Yorubaland: These [Nigerian] times call for an Ààrẹ Ọ̀nàkakanfò; Aláàfin found a worthy Yoruba son in OPC’s Gani Adams – Tola Adenle

October 17, 2017

Yoruba History & Culture

The Alaafin of Ọyọ, Ikú Baba Yèyé Ọba Lamidi Adeyemi III has announced Ọ̀tunba Gani Adams as the new Aar Ọ̀nàkakanfò of Yorubaland.

Image result for images of alaafin of oyo

Ikú Baba Yèyé Ọba Lamidi Adeyemi III [Google Images]

The Aar is Yoruba’s Generalissimo which dates back centuries to the ethnic group’s period of internecine warfare, and has always been conferred on courageous, patriotic and courageous Yoruba sons by the Alaafin, the ruler of Oyo, the old powerful empire at the political center of Yorubaland.

Aar Adams will succeed Aarẹ Moshood Kaṣimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO), as he was fondly referred to) who died mysteriously after drinking “tea” in the company of  – among others – UN’s Secretary-General Kofi Anan and President Clinton’s Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, 33-year old Susan Rice (later President Obama’s Ambassador to the UN and later still, the National Security Adviser), at Abuja in 1998.

Image result for images of alaafin of oyo      Image result for images of Gani Adams

Aarẹ-Designate Gani Adams

News reports had MKO express joyful surprise at [Ghanaian] Anan’s elevation as it was the first time he got the news, having been cut off from the outside world by late General Abacha, confined to what Nigerians called “Abacha’s gulag. The presence of Anan and Rice possibly gave MKO hope about his mandate– as did millions of Nigerians – because the two were supposedly on a mission to negotiate with MKO who had played his role of Yoruba’s Generalissimo to the hilt: he had refused to surrender his mandate for anything, and Nigerians waited anxiously to see what Anan and Clinton’s representative would achieve.

After all, Clinton’s ambassador to Nigeria, the respected and well-loved by Nigeria’s progressives, especially in NADECO circle, Ambassador Walter Carrington, played a huge role in political happenings of the period. With Clinton Administration’s young African-American staffer and Africa’s own Anan aboard, there was hope by millions for MKO.

The setting must have been relaxed, and with non-military personnel Anan and Rice present, MKO must have relaxed to the point of being unguarded at that first sight of him since his detention, wedged in between Military Officer Akhigbe and Anan, smiled to the world in Nigerian newspapers.

By the time Nigerians saw that picture in newspapers, the end of the 14th Aarẹ, Alhaji Moshood Kaṣimawo lawale Abiola, was hours away, but he knew it not.

Since the death of MKO almost twenty years ago, no successor has been named until now, and I believe it would have to do with Yoruba’s belief that Aarẹ Ọ̀nàkakanfòs generally die violently in battle.

MKO did die violently, and it would not be far from the truth that he died fighting the battle that has not be won to make Nigeria a better place with Yorubaland as his political base. There were various news reports about the sudden death after drinking “Abuja tea”, and the reported state of the not-long dead body showed a rapid rate that  made one of his spouses, Dr. Doyin Abiola hysterical when she rushed to Abuja and saw the lifeless strangely-deteriorated  body.

Well, MKO’s predecessor, Aarẹ (Hon.) Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA), the last Premier of Yorubaland’s Western Region in the old three-regional set-up of Nigeria, died violently like his predecessors did in the real Yoruba war theaters of centuries back. They were all courageous men, generals who did not lead from behind as the saying goes, but met their destinies with total submission and equanimity.

Though at the time of his  premiership, SLA was hated and shunned by majority of Yoruba, he reportedly faced his death gallantly in the “theater” of what was [a sort of] Nigeria’s First War of Nationalities – and, hopefully the last – during which he reportedly exchanged high fire power with Nigerian  soldiers who had reportedly gone to arrest him during the first military coup of January 1966.  Aarẹ SLA did not surrender, and his image has seen so much rehab over the years that he now numbers among Yoruba’s very few REAL modern leaders.

Times have changed, and while Yoruba have no more fratricidal wars in their homeland, the battle for equity within the Nigerian state – an under-achieving country that has refused to grow into nationhood because of structural failure – pits many ethnic groups against the internal hegemony of the Hausa/Fulani that the British colonizers designed before independence was won.

The battle for equity will not/should not call for blood to be shed but the Yoruba need men and women of courage to lead this machete-free duel. They will need to fight it with wisdom, and the Yoruba have already spelt out their Restructure Agenda in a move that has, not unexpectedly, been opposed as “calls for separation/calls for secession” by those who have most to lose in an equitably-run Nigeria as well as their proxies in the whole of the South.


Meanwhile, reactions as well as congratulatory messages have continued to pour in for the Aarẹ-Designate, a man in his mid forties, a very young age for an Aarẹ, but Adams has been a community organizer for a long time.  He first made a name organizing the [now] much-feared Oduà though much-respected People’s Congress (OPC), a socio-cultural group that helps many communities secure their areas from armed invaders where the Nigeria Police Force has failed miserably. He also founded Odua Progressive Union which has branches in Nigeria and the Diaspora.

With proven leadership ability and the requisite courage where older people may want to blink, here’s wishing the new Aarẹ the wisdom to lead, while carrying along all Yoruba through the danger-filled route to a true federation in which all Nigeria’s federating units will have equal access to the country’s wealth and opportunities that would take the country to its fullest potential.

While congratulating the new Aarẹ, here is wishing him bountiful wisdom, a long and very useful life, and to the Yoruba, here’s hoping we’ll all cooperate with our leader. In the words of wisdom from my corner of Yorubaland:

n l’óyún àgbà s’úkù, mdé í rìn!

[An unborn child in ikù womb may prove older/wiser than a toddler after being born] OR, A little child shall lead them

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2017. 5:23 P.M. [GMT]



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