Though i am not Yoruba, i however feel constrained to comment on the appointment of Chief Gani Adams as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland. For the benefit of non-yorubas like me who may not understand what and who the Aare Ona Kakanfo is, permit me to elucidate a bit.
In the Ancient Oyo Empire, they operated a form of federal structure long before the coming of the Europeans. The head was the Alaafin who was supported by the Oyomesi which was the ruling council headed by the Bashorun who is the Prime Minister. They also had the Eshos who were responsible for maintaining law and order in the society. The Ogboni Society acted as judges who not only settled disputes but were responsible for ensuring that the customs and traditions of the land were upheld. The Aare Ona Kakanfo was the Generalissimo. He was the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. He lived outside the capital city and anytime he entered the capital the Alaafin had to abdicate his position as that is tantamount to a coup d’etat. Furthermore, he was expected to be a brave and fearless warrior who must never suffer defeat in battle else he must voluntarily commit suicide.
In today’s 21st century, where we no longer have kingdoms but countries, republics and states, the Aare Ona Kakanfo is largely a symbolic and ceremonial office. That does not however, diminish the importance of the title as it is expected that the holder must be someone who is cerebral, charismatic, courageous and selfless as he is representing one of the most advanced races in the world whose tentacles spread as far as Brazil and Cuba. The last two holders of the title Chief Ladoke Akintola, Former Premier of the Western Region and Chief M.K.O Abiola, businessman, philanthropist and the presumed winner of the June 12 1993 Presidential elections were titans who despite their flaws gave their all to their people.
The appointment of Chief Gani Adams as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo has left a sour taste in the mouth of many yorubas. This is because he largely epitomizes everything that is the anti-thesis of what is expected of the holder of that office. As the leader of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), he unleashed a reign of terror on his people killing, maiming, and carrying out extra-judicial killings which prompted the Former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to proscribe the group in the year 2000. Obasanjo also went ahead to label the group as a terrorist organization and gave the security agencies a mandate to shoot-at-sight any OPC member they found. This same Gani Adams was charged to court for treason in 2007. In the last general elections in 2015, he openly supported the Peoples Democratic Party and Former President Goodluck Jonathan. He paraded his members on Ikorodu road in Lagos wielding dangerous weapons like guns, sticks, knives, charms,amulets and dressed in hoods and balaclavas in order to intimidate Lagosians not to support the All Progresssive Congress. But he failed woefully.
The Yorubas have now become a laughing stock in the eyes of other tribes and ethnic groups in Nigeria because they have given a revered position meant for enigmatic and larger than life personalities to a Lilliputian. However, all hope is not lost as the recent reversal of the goodwill ambassadorial appointment given to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe by the World Health Organization (W.H.O) has shown that there is indeed no decision that is irreversible in this world.