Gani Adams: Eni Ogun In Times Of War

By Lasisi Olagunju

You do not become the Aare and lament that there is no war to fight. If the enemy refuses to charge at you, go out and take the war to his doorstep. Or you provoke a rebellion at home and crush it without mercy. That is the raw meaning of Kakanfo — patriotic (sometimes), rebellious (when threatened), courageous, heady, merciless, merciful, tough, warlike, bloody and unyielding (in war).

Kakanfo is Eni Ogun — the one custom-built to fight wars. And that fits Gani Adams who became the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland two days ago. Slowly and steadily, he paid his dues. From roadside carpentry to soldiering, to field commander, and now supreme commander! It is a testament to the power of fate over man. Destiny is ayanmo; ayanmo is what fatalists say succumbs to no musket of man. And that was what was celebrated in Oyo Alaafin on Saturday. Adams was already an Aare before the installation. He rode on the back of destiny and determination laced with raw courage, humility and patriotism to the top of gallantry.

Before Kakanfo, what we had was Onikoyi — the intrepid head of the eso (royal guards) who never accepted death from the back. He was that lion who beheld war of friends and foes and rejoiced. Then came Kakanfo. He is called eni ogun (man of war). If you like, call him eni oogun (man of magic/medicine). If you like, still, call him eni oogun (man of perspiration). He fights life as war. He breathes the breath of his magical ancestors and sweats through the battles of daily existence.

I wish the new Aare well. But can he look back at the lives lived by his predecessors, the alaseku — the ones who did it and passed the staff down the line? Yoruba history has many tongues. One says the road was prepared by Seereki Apala — the restless first son of the grand old Onikoyi Oladogan who fought without boundary and got the praise of the Alaafin. Was he the first Aare? No. History does not say so but he was the first sign that the king needed a Field Marshal. Kokoro Gangan — the one famously called the Scorpion of Ode Iwoye — was the first Leopard installed in Oyo. There was also Oyatope. After him, there was Oya’bi who put an end to the wickedness of Bashorun Gaa. Oya’bi got rid of Bashorun Gaa but soon died (in peace) on his way to receive his king’s honour. Then the blood-thirsty one took over. He was Adeta, “the well dressed Ogun who makes them spill blood profusely.” There was Oku of Jabata. After him came Afonja who demanded the title and was given and then fought his lord with the same zeal he fought his enemies. Afonja fought and vanquished the Alaafin but he soon fell at the feet of his foreign allies, forever a lesson in how not to recruit outsiders to betray one’s race.

Gani Adams is the 15th Aare. He has behind him a line of other men of war and ambition. From 1797 to 1825, there was Toyeje who fought conspiracies and faced treachery and betrayal and was not subdued by the ugly powers of tragedy. He was a man of war who died peacefully. The Kakanfo chieftaincy is steeped in mysteries, miseries and unpredictability. Was that why Toyeje’s successor, Edun, was shifty in loyalty to the Alaafin and the Yoruba and spiteful of the grand old Onikoyi Adegun who gave him the title? Kakanfo Afonja used the Fulani against his land; he was not the only one who did. Edun did, too. At Kanla war which was to remedy the tragedy of Ilorin, Edun sold his people’s victory to the Fulani of Ilorin. History says this Kakanfo gave way to the enemy in the heat of battle. The Onikoyi, surrounded by the Fulani, “fought and fought bravely and fell like a hero…the Alaafin’s army was routed and the people fled away in confusion.” And Onikoyi was Alaafin’s prime warrior who relished war and its spoils. A warrior’s praise names are his banner: He is the one war corners in the forest, and becomes dweller of forest; He waits for death well stacked and packed; Onikoyi is the one who goes to war to capture the enemy and trudges home with swarms of slaves. He is the one who goes out to raid but returns to meet his homestead raided by thieves. On his way back from war, Onikoyi loses more than the pearls at home. He crosses the path of the grand thief and gets his head chopped off by the thief. His descendants boast that they know whose homesteads their father raided. They add that they know too whose father was the thief who raided their father’s home. And his children say they know who their father beheaded and they know who beheaded their father.

The tragedy of power is the multiplicity of misfortune that clothes it. Onikoyi was betrayed and the Fulani won and kept Ilorin forever. And how did Kakanfo Edun of Gbogun end his reign? He fell too, like Afonja, at the hands of his Fulani allies. His Ilorin friends in the next Gbogun war pursued and caught him at Gbodo. “His head was taken off, raised upon a pole and carried in triumph to the camp, and from thence to Ilorin.” His homestead, Gbogun, in eternal ruins.

The person who betrayed his people died in war and yielded the space to Ojo Amepowuyi who was there before magical Kurunmi came in 1840. Kurunmi was the tragic hero who was with Oluyole in the many wars against the Ijebu and their Egba neighbours. Unfortunately, Kurunmi thought his insistence on tradition was right. He would not recognise the Alaafin who succeeded his father. He insisted that “the king’s son must die with the king” and his people sang the song with him. He was the one who had to die — broken, completely at the hands of his Ibadan friends. The Kakanfo stool then took a false move to Ibadan where Afonja’s son, Oluyedun gave his father’s title to himself. He soon died and his co-claimant “the wicked one who would not die” — Ojo Aburumaku proceeded to get it from Alaafin. This tough one fought friends and foes until the god of thunder stopped him at Igbeti. He was struck by lightning, but he was “the wicked one who would not die.” He did not die but his position was taken by Obadoke Latoosa of Ibadan who fought and won wars against Fulani marauders and their Yoruba allies. Then on August 11, 1885, he too slept in his war camp at Kiriji after suffering a revolt by his war chiefs.

Ladoke Akintola was brilliant, mercurial and eloquent. He became Kakanfo in 1964 and had role models among some of his predecessors. He too made friends abroad and foes at home. He did what some before him did and died as they died. The Aare stool became vacant on January 15, 1966. On January 14, 1988, it was filled once again with a man of means and uncommon generosity. Moshood Abiola had money. He had children. He had people. He had all and enjoyed all. He wanted more and went for power. His northern friends said no and stopped his momentum. But Kakanfo must not come home empty-handed. Abiola was defiant. He was loud and brave. And then, like some others before him, Kakanfo Abiola fought and fell at the feet of his friends from the North.

These were the men who wore the magical leopard dress, cap and sandals of war before Gani Adams came on January 13. They were the wearers of the shoes our friend stepped into on Saturday. The Kakanfo title is not just about war, blood, betrayals and death. It is not just about two hundred and one deep incisions in the head stuffed with 201 mystery preparations. It is about friends and fate. It has also its own peculiar canine fashion. The title has rhythm and rhyme. Think of an Obadoke yielding the Kakanfo space to a Ladoke. Think of Akintola ending it on January 15,1966; and Abiola starting his own on January 14, 1988; and, now, Adams’s epochal entry of January 13, 2018. Could this gradient be a mere coincidence in dates and figure combinations?

Gani Adams is a very good man taking up a tough job. He has lessons to learn from those illustrious strongmen and the interesting times that preceded him. The Aare cannot say there is no war raging now. These are not normal times for the one called to service. He cannot recline in an easy chair when marauders are at home and on the way. Can the warrior sleep when men cannot farm and women cannot fetch water in peace? May the new Aare be a success story. From now on, the Aare will be required to act and speak to Nigeria on its dance of death.

Final Rites Begin For Gani Adams Installation As Aare Ona Kakanfo

The final rites for the installation of Otunba Gani Adams as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland will begin on Wednesday.

Adams had been engaged in several processes that will lead to his installation on January 13 at Durbar Stadium, Oyo State since he was designated as the Aare Ona Kakanfo late last year by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi II.

From Wednesday, the National Coordinator of the Oodua People’s Congress and Founder of Oodua Progressive Union, which is in 79 countries, will be in seclusion in Oyo town.

According to information from the Media Office of the Aare Ona Kakanfo-designate, the schedule of rites, which will end in the wee hours of Saturday, had been drawn up by the palace of Oba Adeyemi.

Also on the schedule of programmes for the installation is a press conference to be addressed by the Oyo State Government to unveil the details of the installation ceremony on Saturday and provide guests and users of the ever-busy Ibadan-Oyo-Ogbomoso Road with traffic diversion and parking arrangements.

Among the several dignitaries expected at the ceremony are the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN); Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara; and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi.

Also expected are Obas of the six South West States and those of Yoruba-speaking areas of Kogi and Kwara States; captains of industry; and the diplomatic corps in Nigeria and representatives of foreign governments.

Adams, who succeeds late business mogul, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, as Aare Ona Kakanfo , was appointed by Oba Adeyemi on October 16, 2017. He holds 52 chieftaincy titles.

As a human rights activist, he was involved in the struggle for the return of Nigeria to democracy after several years of military rule and has defended the rights of the underprivileged.

Your Own Aare Ona Kakanfo Must Not Seek War But Promote Peace; Aregbesola Tells Gani Adams

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has charged the Aare Ona kakanfo designate, Otunba Ganiyu Adams to use the office to promote regional integration, peace, unity and love among the black race and not the promotion of war.

The Governor gave the admonition while playing  host to Otunba Adams who was in Osun to formally invite the governor to his inauguration as the 15th Aare Onakakanfo of Yourubaland, at Government House, Osogbo.

Aregbesola called on Aare Ona Kakanfo designate to use his office and the new position to advance the interest of Yoruba people and their culture.‎

‎He charged him to rally round Yorubas with his position so as to understand that progress, development, wealth creation and happiness are the issues they must all embrace.

Aregbesola urged Adams to promote the peace, progress and development of the Yoruba race, stating that the issue of regional integration of the race should also be placed on the front burner once he assumes office.

He explained that the time has come where the peace, progress and economic advancement of the yoruba race should be the target of any leader that has the love of the people at heart.

The Governor also charged Adams on the need to chat a course that will make Yorubas all over the world begin to see themselves as a people ready to lead black race for all round growth and development.

He urged the incoming Aare Onakakanfo to use his office to mobilise the Yorubas for productivity, noting that it is only through this that the Yoruba nation and its people will begin to see themselves as the leaders of the black race who can tell the world that the black man has a mission.

According to him, “War is a negative phenomenon, it is destructive, it is bitter, it is cruel and it must therefore not be promoted by anyone. It must be condemned, rejected and discarded.

“So you are not the Aare Ona Kakanfo to seek war and you must not seek war. We are not therefore celebrating you as the war general to precipitate crisis but your own general must promote peace, harmony, love and collaboration among the Yoruba people.

“You must join all progressive elements, leaders and people of our land to unite us, to combine us and to ensure that whatever differences we have are properly analyzed and resolved so as to focus ‎on development both physically and socially.

“Regional integration therefore must be your watchword. You must do your best in promoting integration of our people in their various political divides such as political divide of ideologies, boundaries and interest‎s.

“You must rally round Yorubas with your position to understand that progress, development, wealth creation and happiness are the issues we must all embrace.

“Your office must seek for a united effort to elevate and promote humanity, hence, you must support all the progressive forces in Yorubaland to rally Yoruba people for productivity and through that mobilize Nigerian people for higher mobility and productivity.

“Once Nigerians are fully mobilized, our resouces and size will be promoted toa new high of global domination in this world.I am not in anyway afraid that you will champion this and play your own part to promote humanity”, Aregbesola urged. ‎

Earlier in his remarks, the Aare Ona Kakanfo designate, Otunba Gani Adams commended Governor Aregbesola for  moving Osun forward despite the harsh economic situation in the country.

He said he is proud to be associated with a man of the people like Aregbesola, noting that his position has been used to turn around the economy of the state.

Adams said he decided to come to Osun to personally invite the Osun governor to his inauguration which comes up in January 13, 2018 as he believes in his leadership.

According to him, I am proud of you. I am proud to be associated with you. You have made us proud. You have been able to do much despite the harsh economic situation.

“Though I am here to invite you to my inauguration and to pay homage to our people but as a gennuine leader with which your personality epitomize, I am happy to be at home.

“I must commend you for the matured manner in which you have  been able to steer the state”, he added.

Gani Adams Will Be A Social Aare Ona Kakanfo If He Fails To Visit Igbajo – Lejoka

By Shina Abubakar

There is a new development ahead of the formal installation of the National Coordinator of Odua People’s Congress (OPC), Chief Gani Adams, as Aare Ona Kakanfo in Yoruba land (Yoruba Generalissimo), scheduled to hold at Oyo town in January.

A Yoruba High Chief, Chief Sunday Akerele, the Lejoka of Igbajo, an historical town in Osun State, has said that the final rite for Gani Adams as Yoruba generalissimo would be completed only at Igbajo, which was popular in Yoruba history as the theatre of war during the 16-year Yoruba war of 19th century and not Oyo, else he would only be a social Aare Ona Kakanfo, like his predecessor.

Akerele made the disclosure while taking members of the Osun NUJ Correspondents’ Chapel round the historical war site, as part of the activities to mark the 2017 Press Week.

He said all the past Aare Ona Kakanfos, including the former Premier of the Western Region, Chief Ladoke Akintola were in the ancient town for their final rites.

Akerele added that the late business mogul turned politician, Chief Moshood Abiola, who was the last Aare Ona Kakanfo was the only one that did not visit the town for his final rite.

“Historically, this is the domain for the final rite of any Aare Ona Kakanfo(Yoruba Generalassimo) because the traditional regalia of that office is here in Igbajo.

“You know, Aare Latoosa, who was the generalissimo during the Kiriji war, and the 12th Aare Ona Kakanfo died here after the end of the war, and left the regalia behind for future Aare Ona Kakanfos.

“Gani Adams can only be a real and authentic generalissimo only if he comes here to perform his final rite”, he said.

In the same vein, the former Commissioner for Information in the state, Mr Sunday
Akere, who hailed from the town, opined that the town played a significant role in the advancement of Yoruba society.

He called on government to develop the war tourist site the way sites of that nature in Cuba, South America, were turned around and made viable for economic development.

Akere also called on the Yoruba nation to shun politics of bitterness and focus on issues that could foster development in the region as well as bind the nation together rather than separating the folks.

He added that it is time for the state government to acquire the site from both Boluwaduro and Obokun Local Governments, who rather than using the site as an element of unity, has been involved in acrimonies to divide the unity of the communities.

How I Will Operate As Aare Ona Kakanfo – Gani Adams

Gani Adams, the Aare Ona Kakanfo-designae who is due to be sworn in soon has revealed at the palace of Olu of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, how he will play his role as the Yoruba generalissimo.

According to a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adepoju, on Saturday, Adams said he would work with traditional rulers and other people to preserve the unity of the Yoruba and the progress of the country.

According to Oba Olugbenle, who welcomed Adams to Ilaro, “Whatever that comes from Oyo is automatically ours in Ilaro because that is where we came from.

“Alaafin (of Oyo) is a peculiar oba to us in Ilaro and I want to use this opportunity to thank him for his choice of Gani Adams as the new Aare Ona Kakanfo.

Aare OnaKakanfo: Alaafin Speaks On Choice Of Gani Adams 

By Toba Adedeji
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi who has slated 13th January, 2018 for the installation date spoke on reason why Gani Adams is fit for the appointment.
  • Alaafin cleared the air on controversies surrounding the announcement of Gani Adams as the 15th Aare Onakakanfo on 15th October 2017.
Explaining the Choice of Adams as Aare OnaKakanfo, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, said the National Coordinator of the Oodua People’s Congress, Gani Adams, was chosen as the new Aare OnaKakanfo of Yorubaland after considering his antecedents as a Yorubaman who had exhibited passion for defending his people, their culture and tradition.
He noted that Adams was courageous and bold whenever he stepped forward to defend the Yoruba race.
According to him, the choice of Adams was well thought out before a decision was taken. He has shown enough charisma to deserve the honour.
“If you have been observing him in the past many years, Adams attends all Yoruba festivals, irrespective of where they are held. He also promotes our culture through so many means including his annual Olokun festival.
“I picked him because he loves the Yoruba race and all the culture and tradition of our people. He has contributed immensely to upholding them. Whenever he attends these festivals, he goes with a large entourage and financially, he is always responsible for the cost. He does not attend in order to benefit financially.
“He may be young but he is also very bold and courageous. These are traits synonymous with an Aare OnaKakanfo. Adams is a Yoruba cultural enthusiast. He defends the race anywhere he goes. Among his strengths is that he has strong supporters in every town in Yorubaland through his Oodua People’s Congress
“Money or material wealth is not considered before choosing an Are OnaKakanfo. Abiola promoted everything that had to do with Yoruba race. He was popular among his people and he was close to traditional rulers. So, Adams may not be as rich as Abiola but I can tell you he has all the qualities an Aare OnaKakanfo should possess. He leads an organisation that is ever ready to defend the cause of the Yoruba race. Is there any Yorubaman that has such clout as Adams without being a politician today?” Alaafin concluded.

Aare Ona Kakanfo: Gani Adams To Be Installed Next January

Following the announcement of the National Coordinator of Oodua Peoples Congress, Otunba Gani Adams, as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba Land, the installation has been fixed for January 13, 2018.

According to a statement issued by his Director of Media And Communication, Femi Adepoju, “The palace of the Alaafin Of Oyo, Iku Babayeye Ikeji Orisa, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi has scheduled the installation ceremony of the Aare Ona Kakanfo-designate, Otunba Gani Adams as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo for January 13 2018.”

According to him, details of the installation program would be announced at a later date.

Re: Kakanfo My Foot! By Taiwo Adisa

I have come to recognise the awe, power and relevance of the Aare Ona Kakanfo title very early in life and it was not just about the exploits of the title holders as we read in the books. As a primary three pupil, my class teacher, a woman, decided to conduct a test and promised whoever came first would be named Aare Ona Kakanfo of the class. I came tops and was named the Aare Ona Kakanfo.

And what were the duties of the Aare? I was given a seat directly opposite the class teacher, presided over affairs of the class and dished out punishments. That included dishing out strokes of the cane to some offenders and in some instances appointing the big boys in the class to stretch out key offenders whose names entered the black book. I enjoyed the reign but little did I know it was a ploy by the woman (a nursing mother) to save herself the stress of having to give recalcitrant pupils strokes of the cane.

In those days, it was fun and responsibility co-joined. I saw classmates fell over themselves to curry the favour of the Aare. On our way home, some classmates would offer to carry the Aare’s bag, in anticipation of lesser punishment in case their names enter the black book.

As years went by, I got to read the historical essence of the Aare Ona Kakanfo title. More than the childlike innocence with which we held that title in primary three, it became clearer to me that the title was reserved for warriors, the Generalissimo of Yoruba land. The Aare was the man who led the wars of the Oyo Empire, he never returned from a battle defeated. It was a powerful title for powerful men.

And history has told us of the myths and mystiques around that title. One of the names of the previous holders that struck me is Ojo Aburukamu. The name portends danger and easily strikes fear- One who is so fierce and would not die.

Notwithstanding the changing times and the rise and fall of Empires, historical relics still give today’s generation a sense of connection to the past. A sense of belief that their forebears actually had sense of organisation and operated strong and complex political institutions long before the advent of the scramble for and partition of Africa. That is my point of departure from some social media commentators and those a friend called English-speaking graduates of today, who have tended to question the essence of the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland where there is no one single Oba of Yoruba land. Or even some of those who question Gani Adam’s credentials as the right candidate.

One of the critics who put pen to paper in the traditional media is a former News Editor of The Punch, Tunde Odesola, who wrote from the US. His grouse was that he did not see any visible impact of the Adams-led Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) in the fight to actualise the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential mandate of the late Chief MKO Abiola. He linked the organisation more to thuggery and violence than noble objectives.

Even while I believe that the OPC is big enough to defend itself, I make bold to state that the organisation did some noble exploits in those days of the jackal. Maybe Odesola lacks the requisite information. But suffice it to state that the OPC had directly affected Odesola’s daily bread when its enthusiasts turned themselves to emergency vendors to help save Punch from the ban imposed by the vendors’ association at the start of the unsold policy. With the presence of OPC, the newspaper kept afloat and was able to break the vendors’ resistance in weeks.

I am one of those who have remained impressed by the rise of the ‘Carpenter’ Adams. Years back, I recall how a committee of five Oodua sons, Wale Adedayo, Gani Adams, Wale Adeoye, Kayode Ogundamisi and this writer met at Adeoye’s Maryland home to fashion out some good causes for the emerging OPC under Adams. The amiable Adams internalised the outcomes of those brainstorming sessions, expanded on them and it is not a surprise that honour for him is coming from home and abroad..

What to add? Only to congratulate Adams for doing Yoruba youths proud and urge him to keep his head up in this position of high responsibility. And just like my own tenure as Aare Ona Kakanfo of primary three class ended in backstabbing and revelry, may Gani’s tenure defy the tragic myth already weaved around that title.

This Maina Saga…

The story of Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina, former Chairman of Presidential Task Team on Pension Reforms, which broke last week promises to remain in public eye for long. It has already won for itself an unwinding lifespan, following the trajectory from 2010 to date.

Some commentators hailed the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari in ordering Maina’s sack as salutary and presidential. I beg to disagree. The president cannot direct the sack of a civil servant by fiat. In the same vein, he cannot distance himself from everything that is bad in his administration. The buck stops at his table and like he promised during the campaigns, Buhari must lead from the front. In what looks like trying to turn pap (agidi and in Yoruba it’s called eko) to a match stick, some persons are trying to paint a victim image for the president in all this. It’s what the dramatists would call attempting to pack someone’s stew with bread in his presence. Whether Buhari admits knowledge of the Maina saga or not, I take it as his fault; if he feigns ignorance, I stick to my gun. I will not be party to those who paint a saintly image of a father whose children are turning out as armed robbers. As head of the family, he takes the blame and the praise.

And to his order that Maina be sacked? What does that amount to? Nothing; just nothing. Presidential verbal directives can do nothing to deny a civil servant his job. The appropriate agencies that can do Maina harm are the Office of the Head of Service and the Federal Civil Service Commission. As far as those have not commenced disciplinary measures against the man, the presidential directive is of no effect. And if that is the situation, Maina would continue to earn his money (he was said to have earned N22million already) while the EFCC continues to waste its paint on buildings the Maina family claimed are inherited.

Kakanfo My Foot! Part 2

By Tunde Odesola

I heard their babble, those who bayed for my blood and canvassed support for the Aare Ona Kakanfo-designate, Gani Adams, on the basis of his relative young age and perceived accomplishments.

Spanish-American philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist, George Santayana, in a moment of elucidation on the primacy of history, reasoned, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” According to Samuel Johnson’s book, ‘The History of the Yoruba’, “In war, they (Kakanfo) carry no weapon but a baton known as the ‘king’s invincible staff.’” Unmmhh?

So, the Kakanfo carried no weapon? Why then the prattle about the need for a young, aggressive person to occupy the post? In the not-too-distant past, after the colonial era, to be precise, the Yoruba have fought and won political battles in the Nigerian political space using their intellectual range of vision and not through bloodletting.

Historically, the Yoruba have never run away from a war. For them, it is not the acme of excellence or the celebration of the ‘Omoluabi’ ethos to uphold the ridiculous and the vile. Employing their international connections and links across the nation, the Yoruba, during the June 12 crisis, spearheaded the war against the smiling ‘agbako’ (gnome) and rogue general, chasing him to a faraway hilltop cove.

They also stopped the dark-goggled dimwit, who wore the uniform of a general but had no balls to visit the South-West, from leaving the Ass-o-Rock, where he was holed in his dying days. “Talo sope ao ni baba, kai, a ni baba!” goes a popular Yoruba chant.

It means, “Who says we don’t have a leader; hold it!, we have a leader!” Yes, the Yoruba have qualified leaders who can be Aare Ona Kakanfo. They don’t necessarily need to be young, says the history book as they do not have to bear arms but must be steeped in ‘oogun abenugongo’ (juju).

If you’re looking for authentic babalawos, the Awise Agbaye, Prof Wande Abimbola; and the Araba of Osogbo, Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon, are time-tested. If you are looking for a war general, the Yoruba have a former Chief of Defence Staff, Lt.-Gen. Alani Akinrinade (retd.). The Yoruba also have the National Leader, All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Afe Babalola; a former Ogun State governor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba; human rights activist, Chief Femi Falana (SAN), just to mention a few – who, by their antecedents, are much more qualified than the factional leader of the Oodua Peoples Congress, Adams – to be the next Kakanfo.

Because he is mischievous, I never know what to expect whenever my friend, Adeolu Adeyemo, calls. Last week, I picked his call and held my breath, “Deolu, bawo ni, (how are you)?” I greeted.

By the way, Adeyemo is the chief correspondent, New Telegraph newspaper in Osun State. He cleared his throat, “Jo, (please) Tunde, I need your reaction on the Aare Ona Kakanfo issue.” “Why my reaction, I asked,” suspecting he had something up his sleeve. “I used your WhatsApp reaction yesterday, and I was directed by my head office to get a more comprehensive reaction on the issue,” he said. “Oh, I see. You have to give me some time to put something down,” I said.

Thus, the article, “Kakanfo my foot!” was birthed. When I finished writing the piece, the man who has the most profound influence on my career as a journalist, Mr Adeyeye Joseph, a former Editor, The PUNCH, read it on Whatsapp, and said, “You must be ready for trouble after this is published.” The article caught fire on the social media as soon as it was published in The PUNCH of October 18, 2017, instantly setting the tone for discourse on the impropriety of Gani becoming the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land.

So, when I saw Kayode Ogundamisi, whose name I mentioned in the article, shooting from the hips – in reaction to the article a few hours after its publication, I smiled and remembered the warning of my mentor.

As soon as the day broke, a neighbour in my Agege suburb of Lagos State, Rosemary Ayenero, who now resides in the UK, woke me up with a call. “Boda Tunde, kilo se eyin ati Kayode Ogundamisi (what’s the matter between you and Kayode Ogundamisi)?” she asked agitated. “Kayode Ogundamisi,” I yawned, trying to shake off sleep. “Yes, Kayode said you lied against him; that he was never in Ondo State in 2000,” Rosemary stressed. “An almost lifeless man came to my office and said he was the secretary general of the OPC. He said he was the second-in-command to Gani Adams. At the time, the only secretary general of the OPC I knew was Kayode Ogundamisi; that was why I took him for Ogundamisi,” I said. “Ah, omo adugbo leyin mejeji o. (The two of you are from the same neighbourhood, you shouldn’t fight),” Rosemary advised. “You know me, would I cook up a lie against him,” I asked my neighbour. “But Kayode too doesn’t lie,” she said.

The die was cast. Who was in the wrong? It was me. But did I deliberately bring Ogundamisi into the story to malign him or make my story credible? No, because the story, without his name, remains very, very credible. But, would it be honourable to keep quiet in the face of Ogundamisi’s denial? No! Ogundamisi has the right to be angry, I apologize. I went through the online reactions praising and condemning the article.

Notably, most of the reactions condemning the write-up did not answer the eternal truths I raised. Gani must just be the next Kakanfo, whether or not Orunmila approves of it. Mainly, those who condemned the article latched onto the denial by Ogundamisi, throwing out the baby, the bathwater and the mother. But the Kakanfo-in-waiting has not come out to deny that he fled when his convoy was attacked in 2000, in Ondo State. He has not denied that several members of the OPC on his entourage were killed in the attack.

Among the truths I raised in the article was the murderous and violent nature of the OPC led by Adams. I also pointed at the uncountable number of exploitation, rape, extortion cases by OPC members in various police stations and courts across the South-West. The article went on to underscore the fact that the OPC was not ‘securing’ our land for free. It was collecting money for the services rendered and thus, should not be seen in the light of Rotary or Lion clubs. I recalled that the OPC got a multi-billion naira contract from the Goodluck Jonathan administration to secure oil pipelines when Nigeria has a standing army, navy, air force, police, Department of State Services, Customs, Immigrations, etc. I noted that in order to show gratitude for the juicy contract, Adams led his OPC members on the rampage along the Ikorodu Road in Lagos, a few days to the 2015 presidential election.

In a telephone discussion on Monday, Professor of History and Fellow, Historical Society of Nigeria, Siyan Oyeweso, said the Kakanfo must be stubborn and courageous, traits he said Gani possesses to a hilt. He said Gani had grown from being a carpenter to acquiring higher education, stressing that the Yoruba need Gani to ward off the Hausa/Fulani herdsmen attacks and other such threats.

In response, I told the scholar that the post is too big for Gani, who lacks the elocution and erudition to speak on behalf of an educated race such as the Yoruba. We should allow King Ajagbo, whom Samuel Johnson said introduced the Kakanfo title, to rest on peacefully in his grave by installing a befitting candidate, please. ‘E je ka se bi won se nse, koba le ri bi o se nri’. If the Yoruba need a chief ‘maiguard’, we know where to look.

Odesola wrote from the United States.

Another Kakanfo On The March

By Dare Babarinsa

A few months ago, Otunba Gani Adams informed me that our baba, Kabiyesi Alayeluwa, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, the Alaafin of Oyo, was going to honour him with the historic title of Are Ona Kakanfo, an office that is surrounded by so many myths and drama. For Adams, this is a singular honour so much different from all the others he has garnered since he emerged on the stage as a significant and controversial presence in the self-determination group. Adams has given meaning to the militant phase of our struggle against military rule and the second phase that is still playing out now in creating a new Commonwealth.

Adams is the national coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, but apart from this, he is involved in more eclectic enterprises. On the cultural plane, he is the organizer and founder of the yearly Olokun Festival, set up to honour the Yoruba goddess of the sea and wealth. He is of the opinion that politics should not be left to politicians alone. He believes that the Yoruba people of Nigeria should be under only one regional government to maximize their advantage and advance their economic and cultural interests. With the new honour coming from Oyo, Adams now has a pedestal to pursue those interests.

Adams was one of the young people who heeded the call of Dr Frederick Iseotan Fasehun, the founder and President of OPC. Fasehun, Nigeria’s leading anesthesiologist and the enterprising physician had abandoned the stethoscope for the dangerous enterprise of opposing military rule, especially after the infamy of the June 12 annulment. Fasehun reminds one of another physician, Dr. Agostinho Neto, the poet and freedom fighter who became the first President of independent Angola. In 1995, he invited me to his house in Isolo to discuss the nascent Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC and wanted us to collaborate. Most right-thinking Nigerians felt seriously insulted by the criminal annulment of Chief Moshood Abiola’s victory at the June 12, 1993, presidential election. I told Fasehun about Idle Oodua and that though we share similar objectives, it was my colleagues’ advice that the lion and the leopard should hunt in different neighbourhoods. He agreed with us.

Fasehun is one of the bravest men I ever met. In 1996, Chief Anthony Enahoro who was on the hit-list of the Sani Abacha killer squad decided to flee the country. This was after Enahoro’s old friend, the incomparable Osibakoro, Chief Alfred Rewane, was assassinated by suspected agents of the military junta. With the help of a foreign embassy in Lagos, the veteran nationalist and journalist had been in hiding for many weeks while the killer-squad was desperately searching for him. Few days to his departure, Enahoro was brought to the home of our redoubtable leader, Dr. Amos Akingba, a man who fitted that era of danger and daring like he was created for it. It was from the home of Akingba in Ikeja that Fasehun led the team that took Enahoro from Nigeria to the Republic of Benin through the famous NADECO (National Democratic Coalition) route to begin his journey into exile that would ultimately end in the United States.

But Fasehun, who refused to go into exile, was soon caught in the Abacha net when he was arrested in December 1996. He was to remain in the gulag under the most humiliating condition until General Sani Abacha died suddenly in 1998 and General Abdulsalami Abubakar came to power. Abubakar freed Fasehun along with other political prisoners. By the time he returned in 1998, his organisation, the OPC, had become a behemoth. It was easily the most visible of the several self-determination groups and Fasehun towered above other militant leaders like Rotimi Obadofin and Abiodun Kolawole. The metamorphosis was complete, the success was great and so were the troubles. Many of his followers wanted a different kind of organisation from the one that Fasehun ran before he went into detention. The struggle was intense and the contradictions soon led to serious split and bloodletting. Senator Abraham Aderibigbe Adesanya, the leader of Afenifere, the mainstream Yoruba political and cultural movement, was seriously worried about this and tried to find a solution to it. One of the measures taken was the formation of the Coalition of Yoruba Self-Determination Groups, COSEG, bringing in all the militant groups under one umbrella.

Despite the formation of COSEG, the contradictions within the OPC persisted and this led to the permanent schism with the formation of the Gani Adams faction in 1999. With the continuous disruption of peace in the South-West, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the new President, ordered the arrest of Adams who was accused of “heinous crimes,” including the assassination of a police officer in Bariga, Lagos. Adams denied the charges, saying, “We are not confrontational.” He added: “We are fighting for self-determination, sovereign national conference and loose federation.”

But he went into hiding and the government put a one million naira price on his head, a lot of money in 2001. President Olusegun Obasanjo gave a marching order to the Inspector-General of Police, Musliu Smith, and the then Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mike Okiro, that Adams must be captured dead or alive. Okiro, a lawyer, was later to serve with distinction as the Inspector-General of Police.

The situation worried every Yoruba leader. I met with Baba Adesanya in his Apapa, Lagos residence, on his invitation. He was worried about the official clampdown on the OPC and its leadership. He said it would be disastrous if Adams was killed by the police. He said we should get Adams to surrender so that he can have his day in court. He promised that Afenifere would help him with legal representation. I promised that we would take action.

I sent messages to Adams in his hideout through our mutual friends that I would like to see him. Soon his emissaries came to my office at Acme Road, Ogba, and we took off to Adams’ safe house in Agege. We met Adams in an ebullient spirit and in the midst of his people presumably senior members of the OPC. Some youths were holding video recording cameras. I delivered my message and there was immediate uproar. They said no, we will fight. I told them the game is different now and Olusegun Obasanjo was now our elected President. We will fight, but only through the legal and democratic process. Nigeria has shed too much blood. Adams agreed to surrender through his lawyers.

The following day, I met with Okiro at the Police Command Headquarters in Ikeja and told him that Adams has agreed to surrender and that his lawyers would contact the police. I said if he is killed, even by accident, it would be regarded as enemy action by many people. Okiro promised to take appropriate action. Few days later I was with Baba Adesanya again at his Apapa residence to discuss another matter when someone called him on the phone. Adams had been captured. Baba was worried whether he was alright. We later called other people and a police officer confirmed that he was with them but unhurt.

Since then, Adams has transformed from an irascible militant into a sophisticated public figure. He has immersed himself in self-education and has acquired more knowledge about traditional Yoruba politics and modern Nigerian power play. He is an asset in the intractable struggle to re-arrange Nigeria and put the Yoruba people from the River Niger to the Atlantic under one government. This was the expectation of the founding fathers of Nigeria, especially Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his colleagues of the old Action Group, AG. The only obstacle to achieving that goal today is the clan of mostly decadent Yoruba political class who regards the current structure of the Nigerian Commonwealth as a boon for their members.

The Kakanfo is an old Oyo title. However, it has acquired pan-Yoruba significance especially since the Yoruba wars of the 19th Century. Though the Kakanfo is not part of the Iwarefa (the kingmakers) chiefs in Oyo, called the Oyomesi, he is regarded as third in rank and second only to the Basorun. Being the head of the military, he must live outside the capital. That practice is only peculiar to Oyo among the old Yoruba states. In other Yoruba kingdoms, the head of the military, called the Balogun, the Lejua, the Bafon and other titles, was allowed to live in the capital of each kingdom.

In the 19th Century, three kakanfos created the allure of the title and its pan-Yoruba significance. Afonja, who was based in Ilorin, was the Kakanfo who rebelled against his overlord, the Alaafin. His Fulani guests and collaborators later staged a coup against him, got him executed, and seized the rulership of Ilorin till today. His rebellion led to the fall of Oyo and the destruction and subjugation of many Yoruba towns under the trammel of the Fulani. The second was Kurumi, who was based in Ijaiye, helped Atiba to create the present city of Oyo, but who opposed Atiba’s son and successor Alaafin Adelu. Kurumi insisted that Adele must die with his father according to the Constitution of the old country, instead of becoming the Alaafin. Ibadan, the new military power, opposed him. War was inevitable and Ijaiye was defeated. The victorious Ibadan ruler, Oluyole, a descendant of Alaafin Abiodun, felt the title of Kakanfo was inferior and proclaimed himself the Basorun, though the real Basorun was still alive and well in the new Oyo.

The third Kakanfo was Latoosa, the ruler of Ibadan, who violated the ethos of the old Yoruba country which stipulated that every prince who can trace his roots to the Royal House of Oduduwa in Ile-Ife is co-eval with his colleagues and has the right to independence. Catoosa sent his troops to subdue the Ekiti, Ife, Egba, Igbomina and the Ijesha kingdoms and these led to a state of general wars culminating in the 16-year Ekitiparapo War. More than 500,000 soldiers participated in the gory conflict until it stalemated into a bloody daily struggle halted only by the imposition of British colonial rule in the closing years of the 19th Century. Catoosa, who moved his headquarters to the Ibadan war camp in Igbajo, died during the conflict. After that war, the Alaafin refused to confer the title of Kakanfo anymore until Alaafin Bello Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II, gave the title to Chief Ladoke Akintola, then the Premier of the defunct Western Region.

The fear that was expressed when Chief Moshood Abiola took the title in 1988 is still being voiced now that Adams is stepping into his shoes. The belief is that the Kakanfo would not die a peaceful death. However, it is on record that Ojo Aburumaku, who succeeded Kurumi as Kakanfo, died peacefully in his home at Ogbomoso

Aare Ona Kakanfo: Gani Adams Announces Three Appointments

The newly appointed Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Otunba Gani Adams on Sunday made three appointments to assist him in his new office.

They are Chief Femi Davies as Special Adviser on Events and Strategy, Prince Segun Akanni as Chief of Staff, and Rev. Femi Adepoju as Director of Media and Communication.

A press release from the Lagos office of the Aare Ona Kakanfo on Sunday said the new appointments take immediate effect.

The statement read; “Chief Femi Davies is a seasoned journalist who hails from Abeokuta, Ogun State. Davies was Consultant Media to former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel. A mass Comm graduate of the Ogun State Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Davies is the publisher of Metronews Nigeria.

“The award winning and well travelled media practitioner is media consultant to Olokun Festival Foundation, Oodua People’s Congress, Oodua Progressive Union among other Organizations. Besides Jornalism his core professional field, the Gbobaniyi of Arigidi  Akoko is also an accomplished Movie/Music Producer and Promoter with  proven records in Events and Hospitality concern.

“Prince Segun Akanni who is the Chief Of Staff until his new appointment was Personal Assistant to the Aare Ona Kakanfo. He was born to a Royal family in Ileogbo, Ayedire Area of Osun and had his both Primary and Secondary schools education in Ileogbo.

“He holds a Diploma and Degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management (IRPM) from the Lagos State University, LASU Ojo, Lagos. Akanni also holds a Diploma in Tourism Management from the International School of Aviation in Ghana. He joined Oodua People’s Congress in late 1998 in Ijeshatedo, and later moved to Ojo area of Lagos state where he started his career in OPC as the zonal secretary of Tedi zone. In 1999, he was elevated to the position of Local Government Publicity Secretary in Ojo.

“His commitment to the emancipation of the Yoruba race earned him an appointment in the office of the National Coordinator of the OPC in year 2002 as the Protocol Officer II and media Assistant to Otunba Gani Adams. In 2007, Akanni became The Personal Assistant to Otunba Gani Adams, the position he maintained until his new appointment as The Chief of Staff to the New AARE Gani Adams.

“Prince Akanni has been to over fifty countries in the course of propagating the gospel of Oodua Progressive Union (OPU) with Aare Onakakanfo, OPU, an organization formed by the Are Onakakanfo for the Yorubas in diaspora with Chapters in over seventy-eight counties.

“Akanni wrote a book in honor of Otunba Gani Adams titled The Volunteer of Savanah in 2015.

Director of Media and Communication, Reverend Femi Adepoju, an accomplished journalist is a political and entertainment writer.

“The Publisher of Rhema News Online is President, Full Steam Communications and Entertainment.

“Adepoju is a graduate of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from the United Bible University, Lagos.

“Born in Akure, Ondo state in 1968, Adepoju was Lagos State House Correspondent for The News/ PM news from 1996 to 2005. He resigned as Society Editor, The News group to join Daily Independent (Breaking News) where he later resigned as News Editor after 4years of service to the Lagos based publishing house. He co-founded First weekly Magazine from where moved to Media Consultancy after 3 years as Managing Editor in 2010.

“As a Media Consultant, Adepoju co-managed Connect Communications after which he was appointed Special Assistant on Media, to former Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state in 2011. He functioned in that capacity till February this year and later joined Oodua Voice Media as Editor In Chief until his latest appointment.