Posted by News Express | 13 January 2018 | 2,086 times
All roads lead to the ancient city of Ibadan, capital of Oyo State, today, Saturday, January 12, 2013, as the leader of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams, is installed as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo (Generalissimo) of Yorubaland by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi.
This is a milestone in the life of Adams, who started as a pro-democracy activist and turned leader of OPC. He was a part of the post-democracy movement in the 90s, as he served as the Public Relations Officer of Mushin Local Government chapter of the Campaign for Democracy (CD) in 1993. He is a foundation member of the OPC, a Yoruba nationalist organisation. He was the first deputy national coordinator and currently the national coordinator of the group. In 2000, under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Adams was declared wanted by the police authorities for the alleged murder of Mr Afolabi Amao, a divisional police officer at the Bariga police station in Lagos. He was also accused of being behind the series of attacks carried out by members of the OPC in Lagos and other parts of the southwest. A year after he was declared wanted, Adams was arrested, paraded like a criminal and held in prisons. He was however released.
Likening his imprisonment to that of Nelson Mandela and Obafemi Awolowo, who were both political prisoners, Adams in 2015 said his offence was fighting for the interest of the Yoruba. Adams said his arrest and subsequent treatment by the police during the Obasanjo regime brought him to stardom. “I thank the former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mike Okiro, for declaring me wanted and subsequent arrest, because it turned out to be a blessing for me”, the OPC leader said.
Born on April, 30, 1970, at Arigidi-Akoko, the present Akoko north-west local government area of Ondo State, Adams started his education at the Army Children School, Oturkpo, Benue State, before his father moved to Lagos, where he completed his primary education at Municipal Primary School, Surulere, in 1980.
He attended Ansar-Ud-Deen Secondary School, Randle Avenue, Surulere, and later went to train in furniture making and interior decoration, which he completed in 1987. Upon completion, he was employed by an Italian construction company , Visinoni Stabilini, Apapa, Lagos. He later resigned to start his own business.
Perhaps, to hush critics who tagged him an illiterate, Adams obtained diplomas at the International Aviation School, Ghana, and the Lagos State University (LASU).
A chequered past
Since his selection was announced by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, a great deal of criticism came the way of the monarch’s choice. The criticism stemmed from Adams’ murky past and role in the reportedly violent OPC operations in the southwest. The critics say he lacks the refinement and pedigree to man the title of Aare Ona Kakanfo.
Explaining the rationale behind his decision on selection of Adams, however, the Alaafin said he was selected for his contributions to the promotion of the Yoruba culture. According to the monarch, the new generalissimo of Yorubaland possesses “three virtues” important to the Yoruba. Manliness, courage and patriotic zeal (not political ambition or opportunism) were the three virtues respected in Yoruba land, he said.
Apparently reacting to criticism over his choice, Adams said he was a fighter, worthy of being Aare Ona Kakanfo. “I never lobbied to become the Aare. When people felt I should be the next one, I had to consult widely, both intellectually and spiritually. I am a fighter. We must understand that death is a product of God. I have been fighting for many years and will work to promote the Yoruba agenda.
“The myth that all the Aare Ona Kakanfo ended in tragedy is not true. We shouldn’t allow such a myth to cast a shadow on the good office of the Aare Ona Kakanfo. The title is not a death knell for anybody chosen as the Aare. I am going to be a bridge-builder and promote the unity of Yoruba land. I will reach out to the people who will help to move the Yoruba race.
“My new position will moderate my radicalism, but it will not make me to compromise my principles. Let me also mention that the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi was always referring to me as generalissimo; I never paid much attention to it”.
The following is the list of the past 14 Aare Ona Kakanfo that had been: Kokoro Igangan from Iwoye-Ketu; Oyatope also from Iwoye; Oyabi (Ajase), Adeta (Jabata), Oku (Jabata), Afonja (Ilorin), Toyeje (Ogbomoso) Edun (Gbogan), Amepo (Abemo), Kurumi (Ijaye), Ojo Aburumaku (son of Toyeje of Ogbomoso), Latoosa (Ibadan), Ladoke Akintola (Ogbomoso) and Moshood Abiola (Abeokuta).
•Partly based on a report by The Nation.
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