Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and the new Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Otunba Gani Adams, have said that the unity among Yoruba is sacrosanct.
They spoke on Saturday in Oyo after Adams’ installation as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland.
Adams was installed 20 years after the demise of the 14th Aare Ona Kakanfo, the businessman and politician, Chief MKO Abiola.
The traditional rites were performed on Adams by the Alaafin before he was installed as the Aare Ona Kakanfo.
Adeyemi said that disunity among Yoruba sons and daughters must be discouraged, saying it has affected the race a lot.
The monarch, who tasked Adams to ensure unity among the Yoruba, said he picked him because Adams loves the Yoruba race, its culture and tradition.
“He has contributed immensely to upholding them. He has shown enough charisma to deserve the honour. He may be young but he is very bold and courageous.
“Gani Adams is a cultural enthusiast who projects and defends our race wherever he goes. These are traits synonymous with an Aare Ona Kakanfo,’’ the monarch said.
Adeyemi dismissed insinuations that occupiers of the position die young, adding that they have invoked the spirit of the ancestors to grant him long life and the race unity.
According to him, “I have installed two Aare Ona Kakanfos as the Alaafin and I don’t want to install another before I join my ancestors”.
Adams stated that he was not pleased with the level of unity in Yoruba land, pledging that he would do more as a bridge-builder.
Adams called on South-West governors to unite for the advancement of Yoruba irrespective of their political affiliations.
“It is 558 years ago that the first Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, Kokoro Gangan of Iwoye was installed. I know that so much is expected of me.
“My appointment is a challenge, considering the power and glamour brought to the position by the 13th and 14th occupiers, late Chief S. L. Akintola and late Chief MKO Abiola respectively.
“I consider myself lucky because there was no war ravaging the Yoruba nation now, except the gradual extinction of Yoruba culture and values which must be urgently protected and preserved,’’ he said.
He called on the federal government to ensure good road and rail network as well as electricity to boost the tourism potentials of the country like it operated in some countries.
The Aare Ona Kakanfo thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara for their support.
“I want to assure you all that I will not disappoint you on my new role. I will establish Aare Ona Kakanfo Foundation and website for the projection of Yoruba culture and values.
“I will give scholarships to Yoruba children to aid their education because education is light. I promise to preserve and protect Yoruba culture and values,’’ he said.
He pledged to work with traditional rulers and leaders across Yoruba land to foster the desired unity.
Earlier, Archbishop Emeritus Ayo Ladigbolu, Chairman, Committee for the Installation of Aare Ona Kakanfo said that there was need for the constitution of ‘The Kakanfo Directorate Council’ made up eminent and credible Yoruba leaders.
“This would assist the Kakanfo to successfully tackle the issues of peaceful co-existence among diverse ethnic nationalities, religious tolerance, national reorientation and civic responsibility.
“It will also help him on South-west integration, re-invigoration of the pride of place of Yoruba language and culture as well as other pressing issues,’’ he said.
Adams, while performing the traditional rites, used 15 calabashes to pray for unity and peace for Yoruba race and Nigeria.
The calabashes used belonged to 14 former Aare Ona Kakanfo and his own calabash.
The event was attended by Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, prominent Yoruba traditional rulers, eminent Nigerians across political divides, Yoruba Socio-cultural groups and a host of well wishers.