Adams: As Aare, i will wage unity, not war
On October 18, 2017, the Alaafin of Oyo, HRM Lamidi Adeyemi, took the Yoruba nation by storm with the announcement that the National Coordinator of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams, is the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land.
The Palace Watch asked Gani Adams what qualifies him for the title of Aare Ona Kakanfo of Youruba land at a relatively young age of 47 and whether he is in a position to compare his life achievements with that of Chief Akintola and Abiola.
Otunba Gani Adams: Much as I acknowledge the immense contributions people like Akintola and Abiola made to Yoruba race and Nigeria in general, I have also made my own contributions, which nobody can wish away. Chief Akintola was a politician of note, while Chief Abiola was a businessman and politician, who made lot of contribution in the area of business, and made great sacrifices in the area of politics. I have also made my own contribution in the areas of Yoruba culture and defending the general interest of Yoruba people. No matter what people might want to say, I have devoted all my life promoting Yoruba traditional religion, thus making it a reference point in global circles. I was the one that formed Olokun Festival Foundation, now well-known the world over. I am also behind the Gani Adams Foundation (GAF). My contribution to the continued growth of Osun Osogbo, Oke-Ibadan and Ifa Festivals are there for everyone to see. And these are no little contributions to Yoruba wellbeing.
For example, I singlehandedly formed the Oodua Progressives Union (OPU), a separate body from OPC, because of the need to sustain the Yoruba identity. OPU is not aimed at self-determination, but a socio-cultural organisation. As we speak, we are already in about 87 countries across the globe. This is aimed at making Yoruba people all over the world to return home and invest in their places of birth and Nigeria, as this is one of the ways of contributing to the development of Nigeria.
Palace Watch: Did you take the title in preparation for any event that may force the Yoruba people to go to war?
Otunba Adams: NO! The Yoruba are not warmongers. If we ever have reason(s) to go into agitation, war is not usually our option. We have better ways and manner of marshalling our points to get whatever results we desire. I was not made an Aare Ona Kakanfo because Yoruba people are preparing for war. No, that is not the point or reason.
Palace Watch: Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu sent congratulatory message to you as the new Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land. Have you settled your political differences with him? What is Obasanjo’s reaction to your appointment?
Gani Adams: One thing you must know is that we are Yoruba people. I know how to resolve whatever differences I might have with Tinubu and Obasanjo at the right time. As Yoruba people, we do not harbour unnecessary malice, when there are very important matters to be settled. A practical example of what I am trying to say here is this: Before both leaders resolved to make Muhammadu Buhari President, Tinubu and Obasanjo never saw eye-to-eye in matters of politics. But when the presidency issue of General Buhari came up, they buried the hatchet and forged ahead to help Buhari realise his longtime dream. This is the way we Yoruba operate. When the interests of these two leaders coincided, they had no other option than to work together. You are asking whether or not I can work with the likes of Tinubu and Obasanjo as Aare. Let me make it clear that these men are my brothers. Not only that, they are two very important personalities, not just in Yoruba land, but also in Nigeria and Africa. So, when one desires unity, one has to prepare and must be ready to make whatever sacrifices that might be required. And this is exactly what I am ready to do. And if you are ready and willing to bring your race together, you must be ready to do whatever it takes to achieve that. So, I have no iota of doubt in my mind that these two great sons of Yoruba land will do whatever it takes to bring me into their fold, just like I will do my very best to encourage them, as their younger brother.
Palace Watch: As a generalissimo, if there is truly any reason(s) to prosecute a war in Yoruba land today, are you ready to put your life on the line?
Gani Adams: Well, when we get there, we shall discuss that. But for now, there is no war in Yoruba land and as such, answering this question is unnecessary. I would not want to create the impression that I am a warmonger. As the Aare designate, I would want to plead with the Yoruba people generally to take the cause of unity very seriously. Unity, as they say, is strength, and once we adopt this attitude to things, we are surely going to achieve a lot as a people. What we need now to move forward as a people is nothing but unity. This is, therefore, the time for the Yoruba race to enter more into businesses and in the process, ensuring their areas of birth are developed.