Once again, Gani Adams comes under the spotlight. The circumstances of his re-emergence this time is however quite significant and unusual. Unlike in his faction of Oodua People’s Congress and other of its evolutionary mutants like The Olokun Festival where headships and appointments are internal concerns of the organizations and, to a large extent, subjects of his personal dictates and choice, the conferment on him of the highly valorous title of Aare Ona-Kakanfo of Yorubaland is coming from a quarter purportedly outside the reach of his immediate influence. The Alaafin of Oyo, a highly revered Yoruba king of imperial majesty, besides who no other is worthy of the eulogy “Iku Baba Yeye”, has the final say on such matters. The plethora of remarks, praises and questions hurled from the wider cross-section of the Yoruba Nation is therefore not unexpected given the far-reaching consequences of the appointment. How wise have the gods acted this time? The Aare Ona-Kakanfo, the generalissimo of the Yoruba traditional army, comparing in compliments and stature to a modern-day Field Marshall, is not an appointment that should just pass with a flip of the page.
Three main camps appear to have crystallized since the appointment became public knowledge. There is the Alaafin’s camp which initiated the conferment and must of necessity qualify its action as a product of the unquestionable wisdom of the ancients. The acts of the gods exist in a sphere prohibited to the prying eyes and scrutiny of mere mortals. ‘The gods are wise and infallible’, they retort. Very well. We can sympathize with the initiates of the palace council in this camp and relieve them of any intellectual reproof for tenaciously holding on to this wild fantasy; traditions and rituals can impose some burdensome clouds on a person’s capacity for independent judgment and clear thinking. What seems upsetting however is the ease with which most of those branding themselves as intellectuals and Marxists align themselves to this view. When people like this begin to counsel us to accept the decision of Oba Adeyemi II as his exclusive prerogative that must not be questioned, then we are heading for dangerous times. The Yoruba society didn’t evolve with a civilization and history as rich and resilient as we presently have without some questions boldly asked. The society has become so transcendental that mortals must begin to sit with the gods at a conference table. Ancient Oyo Empire has been through this page of silence conspiracy before and history tells us that when the right questions were not raised, for instance, during the era of Afonja Arogangan as the Aare Kakanfo, it has ever been an unpleasant experience the Yoruba Nation has had to live with.
Second, many of those who appear to raise criticisms on the recent appointment of Gani Adams as the 15th Aare Ona-Kakanfo of Yorubaland are either half-hearted in their attempts or grossly ill-equipped to do so. They are asking the wrong questions. And unfortunately, this is playing into the hands of Adam’s serve-serving chanters who are quick to dismiss such criticisms as irrelevant and of no consequence. These critics loudly provoke questions on the diversionary issues of age and wealth. They make references to the profiles of past holders of the title such as Chief MKO Abiola and Chief Ladoke Akintola against whom Gani Adams does not measure in all standards. For me this smacks of hypocrisy and it’s really a cheap attempt at deflecting opinion and enquiries on issues of greater importance: first, the character of the person of Gani Adams and second, the history of OPC under him as rival president of the organization. When has age or wealth become the ideals by which the Yoruba measure the Omoluabi ethos anyway?
Gani Adams has evidently transformed from that skinny, belligerent, foot soldier of the hay days of Campaign for Democracy and NADECO in 1994, traversing his many audacious shaves with the Establishment as an OPC militant to assume his present image of peace ambassador, culture enthusiast, billionaire-philanthropist, mega-contractor and leader of throngs of people ferried in chauffeur-driven SUVs. How much of this quantitative transformation of the exterior has been engineered by real, qualitative development of personal character, genuine commitment to the values and virtues we hold dear as advocates of human liberty and true progress remains to be interrogated. Essentially, it is important to interrogate what informed the decision of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi II, the Alaafin of Oyo, on the choice of Gani Adams as Generalissimo of Yoruba traditional army especially in the light of credible history, of the weight of the office of Aare Ona-Kakanfo and the influence it commands. To suppress such critical attitude of scientific enquiries under the lid of traditions and rituals does not belong to this age and time. It cannot in any way help to construct the spirit of the future.
I have been informed that one of the major considerations in the appointment is Adam’s profile as OPC leader. That is excellent. There can be no greater consideration really because that is Gani Adams essentially and not the later rarefied image of promoter of Olokun Festival and politician that he is fast becoming. But believe me, there are many living credible persons, lieutenants who marched with Gani Adams, those who propped him up and fired up his spirit when they observed in him what appeared to be a ferocious and undiluted commitment to the singular mission of OPC: the actualization of Oduduwa Republic by all means necessary. Do we require consultations with the Ifa Oracle to know what has become of OPC today? There are a handful of human oracles outside the sacred chambers of the Oyo Palace who would have willingly offered objective consultations to the Alaafin on this particular matter. These are those who should sit with the gods at a roundtable of decisions. And really, at moment of moral crisis such as we are in, necessity is laid upon the shoulders of the likes of Evangelist Kunle Adesokan, his erstwhile General Secretary, Kayode Ogundamisi, Adewale Balogun, Kunle Adesope, Alhaji Lawal and many others who are the most competent leaders to run commentaries on Gani Adams and the OPC narratives.
And to the third camp. Those who have the competence and qualifications to make comments on Gani Adams certainly do not include politicians likes of governors Ayo Fayose and Ibikunle Amosu and the other self-serving praise-singers. Yes, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has sent a congratulatory message. He was there all while, in the thickness of the struggles that started with NADECO as well as the all the activities that gave birth to Gani Adams. And to the best of his abilities, he showed some commitments to what we valued. But with 2019 around the corner and all the political re-configurations that are most likely to happen, can we really trust any politician whose primary concern is how to garner the largest number of votes? Do these politicians think that we should all tremble under their pronouncements because they are governors or members of Nigerian political class?
Finally, people are also raising questions as regards Gani Adams’ true lineage and origin. All of a sudden, he is now being addressed as Otunba Gani IGE ABIODUN Adams. Really? Where had these middle names disappeared to all this while in the address of a culture enthusiast who is so passionate and proud of his Yoruba heritage? These are questions that need to be asked rather than being suppressed. Who says the gods are infallible anyway?