Otunba Gani Adams has revealed how he became the Yoruba Generallisimo (Aare Ona Kakanfo.
Adams, who would be celebrating one year in office, said that “the first person who joked with me about being a generalissimo was the late chief Gani Fawehinmi. Whenever we were together, he would call me ‘generalissimo.’ At that time, I didn’t know the role of a generalissimo.”
“It was about a day, may be May 23, that I went with a large delegation and told him that I was interested in this position based on the opinions of Yoruba people which I studied for a period of five months. Out of four people that were being featured on social media, I realised that I was rated about 70 per cent. After consulting with my friends and wife, about 90 per cent of them supported me, insisting that I would be useful for this position,” he added.
Speaking in an interview with Nigerian Tribune, Arigidi-Akoko born activist explained that “the journey to the office of the Aare Ona Kakanfo started in January 2017 when the Alaafin of Oyo was hosting the Oodua Progressive Union World Congress. That was when I moved closer to my destiny. I was encouraged by Yeyewande Grange, who happened to be closer to the Alaafin. After the event, she said she overheard that I had a group which has representations in 77 countries.
“They rolled out my profile at the event; after the programme, she asked why I was not vying for the position of Aare Ona Kakanfo. I was so reluctant. We argued for about two hours. Then I asked her to tell kabiyesi about the issue since she was close to him. After the third day, she came back and said kabiyesi insisted that I discussed it with him. I couldn’t go to kabiyesi for five months until after my birthday ceremony when one of the chiefs to Alaafin told the musicians at the event to start praise singing me as Aare Ona Kakanfo. That was the first day I developed interest in contesting the position. I saw that what they were singing in my praise was not bad. That was the day I picked interest. It was on May 1st 2017.”
Revealing that he didn’t bribe the Alaafin to be considered, he disclosed that “Anybody who has studied His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Atanda Olayiwola Adeyemi III, the Alaafin of Oyo, will know that he is a man of integrity. He is an intellectual in all ramifications. He understands Yoruba land very well.
“There is no one that has become the Alaafin for a period of 10 to 20 years that would never be a billionaire and before the kabiyesi became the Alaafin in 1971— I was at his 80th birthday— kabiyesi was worth nothing less than €300,000. You know how much that meant then. As a stock broker, and as an insurance guru and as somebody that worked in real estate becoming an oba, he is an achiever. He is someone that is careful in protecting his integrity and his name, so giving him money for me to become Aare Ona Kakanfo is out of it completely. How much did I have to give to kabiyesi to become Aare Ona Kakanfo? I am an activist; I am a promoter of culture. You can’t count me as a money bag. You can’t count me as a very big businessman. The issue of giving him money did not arise at all.
“Until October 15, 2017, I did not go to kabiyesi. He asked me to send my profile. I did. Kabiyesi carried out consultations for a period of five months. After full consultations, he handed me a letter of proclamation on October 15th.”