The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, on yesterday said the National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress, Gani Adams, was chosen as the new Are Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland after considering his antecedents as a Yorubaman who had exhibited passion for defending his people, their culture and tradition.
According to the monarch, Adams did not pay him anything to be made the Are Ona Kakanfo, adding that wealth was not a requirement for the office.
Oba Adeyemi, it would be recalled, had issued a letter of appointment to the OPC coordinator as the Yoruba generalissimo, thereby succeeding the late MKO Abiola, who was the last person to occupy the position.
While reacting to the criticisms of the choice of Adams, the monarch explained that Adams might not possess the wealth and philanthropic strength of the late Abiola, but he was courageous and bold whenever he stepped forward to defend the Yoruba race.
He said, “The choice of Adams was well thought out before a decision was taken. You may not place him beside Abiola in terms of wealth and other great achievements of the former Are Ona Kakanfos among the Yoruba people and beyond, but Adams has shown enough charisma to deserve the honour.
“If you have been observing him in the past many years, Adams attends all Yoruba festivals, irrespective of where they are held. He also promotes our culture through so many means including his annual Olokun festival.
“I picked him because he loves the Yoruba race and all the culture and tradition of our people. He has contributed immensely to upholding them. Whenever he attends these festivals, he goes with a large entourage and financially, he is always responsible for the cost. He does not attend in order to benefit financially.
“He may be young but he is also very bold and courageous. These are traits synonymous with an Are Ona Kakanfo. Adams is a Yoruba cultural enthusiast. He defends the race anywhere he goes. Among his strengths is that he has strong supporters in every town in Yorubaland through his Oodua Peoples Congress.”
“Money or material wealth is not considered before choosing an Are Ona Kakanfo. Abiola promoted everything that had to do with Yoruba race. He was popular among his people and he was close to traditional rulers. So, Adams may not be as rich as Abiola but I can tell you he has all the qualities an Aare Ona Kakanfo should possess. He leads an organisation that is ever ready to defend the cause of the Yoruba race. Is there any Yorubaman that has such clout as Adams without being a politician today?” said the monarch.