economic activities of Nigerians and to address the problem of insecurity which is ravaging some parts of the country.
He said, “My second appeal as the Aare Ona Kakanfo goes to the Federal Government to attend to some of the major roads in Yorubaland that are critical to its citizens. These include Lagos-Ibadan, Oyo-Ilorin, Lagos-Badagry, Sagamu-Benin, Badagry-Lusada-Sokoto, Ibadan-Iwo-Osogbo, Osogbo-Ilesa, Ilesa-Akure-Owo-Lokoja and Lagos-Abeokuta.
“To our esteemed Governors in the South-West, I call for cooperation, no matter the party line. The Development Agenda for Western Nigeria Commission should be empowered. And I want you all to see me as a partner in progress.
“I offer myself for service once it is for the advancement of the Yoruba race. The various groups in the South-West should also resolve their crises.”
The Chairman, Committee for the Installation, Archbishop Emeritus, Ayo Ladigbolu, had earlier described Adams as a worthy person eminently qualified to hold the title.
Ladigbolu said the installation of Adams as the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land was part of the activities marking the 47th coronation anniversary of the first literate Alaafin of Oyo.