Aare Gani Adams: Changing the tide of Yoruba history, by Kehinde Aderemi

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Next Friday and Saturday- January 13 and 14, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, will be celebrating his 5th anniversary as the Aareonakakanfo of Yoruba land.

Interestingly, the twin-event will, actually, mark the celebration of five years of commitment, courage and consistency in the service of Yoruba race.

It is also the celebration of five years of changing the tide of history in Yoruba land.

Highlight of events that culminated in this year’s 5th anniversary began on Saturday,January 13,2018,at the ancient town of Oyo.

That was the day the Alaafin of Oyo, the late Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III installed Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams as the Aareonakakanfo of Yoruba land,
at an elaborate event held at the Durban Stadium,Oyo.

That historic event truly altered the story of the Yoruba race.

It also threw Iba Gani Adams up for posterity,which, of course,is a great challenge in Yoruba history.

The late Oba Lamidi Adeyemi told the world that very day the reason for installing Gani Adams as the new Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land.

He said there was a vacuum that had been left behind by the death of former holder,and acclaimed winner of the June 12 1993 elections,the late Aare Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola who died in the gulag on July 7 1998.

And that for two decades,that’s between 1998 and 2018, the exalted position of the Yoruba generallissimo was vacant, as none was ready to fill the gap and face the challenges of protecting the interest of the Yoruba race.

Remember, the late Aare MKO Abiola made the huge sacrifice and died, so this democracy could take a firm root in Nigeria today.

It was in the same vein that he had considered it imperative to choose (Otunba) Gani Adams then as the new generalissimo of the Yoruba race.

Giving reasons for the choice of Gani Adams as the new king of Yoruba warrior,the revered monarch made prominent mention of the late sage,when he said,:”The Yoruba are a very wise race.

“Chief Obafemi Awolowo became the pathfinder of the Yoruba race at a very young age and until his death in 1987,and up till date,the late Chief Awolowo’s name and ideas still remained relevant and sacrosanct in Nigeria”.

Let me say it once again that before
the late Oba Lamidi Adeyemi can consider anyone for a position in Oyo, such a person must have all that it takes to qualify for the position.

In Yoruba history,Oyo’s titles are sacred,they are not given on a platter. Those titles have to be earned.

So,after series of consultations and like a flash in the pan,Gani Adams rose to the challenges and stick his neck out for the most prestigious chieftaincy title in Yoruba land.

He made it known that he would do his best to champion the cause of the Yoruba race without looking back.

When one considers the efforts
and determination of the Yoruba generalissimo to transform the over 500 year -old traditional institution into a modern institution,it is,no doubt,the most interesting and challenging experience that is worth celebration.

For instance,in Yoruba history,the role of a Yoruba generalissimo was clearly stated.

It is the role of the Aareonakakanfo of Yoruba land to promote the unity
among the people of Yoruba race. Especially, among the traditional rulers.It is the role of the Yoruba generalissimo to make sure that Yoruba land is safe and secured.

It is also the role of the Aare Ona kakanfo of Yoruba land to make
sure that Yoruba race regains its lost glory, by ensuring a better way of sustaining the cultural identity of Yoruba race,as well as the Yoruba language, traditions and heritage.

It is the role of the Aareonakakanfo of Yoruba land to build a lasting synergy between the traditional institution and the religious institution.

The Yoruba generalissimo must also provide the needed elixirs between the two prominent institutions by ensuring unity and peace.

Looking back,it is five years down the line.How has the journey been?

Well,in my opinion, it has been a journey of different experiences- both the positive and the negative.

The position of the Aareonakakanfo of Yoruba land is not for the cowardly,but for the people of courage.It is a call to higher duty and responsibility that is even very controversial.

In truth,Iba Gani Adams became the Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land at a time when the security situation in the country was very bad.

The first challenges he had to face came with his ability to curtail the spate of insecurity across Yoruba land.

His first call of duty was that he wrote letters to the governors of the six states in the south west, intimating them of his plans to work with the government on the need to secure the south west region.

He didn’t stop at that, Aare Gani Adams also wrote letters to the traditional rulers across the region, identifying the vulnerable areas across Yoruba land and proffering solutions to the security challenges across the region.

It was this effort that resulted in
the establishment of the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) codenamed “Operation Amotekun”.

The South West Security outfit was established on 9 January, 2020, by the six state governors of all the South Western states of Nigeria, namely; Lagos State, Oyo State, Ogun State, Ondo State, Osun State and Ekiti State.

Today Aare Gani Adams is an ambassador of Amotekun in Oyo state, courtesy,the Oyo state governor,Engineer Seyi Makinde.

With operation Amotekun,it is a fact that Oyo state and other states in the region, including Osun,Ondo and Ogun (except Lagos) have been relatively peaceful.

Knowing completely that the issue of security is very sensitive to the development of a nation, Iba Gani Adams also believes strongly that government cannot do it alone.

He,therefore,proffered another way out of the security scourge.

He convened a strategic group of all private security groups and organisations in the Yoruba land.

The group was established in 2020 with the name “Southwest Security Stakeholders Group”(SSSG).

This private security group comprises about 11 different organizations,including;Agbekoya,
Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) COMSAIC,JAHUN Isokan Oodua, and the Hunters Association of Nigeria among others.

Members of the SSSG are spread across the southwest and they are all visible everywhere.

It is their intention to assist the police in making the south west region safe for all residents.

The group usually holds their meeting fortnightly at the residence of the Aareonakakanfo of Yoruba land.

They meet to analyze the report of the security situation in the region and seek better way of reducing the spate of insecurity across the southwest.

Apart from this,in his efforts to further strengthen the security architecture of the south west,Aare
Gani Adams also initiated the new Oodua Dependable Security Team, comprising all the major security architectures of the Oodua Peoples Congress.

The new group is now in Lagos,Oyo, Ogun,Osun,Kwara, while that of Ekiti and Ondo states will be inaugurated any moment from now .

The idea is also to complement the efforts of the police and other security agencies in ensuring that the south west region is safe and secured.

The ODST will also help the police in surveillance and intelligence report gathering.

Except for the little instances of security breaches,the rising spate of insecurity, leading to kidnapping and killings across the region had reduced drastically and efforts are still ongoing to curtail the scourge once and for all.

In Yoruba land, unity of purpose has always been a major issue.Unity had always eluded us as a race.

Gone were the days when Yoruba Obas will lock horns and fight dirty.

Today, things have changed.

Aare Gani Adams is a symbol of unity and he has been doing everything that is possible to make sure that there is unity in Yoruba land.

Many of our traditional rulers are now friends,courtesy of the unifying spirit of the Aareonakakanfo of Yoruba land.

I will also appreciate the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi on this.

Kabiesi Ooni Adeyeye has always been a strong force in ensuring that Yoruba monarchs are one and indivisible.

Aare is a very spiritual person. And for him, a few things matter in life – courage, consistency, commitment and the ability to take risk, even when it means to stand alone, with strong beliefs and conviction without looking back.

For years, he had built a strong relationship with everybody that matters in Yoruba land.

And that reputation garnered him a lot of respect and applause, even among the elites who see him as a very courageous man.

Many of the most respected voices in Yoruba land and Nigeria as a whole have also applauded his courage.

He has a history of protecting and promoting the interest of the Yoruba race wherever he finds himself.

He has been consistent in his efforts at promoting peace and tranquility across Yoruba land.

Religion is also a very sensitive issue.

However,Aare Gani Adams has never hide his interest in preaching religious tolerance,particularly, among the adherents of the three major religions in Nigeria.

Both the Christians, the Muslims and even the traditional believers know that there is this supreme being that is even higher than every other gods.

Aare has also extended his hands of fellowship to christians,even now that he had been ordained as an Apostle of a prominent church in Lagos.

It is the sacred duty of the Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land to preach peace and ensure there is peace in the land.

In the traditional milieu,Aare Gani Adams usually play his role as the Yoruba generallissimo.

He uses Olokun Festival Foundation (OFF) platform to celebrate major traditional festivals across Yoruba land.

Aareonakakanfo of Yoruba land has also succeeded in promoting the cultural identities of the Yoruba race.

He has been spreading the gospel of cultural re-awakening across Yorubaland and even beyond.

In the last five years,Aare Gani Adams had extended his hands of fellowship to all the elders in Yoruba land and they all appreciate his humility.

Today in Nigeria, nobody has a more robust personal relationship with all the Obas in Yorubaland than the generallissimo of Yoruba land.

So,five years down the line,the question is:”What has he brought to the table as the Aareonakakanfo of Yoruba land?

Aare Gani Adams has brought sanity to the revered stool.He has brought sanctity, global respect and courage.

So,as the Yoruba generalissimo celebrates yet another milestone,I think it is also very important for us to reflect on the successful trajectory of a man whose life story is a true reflection of God’s glory.

For Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, it is five years of serious business.

It is five years of consistency.It is five years of adding value to the Yoruba race and changing the tide of history.

It is five years of stepping up one’s game.It is five years of breaking new ground.

It is five years of making sure that the real objective of the sacred office of the Aareonakakanfo of Yoruba land is well achieved without fear or favour.

*Kehinde Aderemi is the Special Assistant on Media to the Aareonakakanfo of Yoruba land.

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