The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, on Wednesday said the National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress, Gani Adams, was chosen as the new Are Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland after considering his antecedents as a Yorubaman who had exhibited passion for defending his people, their culture and tradition.
The Alaafin on Sunday issued a letter of appointment to the OPC coordinator as the Yoruba generalissimo, thereby succeeding the late MKO Abiola, who was the last person to occupy the position.
While reacting to the criticisms of the choice of Adams, the monarch explained that Adams might not possess the wealth and philanthropic strength of the late Abiola, but he was courageous and bold whenever he stepped forward to defend the Yoruba race.
He said, “The choice of Adams was well thought out before a decision was taken. You may not place him beside Abiola in terms of wealth and other great achievements of the former Are Ona Kakanfos among the Yoruba people and beyond, but Adams has shown enough charisma to deserve the honour.
“If you have been observing him in the past many years, Adams attends all Yoruba festivals, irrespective of where they are held. He also promotes our culture through so many means including his annual Olokun festival.
“I picked him because he loves the Yoruba race and all the culture and tradition of our people. He has contributed immensely to upholding them. Whenever he attends these festivals, he goes with a large entourage and financially, he is always responsible for the cost. He does not attend in order to benefit financially.
“He may be young but he is also very bold and courageous. These are traits synonymous with an Are Ona Kakanfo. Adams is a Yoruba cultural enthusiast. He defends the race anywhere he goes. Among his strengths is that he has strong supporters in every town in Yorubaland through his Oodua Peoples Congress.”
The Alaafin said the OPC boss did not pay him anything to be made the Are Ona Kakanfo, adding that wealth was not a requirement for the office.
“Money or material wealth is not considered before choosing an Are Ona Kakanfo. Abiola promoted everything that had to do with Yoruba race. He was popular among his people and he was close to traditional rulers. So, Adams may not be as rich as Abiola but I can tell you he has all the qualities an Aare Ona Kakanfo should possess. He leads an organisation that is ever ready to defend the cause of the Yoruba race. Is there any Yorubaman that has such clout as Adams without being a politician today?” said the monarch.
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has said Adams’ appointment as the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland is putting a round peg in a round hole.
Fayose said he had no doubt that the “cap fits Adams” going by the pedigree of the recipient of the prestigious title.
According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, the governor stated this in a message to congratulate Adams on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti.
Fayose said, “In Yoruba tradition, before a person is conferred with a chieftaincy title, he must have certain leadership qualities and the title of the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland is for that bold, courageous, exemplary man who burns with the zeal to defend our land and protect her interest. All these are not lacking in the character of Otunba Gani Adams.
“I also congratulate Iku Baba Yeye, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, for making the right choice and being able to fill the vacancy that existed for nearly two decades after the demise of Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.”
Governor Fayose enjoined all Yoruba sons and daughters, both home and in the Diaspora, to support the new Aare Ona Kakanfo and defend and promote the interest of their race.
He wished the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo a fruitful and successful tenure.