Akure, the Ondo State capital, witnessed a gathering of people who trooped out from far and near to honour the recently-installed Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, who was hosted by the state government, traditional rulers, Afenifere and friends at a grand reception at the Dome. HAKEEM GBADAMOSI reports the uniqueness of the gathering to the cause of the Yoruba nation.
Ondo State indigenes from all walks of life, last weekend, dismissed the popular saying that a prophet does not have honour in his native home, as they gathered at the International Event Center (The Dome), Akure, the state capital, to honour the newly-installed Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, who hails from Arigidi Akoko in the Akoko North East Local Government Area of the state.
The grand reception and thanksgiving service, which was put together by friends, well wishers and close associates of the newly installed Aare Ona Kakanfo, was well attended by various groups within and outside the state, including leaders of the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, traditional rulers, leaders of various ethnic groups in the state, including Ndigbo and Arewa.
The chairman of the Aare Grand Reception Planning Committee, Bakita Bello, said the reception became important to honour the Yoruba generalissimo who hails from the state, as he remained the first Aare OnaKakanfo to be installed from the state by the Alaafin of Oyo, His Royal Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III.
According to Bello, “We all know, recognise and respect Aare Gani Adams as a courageous advocate of cultural renaissance, a frontline defender of the interest of the Yoruba and Nigerian people at home and in the diaspora and a brave indefatigable son of Arigidi – Akoko, Ondo State.
“The reception is to enable us appreciate, celebrate and thank Aare Gani Adams for being such an illustrious scion and worthy ambassador of our state and race.”
Speaking during the reception, the leader of Afenifere and the chairman on the occasion, Pa Rueben Fasoranti, appreciated the Alaafin of Oyo for the honour bestowed on Adams, saying the honour was for the people of the state and for the entire Yoruba race.
The Afenifere leader said he had known the new Aare Ona Kakanfo for his dedication, determination and commitment to the cause of the Yoruba race since his days as the leader of the Odua People’s Congress. He, however, called on the new Aare Ona Kakanfo to use his position to bring unity and unequal development to Yoruba land.
Also speaking, the guest speaker, Senator Banji Akintoye, said the new Aare represented the strength and unity of Yorubaland. He said the position was to impact strength into the Yoruba nation and urged Adams not to allow any group to intimidate the Yoruba nation. He stated that the Yoruba nation did not deserve the several attacks on its people by killers herdsmen and called for special intervention of the new Yoruba generalissimo.
A special guest at the occasion and a leader of Akure community, Barrister Ifedayo Adedipe, also said the honour bestowed on Adams was well deserved, saying the new Aare Onakakanfo title for Gani Adams was a round peg in a round hole. He called on the Yoruba people to defend themselves, saying it was high time for self defence and urged the entire people of Yoruba race to think twice before voting for any politician, saying, “we should open our eyes before choosing any leader to represent us. Our leaders should stop taking us for granted.”
The Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, described Aare Adams as a visionary leader and leader of leaders who never hid his passion for the unity and development of Yorubaland. The traditional ruler called on Adams to keep the flag flying, urging him to continue working towards the unity of Yoruba race. “Keep defending and uniting our land and I am assuring you of our support,” he said.
Oba Aladelusi also called on other leaders of the land to emulate Aare Adams in defending the Yoruba nation, urging them to jettison selfish interest and come together to support the new developmental agenda of the Yoruba race.
The Zaki of Arigidi Akoko, Oba Yisa Olanipekun, described the installation of Adams as the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland as a sign of good things to come to the town, the state and Yorubaland in general. He prayed for unequal development in Yourubaland during the reign of the new Aare Ona Kakanfo, urging Adams to see to the unity of all the people of Yoruba nation.
The state deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi, who represented the state governor, also urged the new Aare Ona Kakanfo to give priority to the unity and development of Yorubaland. He called on all traditional rulers across the Yoruba nation to give their support to Adams to ensure and accelerate development in the South West. He urged Adams to ensure that “Yoruba must not be relegated to the background in 2019. You must work towards supporting and positioning the Yoruba nation in its rightful place in 2019.
The Aare Ona Kakanfo, in his response, said “I am delighted to be here today in this gathering of eminent personalities. In fact, my joy knows no bound because this is the first official outing to my state of origin, Ondo, after my installation as the Aare Ona Kakanfo by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, in January.” He appreciated the state government for the honour.
Adams appreciated all the leaders of the land for their words of encouragement and advice, saying, “I have listened to speeches of our leaders and I have no doubt in my mind that the quest to ensure that our country becomes a giant, politically and economically, is of paramount importance as ever.
“From what I have gathered today, it is obvious that we all love this country. Nobody can take that love away because this is the only country that we have. We will not allow anybody, no matter how highly placed, to turn us to second class citizens in our country.”
He, however, advocated for the restructuring of Nigeria, urging the country’s leaders to embrace restructuring, saying, restructuring of the country remained the only way out of the political and economic quagmire the Nigeria was experiencing.
“Politically and economically, the world continuously witnesses transformation across countries. In Nigeria, the situation should not be different. Of course, changing a country is not a task for the lily-livered but historically, and as the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, I know for sure that Yoruba leaders have a record of not succumbing to machinations of ‘enemies of the society’.
“Obviously, there is nothing impossible for the determined mind. One thing I am sure of is that the Yoruba, as a bloc in Nigeria, are determined to ensure that this country is equitably restructured,” he said.
Expressing optimism that the country would be restructured, Adams said “there is no going back because that is the only way this country can survive. Nigeria is going through various crises today because some leaders are stubbornly against restructuring. But I want to assure this gathering that by God’s grace, whether now or in the future, this country will be restructured.
“There is no way we can guarantee peace and security if this country is not restructured. If this country is restructured in a way that every locality controls the instrumentality of security, the wanton killings of Nigerians will stop automatically.
“If this country is restructured economically, no finance commissioner will be going to Abuja every month to collect pittance in the name of monthly allocation.
“If this country is restructured equitably, the current revenue sharing formula in which the Federal Government collects 52.68 per cent of centrally-collected revenues in the Federation Account, leaving states and local governments with 26.72 per cent and 20.60 per cent will stop.
“If this country is restructured politically, responsible politicking, through independent candidature, will be introduced into our polity which will automatically knock out godfatherism from our politics.
“To have an egalitarian society, restructuring is the answer. We want Nigeria to survive as a nation. That is why we are agitating that Nigeria must be restructured and our political and economic powers must derive legitimacy from the people.”
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