Alaafin of Oyo appoints OPC leader, Gani adams as new aare kakanfo

The Alaafin of Oyo , Oba Lamidi
Adeyemi, on Sunday declared the
National Coordinator of the Oodua
People’s Congress , Gani Adams , as the
15 th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland.
The position was held last by the late
MKO Abiola , who died in the detention
camp of the late military dictator , Gen.
Sani Abacha, in 1998 for refusing to
trade his presidential mandate for
In June this year, there was an
indication that Adams could be named
the new Generalismo of Yorubaland by
the monarch but the OPC leader
refused to confirm nor deny the
But Alaafin , who confirmed the
declaration to one of our
correspondents in a chat on Sunday
night, said that a letter of appointment
had been issued to Adams during his
(monarch ’s ) 79 th birthday celebration .
“ Yes , I have confirmed Otunba Gani
Adams as the next Aare Ona Kakanfo
of Yorubaland. He emerged out of the
five aspirants that I considered for the
position but I will hold a press
conference where he will be formally
announced . It is after this
announcement that the traditional
rites for his installation will start , ” he
said .
When asked how the lot fell on Adams ,
the first - class monarch said this would
be disclosed during his press
conference scheduled for this week.
Mr. Segun Akanni, who is the Personal
Assistant to Adams , also confirmed the
appointment on Sunday evening .
He quoted Adams as saying he was
honoured to be chosen for such an
exalted position in Yorubaland.
Reacting to the appointment , the
founder of the OPC , Dr. Fredrick
Fasehun, on Sunday , congratulated
Adams .
Fasehun told one of our
correspondents in a telephone
interview that the Alaafin of Oyo had
the right to bestow the title on anyone .
Fasehun, who had a running battle
with Adams for several years before
their feud was finally resolved , urged
the new Aare Ona Kakanfo to behave
true to his title.
He said , “ It is an Oyo title. The Alaafin
has the right to give anybody . The
Alaafin can give anybody , whether
young or old , altruistic or otherwise. I
congratulate him (Adams ) and I hope
he will behave true to his title. ”
Another Yoruba elder statesman,
Senator Femi Okurounmu , however,
said Adams was too young for the title .
Okurounmu, who represented the
Ogun - Central Senatorial District
between 1999 and 2003 in the Senate,
said although Adams had done a lot
for the Yoruba nation, he still had a
long way to go.
The former lawmaker said most men
who were bestowed with the title
hardly ended well .
He, however, wished Adams the best .
Okurounmu said , “ My honest opinion
is that as a young man, that title is not
befitting for him. I think that title is
more befitting for an older person; an
older person who has accomplished
more for Yorubaland.
“ As much as I like the young man and
his activities for Yorubaland, I think
he is a bit too ambitious and too much
in a hurry and frankly, I would have
wished the title would have been given
to someone with a history of
achievement and accomplishment for
“ That title doesn’ t have a very good
history . In Yorubaland, people with
that title have not always ended very
well and I think that is perhaps why
people are always running from it.
“ There is a saying that where angels
fear to tread , fools rush in . So , it is a
title many fail to take and I don ’ t
know why he was keen to have it but I
wish him the best of luck . I know he
wanted it and I wish him the best . ”
But Afenifere chieftain , Chief Ayo
Adebanjo, congratulated Adams , who
he described as a true Yoruba son .
Adebanjo dismissed claims that people
with the title do not end well , adding
that it was time for the Yoruba nation
to be united and support Adams .
He said , “ He should bring the Yoruba
nation together . The people of
Yorubaland need to be united now
more than ever. People who are not on
our level of civilisation should not be
allowed to dominate us.”
Historians said in the days of yore , the
Aare Ona Kakanfo was the highest war
title bestowed on someone considered
to be brave and loyal to the Alaafin
and the Yoruba cause .
The late Olubadan of Ibadanland , Oba
I. B . Akinyemi , in his book titled , Iwe
Itan Ibadan, the holder of the title
bearer served as the Field Marshall
and Commander of the military arm of
the Oyo Empire.
According to him, the title symbolises
the power of the Oyo Empire, adding
that the holder of the title must not be
defeated in war. It is a taboo for an
Aare Ona Kakanfo to return from
battle defeated. He either wins the
battle or dies in the battlefield.
But now , when wars are no longer
there to be fought, the title has become
The last (14 th ) holder of the title,
Abiola and the holder before him, the
late Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola ,
were both politicians . They both died
in circumstances that could be likened
to the title they held .
According to the respected Yoruba
historian, the late Rev. Samuel
Johnson, in one of his works , the Aare
Ona Kakanfo at inauguration must
completely have his head shaved and
must undergo some strenuous rituals
to test his agility and ability to
withstand torture .
He stated that the title was said to
have been created between 16 th and
17 th centuries by Alaafin Ajagbo, who
was said to have reigned in Oyo- Ile ,
the then headquarters of the Oyo
Nation .
The first Aare Ona Kakanfo was
Kokorogangan from Iwoye Ketu .
Among those that have been Aare Ona
Kakanfo are Oyatope of Iwoye , Oyabi
of Ajase , Adeta of Jabata , Oku of
Jabata , Afonja of Ilorin , Toyeye of
Ogbomoso, Edun of Gbogun, Amepo of
Abemo, Kurunmi of Ijaye , Ojo
Aburumaku of Ogbomoso, Latosisa of
Ibadan, Ladoke Akintola of Ogbomoso
and MKO Abiola of Abeokuta .