From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Otunba Gani Adams was yesterday installed as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III at Durba Stadium, ancient Oyo town, Oyo State.
Adams, who had been in seclusion since Wednesday evening till Saturday morning undergoing traditional rites, came to the venue of the swearing-in in white attire with a white cap, white pairs of shoes, red royal beads on neck and eyeglasses to match.
He arrived in company with his entourage to the warm embrace of monarchs from different parts of Yorubaland, including the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso I, Deji of Akure and Timi of Ede, among others.
The installation ceremony kicked-off at 2p.m with the arrival of the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
Following the initiation process, Alaafin pronounced Adams as Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland and subsequently presented him with a staff symbolising the power of Sango (the god of thunder). Thereafter, gunshots rent the atmosphere at regular interval.
Alaafin later led the new Aare Ona Kakanfo to an enclave, where he was made to carry some white calabashes. As he carried each calabash, he pronounced blessings on the Yoruba race. And on each occasion, he mentioned the names of his predecessors from the first Aare Ona Kakanfo, Kokoro Ngangan of Iwoye Cotonou, to the last holder of the title, the late M.K.O. Abiola.
This was in the presence of other monarchs in attendance who assisted Alaafin to perform the initiation rites on Adams, which journalists were not allowed to cover.
Adams, in his acceptance speech, said the promotion of Yoruba culture and unity of Yoruba race would be his priority, promising to launch Aare Ona Kakanfo Foundation any time soon. He also used the occasion to call on the Federal Government to attend to uncompleted federal roads in the South West, which include Ibadan-Ilorin Expressway, Lagos-Badagry Road, and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
In his own remarks, Alaafin of Oyo stated that Adams was the right person for the title, adding that the ancestors had been appeased to ensure that the current holder of the title does not die in mysterious circumstances. “We want him to ensure unity among the Yoruba people at home and in the diaspora. He should use his office to advance the cause of Yoruba nation,” he stated
The Eze Ndigbo of Ikeja, Lagos and Vice President of Eze Ndigbo in the Diaspora, Eze Uche Dimgba, also led a team of the Igbo monarchs in the Diaspora to the ceremony. He tasked Adams on the unity of Yorubaland and the entire southern part of Nigeria as well as the country as a whole.
Security personnel had a hectic time managing the crowd. Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, was represented by the Commissioner of Information, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan. Secretary to Osun State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti stood in for Governor Rauf Aregbesola, while the Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Mr. Suraj Adekambi, came on behalf of Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State was represented by his deputy, Mr. Agboola Ajayi. Other eminent personalities in attendance included former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala; ex-governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko; Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo; a legal luminary, Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN) and Ifayemi Elebuibon. Chairman, Installation Committee, Most Revd Ayo Ladigbolu, a retired Archbishop of Methodist Church, Nigeria, stressed the need to address the influence of foreign ideas on Yoruba culture and values, warning that “we will suddenly discover an erosion of our values and heritage.”