A new chapter will open in the history of the Yoruba tomorrow as the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, confers the title of Aare Ona Kankanfo on the National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams, in Oyo, the capital of the old Oyo Empire. Group Political Editor of The Nation Newspaper, Emmanuel Oladesu writes on the ascendancy, politics, battles, and exploits of the previous holders of the title and the tragedies that drew the curtains on their lives.
Oyo will be aglow tomorrow with festivities. Eminent Nigerians will be hosted in the capital of the old empire by the foremost traditional ruler, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Layiwola Atanda Adeyemi, for the installation of the 15th Aare Ona Kankanfo of Yorubaland, Otunba Ganiyu Adams, the National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC).
The man of valour will put on the ageless costume and receive the ’invincible’ staff of war, which are the insignias of the ancient title. Other badges, which he will take home, are the Ojijiko, a cap made of the red feathers of the parrot’s tail, with a projection behind reaching as far down as the waist; an apron of leopard’s skin, a leopard’s skin to sit on always, and the asiso or pigtail.
The Iku BabaYeye will pour his royal blessings on the new Generalisimo at the sacred ceremony, which will be coordinated by the Oyomesi, the Esos, Ilaris, the members of the Ogboni, Osugbo, and Awo’pa. The historic event will be witnessed by monarchs, statesmen, politicians, top government officials, captains of industry, leaders of self-determination groups, and women and youth groups.
But, there will be an omission. Alayeluwa Adeyemi will not send Aare Adams to any war, unlike his predecessors. In peace time, the Aare Ona Kankanfo is a honorary title bestowed on valiant men worthy of the honour. His headship of the Esos pales into symbolism. He is still revered as the Commander. But, there is no more organised Yoruba military force.
According to observers, the position is a befitting reward for Adams’ principled defense of Yoruba interest, culture and heritage. Although the OPC coordinator cannot not be on the same pedestal with his illustrious predecessors, he is perceived as a house hold name in Yorubaland who has fought for his race. Although he may not measure up to their giant traditional, military, economic and political stature, Kankanfo Adams, in a modern clime, has displayed a rare courage and resilience as a focused self-determination champion worthy of emulation and pride in Yorubaland.
The Alaafin is the only traditional ruler in Yorubaland who has the power and authority to bestow the title. His choice and decision are not subject to debate. They are unquestionable. The exclusive right may place the highly revered monarch in an undeniable and enviable position as the King of Yorubas, to the envy of those obsa who pose as his rivals.
Adams is now in the rare class of Yoruba nobility by tradition. His seniors in the Oyo of yore were the Oyomesi, led by the Basorun. In the defunct Oyo Empire, he Basorun or Osorun and his colleagues-Agbakin, Samu, Alapinin, Laguna, Akiniku and Asipa, inherited their titles by birth. But, the eminent historian and priest, Samuel Johnson, described the title of Aare Ona Kankanfo as “a reward of merit alone.” Only brave warriors were eligible and they were seen to be capable of holding forth in battles. “It is a title akin to a field marshal, and is conferred upon the greatest soldier and tactician of the day,” he added.
History was made in Yorubaland when the title was created by Alaafin Ajagbo, who succeeded Oba Obalokun. As a tradition, the Aare must not live in the capital with the Alaafin. Reality later dawned on the monarch that he had created the most powerful office outside royalty that could even dare the throne. He knew that no Kankanfo will dare destroy Oyo. But, other towns and villages were vulnerable to his onslaught. Therefore, Oba Ajagbo decreed that under no circumstance should any Kankanfo wage war against Iwere, his mother’s town. From time immemorial, it became a taboo.
The first holder of the prestigious title was Kokorogangan, a native of Iwoye. The rites of installation underscored the spiritual seriousness of a title, whose holder is sustained by the black power, juju, before shouldering the heavy and delicate responsibilities of the shoulders of the Aare. After going through the rites, he becomes more daring, brave, bolder, permanently warlike and most dangerous. Putting this into perspective, Rev. Johnson stated: “Like the Ilaris, at the time of his taking office, he is first to shave his head completely, and 201 incisions are made on his occiput, with 201 different lancets and specially prepared ingredients from 201 viols are rubbed into the cuts, one for each.
“This is supposed to render him fearless and courageous. They are always shaved, but the hair on the inoculated part is allowed to grow long, and when plaited, forms a tuft or a sort of pigtail. Kankanfos are generally stubborn and obstinate. They have all been more or less troublesome, due to the effects of the ingredients they were inoculated with.
“In war, they carry no weapon, but a baton known as the “king’s invincible staff.” It is generally u8nderstood that they are to give way to no one, not even to the king, their master. Hence, Kankanfos are never created in the capital, but in any town in the kingdom.
“There can be only one Kankanfo at a time. By virtue of his office, he is to go to war once in three years to whatever place the king named, and, dead or alive, to return home a victor, or be brought home a corpse within three months.”
So fearful and awful were the installation rites and spiritual responsibilities associated with the title that a cleric and former Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Isaac Babalola Akinyele, prayed in his book: ‘The History of Ibadan,’ that no Ibadan indigene should ever bag the title again.
In the days of war, Yoruba had 12 Kankanfos. Kokorogangan’s successors were Otatope, also from Iwoye, Oyabi of Ajase, Adeta of Jabata, Oku, also a native of Jabata, and Afonja of Ilorin. Others were Toyeje, a native of Ogbomoso, Edun of Gbogun, Amepo of Abemo, Kurumi of Ijaye, Ojo Aburumaku of Ogbomoso and Iyanda Asubiaro Latosa of Ibadan.
Indeed, these Kankanfos were associated with the long periods of turbulence and upheavals in Yorubaland. All Kankanfos were great men of valour. But, the most famous were Afoja, Toyeje, Kurumi, Ojo Aburumaku, who because he had no war to fight, instigated a civil war in his native Ogbomoso, which he also repressed with vigour, and Latoosa Asubiaro, the legendary military leader of Ibadan, who waged war against Ekitiparapo for 16 years.
In modern times, the title was resuscitated by Alaafin Gbadegesin Ladigbolu, who in August 1964 bestowed it on the embattled Premier of the defunct Western Region, the late Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola. He was killed during the military coup of January 15, 1966. In 1988, Oba Adeyemi conferred the title on Chief Moshood Abiola, shortly after he was made the Basorun of Ibadan by the Olubadan, Oba Oloyede Asanike.
Instructively, both in ancient and modern times, all the Aare Ona Kankanfos died in tragic circumstances. They ended their lives in violence.
Throughout history, Kankanfos took orders from the Suzerain, the creator of the title. But, there was usually rivalry between some Alaafins and their Generalisimos. Alaafin Abiodun Adegoolu had a different battle, not with Kankanfo, but, with the powerful Basorun Gaa, who he defeated with the special assistance of Oyabi. Peace returned to Oyo. But, due to his precarious health condition, Oyabi, the architect of that peace, died two years later on his way to Oyo, where he had been invited by Oba Abiodun for special honours.
Afonja hailed from Ilorin, a town founded by his great grandfather, Laderin, who was succeeded by his son, Pasin. Pasin surprised many when he opposed Basorun Gaa, the most ruthless Basorun Oyo ever had. He was slain on the order of the angry Basorun, who brooked no oposition. After his demise, his son, Alagbin, ruled the town before passing the baton to his son, Afonja.
When Abiodun died, he was succeeded by his cousin, Aole. A restless Afoja, a prince through his mother, who was a descendant of Alaafin, demanded to be made Kankanfo by force. Since he knew that he could not become an oba, he took solace in the highest military title. After granting his request, the Alaafin instigated war in Apomu, which he commanded Afonja to destroy because the Baale of Apomu had offended him when he was a young prince by exposing him to the ridicule of public flogging, following his involvement in slave trade. The Baale ran to Owoni (Ooni) of Ife, who could not save him. Later, he committed suicide, and his head was cut off and sent to the Alaafin to appease him.
Aole’s next enemy was Afoja, his kinsman. He proclaimed a war, directing Afonja to embark on military expedition to Iwere. The aim was to make the warrior from Ilorin to run fool of the tradition so that the curse of Ajagbo can be on him. The senior military officers who accompanied him-Basorun, Samu, Alapinni and the Opele of Gbogun and Adegun, the Onikoyi of Ikoyi-were taking aback on sighting the hilly town of Iwere. They berated Afonja for a shortfall in historic perception. Sensing that Aole deliberately wanted to kill him, he collided with the chiefs by asking the Alafin to ‘open a calabash’ (to commit suicide). Aole refused, but the soldiers, led by Afonja invaded Oyo, killing the Alaafin.
Subsequently, Afonja grew wings and declared his independence from Oyo. Following his declaration of revolution, he was disconnected from the capital. The Kankanfo also reorganised his army. That later became his undoing. To secure his territory, he discharged many Yoruba from his army and recruited Fulani soldiers, led by Alimi. The foreigners were called jamas. They were outstanding soldiers on horses imported into the Yoruba territory of Ilorin. Later, they were rebellious; disloyal to Afonja and only loyal to Alimi. They plundered Yoruba towns and villages, harassed their hosts and rebuffed Afonja’s warnings. The suspicion grew into open hostility, which heralded war over the control of Ilorin. Having severed relations with his kith and kin in Yorubaland, especially the mighty men of war who were his allies before his historic rebellion against Aole and his successors, Maku, Adebo and Majotu, Afonja could not secure the collective support of Yoruba to send the foreigners packing. The strongman of Ilorin paid dearly for his treachery. The supremacy of Afonja as the overlord was contested by the interlopers. In the battle between Afonja forces and jamas, led by Alimi, Afonja fell before his conqueror and the political control of Ilorin passed on to Alimi’s descendants to this day. Alimi was succeeded by his son, Abdulsalami, who became the first Emir of Ilorin.
Reminiscing on the tragedy of Ilorin, Samuel said: “Ilorin now passed into the hands of foreigners, the Fulanis, who had been invited as friends and allies. These being far more astute than the Yorubas, having studies their weak points and observed their misrule, planned to grasp the whole kingdom into their own hands by playing one chief against another and weakening the whole. Their more generous treatment of the fallen foes and artful method of conciliating a power they could not openly crush, marked them out as a superior people in the art of government.”
When Afonja died, Toyeje, his Otun (the commander of the right) and Baale of Ogbomoso, was promoted to the post of Kankanfo. He made an attempt to liberate Ilorin, but without success.
Aare Edun, the head of Gbogun town, incurred the wrath of the Emir of Ilorin, Abdulsalami, by refusing to pay allegiance to him. Knowing that Ikoyi had become a vassalage of Ilorin, Edun regarded the town as his enemy and threatened its ruler, Siyenbola. The Aare proposed the destruction of Ikoyi, if it was not deserted, claiming that it was dangerous to have an Ilorin base close to his own territory. But, when Ilorin soldiers invaded Gbogun, the town fell. Edun first escaped to Gbodo, but was later overtaken. The people of Yoruba town of Gbodo wanted to save the life of the fallen General. But, his pursuers insisted that he must die, saying: “If you allow him to escape, your lives will go for his life as you will show yourselves thereby to be an enemy to the Emir of Ilorin.” But, Edun fought bravely before he was overwhelmed by the Ilorin forces. He was beheaded in the presence of his son, Oduewu, who later purchased the head for a decent burial to save himself from disgrace.
Edun was succeeded by Amepo. After him came Kurumi, the great warrior from Ijaye. Prince Atiba, who was scheming to be the Alaafin, had promised the two most powerful war chiefs, Oluyole of Ibadan and Kurumi, the titles of Basorun and Kankanfo during the Eleduwe war. When he ascended the throne after the death of Alaafin Oluewu, he fulfilled the promises. Therefore, for the first time, the Basorun of Oyo lived outside the capital.
Historians described Kurumi as a bloodthirsty tyrant. When he became the Aare, he put his rivals to death. People feared him more than the gods. Thus, in his days, Yoruba came up with a proverb: “Aare n pe o, o nda’fa. B’ifa re fo re, bi Aare fo ibi nko?” (You receive Aare’s summons and you are divining with your Ifa. What if Ifa is propitious and the Aare is not?) For the least offence, Kurumi will order the execution of the offender and the plundering of his house. He was a terror to the aristocrats. But, he granted redress and liberty to the poor.
However, crisis broke out between Kurumi and Oluyole. Oluyoye, who was scheming to become Alaafin, demanded that Kurumi should acknowledge his superiority by coming to Ibadan to pay homage to him. When the Kankanfo put to death all those captured from Balogun Oderinlo of Ibadan’s camp during the expedition on Oyo farms, Oluyole raised a siege on Ijaye. But, Oluyole died before Kurumi, having fallen from his horse at home and taken ill.
When Atiba died, he was succeeded by his son, Adelu, who was acknowledged as king by all, except Kurumi. In the opinion of Kurumi, Aremo Adelu should have died with his father according to custom. But, Atiba had abrogated the law that the Aremo should die along with his father. Although Alaafin Adelu was conciliatory, Kurumu was adamant. The death of a rich lady, Abu, intestate at Ijanna, a town under Ijaye, was the camel that broke the horse’s back. According to custom, her property should revert to the Crown since she had no child. The town was divided between loyalty to the Alaafin and Kurumi. The messengers of the king who were asked to bring the treasure to Oyo were attacked by Kurumi’s troops at Apata Maba, near Oke’ho, and they dispersed. They were later taken captive. Adelu requested the Aare to release his messengers, but, he refused. The king, who secured the military assistance of Ibadan, declare war against Ijaye.
Kurumi became vulnerable, having eliminated his peers and forbidden any Ijaye chief to accumulate ammunitions before the war. During the war, he ran short of magazines. In fact, he was fighting against the younger people, whose fathers were his compatriots. Resorting to bows and arrows, the Ijayes lost ground rapidly. But, they regained their strength for a while. Later, the Ijaye forces were on edge again. Five of Kurumi’s sons, including his first son, Arawole, were captured and slain by Ogunmola of Ibadan at Iwawun, to the consternation of Balogun Ibikunle, who still held Kurumi in high esteem, despite his attitude. Later, in distress, Kurumi regretted his action against Adelu. He was devastated by the death of his sons during the battle. His town was enduring famine. Dejected and disillusioned, he died of a broken heart in June 1861. His corpses were buried by Abogunrin, the most senior among his slaves, in secret. Also, the two slaves who dug his grave were killed so that the spot might not be disclosed. But, later, the place was found and the skull of the deceased Kankanfo was taken to Alaafin, according to custom.
Latosa was the military leader who actualised Ibadan’s expansionist agenda. He was a lover of conquest. When the mantle of leadership fell on the war monger, he declined to take the title of Basorun, Balogun and Baale of Ibadanland. Instead, he requested for the title of Aare Ona Kankanfo. It was a direct challenge to Ojo Aburumaku, the holder of the title. But, Aburumaku’s shortcoming was that he never led a major war. Latosa obtained the insignia, Ojiko, from the king with two slaves. But, he declined to wear it. He preferred that his favourite slave should wear it in front of him during wars.
Latosa was a hero of many wars. He excelled in battles. But, he envied the fame of two famous families; Ibikunke and Ogunmola, a fact that prompted him to struggle for the title. He was Ogunmola’s captain of guards when Ogunmola was the Otun Balogun of Ibadan. He was not born with silver spoon in his mouth. Hence, he was always striving to reject that label of inferiority. He had craving for greatness.
As the ruler of Ibadan, Latosa believed that the hinterlands, particularly Ife, Ijesa, Ekiti, Akoko and others should serve Ibadan. He succeeded in imposing Ayikiti as the Ooni of Ife in 1877, despite his lack of popularity. Latosa appointed Ajeles (Residents) for some of these towns and demanded tributes. The Residents were reckless and dictatorial. In Okemesi Ekiti, Ajele Awopetu oppressed the people. Despite the reports of his atrocities, the Aare ignored the complaints. That gave Awopetu the license to cross his boundary by sexually abusing the wife of Prince Fabunmi, a warrior who was trained by Ibadan military officers. In a fit of anger, Fabunmi severed the head of the Resident. Ekiti and Ijesa soldiers decided to put a stop to Ibadan’s overbearing influence.
When Latosa declared war against the Ekiti Parapo forces under Ogedengbe from Ilesa and Fabunmi of Okemesi, little did he think that the Kiriji war will last for 16 years. Except the Ewi of Ado and Oba of Ikere, who did not directly participate in the war because the two towns were also at war, all Ijesa, Ekiti and Akoko monarchs pulled resources together. The Ajero Asotemaru of Ijero, the Owore (Oore) of Otun and the Olojudo of Ido even relocated to the seat of war at Imesi-Ile, although they did not go to the war camp. Fabunmi’s soldier-compatriots included Faboro of Ido and Fajembola. Prominent warriors from Efon Kingdom who fought during the war included Okirikiribata, a descendant of the Aro of Obalu Quarters, Balogun Agada, Elejofi Ganganbiri, and Jogunosimi Elemikan. According to historians, Balogun Aduloju and Hasstrop of Ilesa sent arms to the Ekiti alliance.
The onus to mediate between the Ibadan and Ekiti forces fell on Derin Ologbenla, Baale of Oke Igbo, who had become the Ooni-elect. Both camps agreed to end the protracted war. But, the bone of contention was which camp was to depart from the battle field first. Negotiations broke down. The war dragged on, prompting Latosa, whose son, Sanusi, had mocked Ibadan soldiers for not recording early enough, thus causing disaffection and loss of morale on the battle front. The Aare was invited to come and take command of the Ibadan army in person. Being a Kankanfo, he had no option than to respond to the call. He thus obtained permission from the Alaafin to go to the battle front, boasting that he will return home victorious in 17 days. Being a despot, his war chiefs, who were far junior to him, actually had a resolve to humble his pride.
When Ogedengbe had that the Aare was coming, he sent emissaries to him twice to know whether the news was actually true. He had an oath never to fight against Latosa, one of his former trainers at Ibadan. But, Latosa arrogantly dare the Ijesa warlord to wait for his waterloo. Ogedengbe was captured, but the soldiers commanded by Akintola, the younger brother of Iyapo, allowed him to escape.
On May 4, 1880, Latosa led the host to the battle field. His allies fought gallantly, but they did not want him to win and take glory. While there was a semblance of division among Ibadan forces, the united Ekiti/Ijesa/Efon/Akoko forces mounted a firm resistance. There were heavy casualties on both sides. Ekiti guns boommed, sounding like Ki-ri-ji-i. Latosa failed to end the war in 60 days.
On October 9, 1881, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Adeyemi, the grandfather of the current Alaafin, started making moves to seek the assistance of the missionaries and colonial masters to end the conflict. The king sent a letter to Lt-Governor Brandford Griffiths in Lagos and Rev. J.B Wood, Secretary of the Church Missionary Society (CMS), requesting them to assist in ending the war. He was worried that his empire was about perishing in war. “Humanity forbids me to be indifferent to hundreds of lives perishing daily,” he told the visiting missionaries and officials in his palace.
That the Aare could not end the war quickly as promised was humiliating. Thus, he lost relevance. Technically, he ceased to be the Aare. Also, Latosa was accused of being responsible for the death of many great men, who could rival him. He died on the battle field ingloriously in 1885, shortly after Rev. Wood left the war camp where he had gone to mediate, although he was not killed by enemy. Latosa’s bones were preserved and taken to Ibadan for interment. After his demise, Ajayi Osungbekun became the General of the Ibadan army.
For the next 79 years, the position of the Aare Ona Kankanfo was vacant in Yorubaland. The British had assisted the warring Ibadan and Ekiti Parapo to embrace a sort of peace. Although the warriors regressed into fighting local wars, there was no major war that connected all Yoruba since 1885. Ogedengbe had been rewarded with the title of Obanla in Ilesa. Fabunmi had relocated to Imesi-Ile to become king, having failed to become the Oloja-Oke of Okemesi-Ekiti.
But, August 1964 was a turning point. The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Ladigbolu 11 conferred the title Akintola. During the time, Akintola’s predecessor and former Leader of Federal Opposition, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, was serving a 10 year-jail term for treasonable offence. His installation was trailed by mixed reactions. While Alaafin, many Oyo and Osun people believed that SLA, as he was fondly called by admirers, deserved the title as the defender of Yorubaland, the eminent historian from Okemesi, Prof. Akinjide Osuntokun, noted that “his political enemies quickly branded him another Afonja of Ilorin, which is to say a traitor who was more likely to sell Yorubaland than defend it against its enemies.”
The Western Region was in crisis. The Action Group (AG) of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Akintola had split at its Jos Convention. SLA later formed a new party, the Nigeria National Democratic Party (NNDP), a marriage between his AG faction and a faction of the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC). Aggrieved AG stalwarts, including former party secretary Chief Ayo Rosiji, Chief Ogunniran (White Minister), Chief Oduola Osuntokun from the old Ekiti West Constituency, Chief Richard Babalola, Oba Claudius Akran of Badagry, and Dr. Onabamiro, teamed up with the premier. Many Oyo people who queued behind Akintola grumbled about the tragedy of the deposed Alaafin of Oyo, pro-NCNC Alhaji Adeniran Adeyemi, who had a deep rift with the pompous Chief Bode Thomas, AG federal minister and Balogun of Oyo.
Akintola was enveloped in anxiety. Between 1962 and January 15, 1966 when he was murdered by soldiers, his administration was full of tension. A divided Yorubaland had forgotten that Akintola was one of the founding fathers of Western Region. His nationalist struggles, his previous devotion and loyalty to the AG and Awo also was forgotten. The image of the legendary Baptist school teacher, newspaper editor, lawyer, federal parliamentarian, minister and Ashipa of Ogbomoso was dented by detractors beyond panel beating. He was accused of trading Yoruba interest on the altar of Northern feudalism. Akintola did not aspire to become the premier. Yet, when tribulation arose, it was absolutely difficult for him to abdicate the throne.
The 1964 federal elections, which his party won in controversial circumstances, escalated the crisis. The United Progressives Grand Alliance UPGA) claimed that they were rigged. The malpractice paled into insignificance in the face of the monumental electoral fraud of December 1965. The outcome of the regional poll generated an unprecedented bitterness in the ‘wild wild West.’ The region was plunged into violence. Akintola and other political leaders knew that a military putsch was imminent. But, Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa ignored the advice that he should to take pre-emptive action against the potential mutineers. Balewa, Finance Minister Chief Festus Okoti-Eboh, Premier of Northern Region Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Brigadier Ademulegun, Maimalari, Kur Mohammed, and Col. Ralph Sodeinde lost their lives during the coup.
Army Captain Nwobosi led the band of killers to Akintola’s Ibadan residence. Osuntokun captured the former premier’s end thus: “Huge Army vehicles began to bulldoze their way into the compound and stopped in front of the house, with soldiers shouting: ‘Akintola come out, Akintola, come out,’ while at the same time shooting into the house….Ladoke then bade his children and grandchildren good-bye and going downstairs was cut down in a hail of fire…After the shooting stopped, the children went down and saw the body of their father riddled with bullets.”
He added: “His body was conveyed to Ogbomoso, accompanied by Chiefs S. Ade Ojo and Lekan Salami. Even in death, his enemies went to the mortuary to deride him. He was buried in Ogbomoso, his home town, and in his own compound, on January 23, 1966, with the entire town as silent as at midnight. The crisis that began in 1962 came to an end the only way it could come to an end; in violence.”
Between 1966 and 1988, the position of Aare was vacant. But, shortly after his installation as the Basorun of Ibadan by the Olubadan, the late Oba Oloyede Asanike, Abiola was offered the title by the Alaafin, Oba Adeyemi 111. It was a historic day in Oyo. Although the Ashipa, the late Chief Amuda Olorunkosebi, opposed the processes leading to the installation by instituting a suit to truncate the ceremont, Abiola triumphed over the hurdle. His lawyer, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), engaged in a titanic legal fireworks to make the day a reality. Abiola, a captain of industry and philanthropist, later returned into politics. He won the presidential election of June 12, 1993 as the flag bearer of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), which was criminally annulled by military President Ibrahim Babangida. In his bid to reclaim his mandate, he ran into troubled waters. The struggle pitched him against Babangida’s successor, the late Gen. Sani Abacha. At a time, Abiola jetted out to seek the support of the western world to mount pressure on the military to de-annul the poll. Chiding him for firing salvos from abroad, veteran propagandist and Minister of Information, the late Chief Uche Chukwumerije, derided him as the first Aare Ona Kankanfo to desert the battle field.
Abiola returned home and boldly declared himself as president-elect at Epetedo, Lagos. The military leader was furious. Abiola was clamped in detention. The 14th Aare Ona Kankanfo never returned alive.
Before the Alaafin announced his intention to honour Otunba Adams with the title, it was possible that some eminent Yoruba sons had lobbied for it. Giving his reasons for appointing the OPC coordinator, Oba Adeyemi said he merited it because of his meritorious service to Yorubaland.
Adams is a promoter of Yoruba culture. He is an advocate of Sovereign National Conference (SNC). He was a delegate to the 2014 National Conference in Abuja. He is brave and bold. Adams is conscious of the history of his predecessors. But, he is confident that the tribulation that assailed them will not be his lot. There is a wrong perception about Adams as a venerable trouble maker. He was hounded into detention during the Obasanjo administration for fighting for the cause he believed in.
Reflecting on his new status, Adams said he will treasure the title, adding that he will not lower its dignity. The new chief also said that his new status will moderate his radicalism. He promised to use the position to work with other Yoruba leaders to unite the race and promote its interest as an important and pace-setting ethnic group in Nigeria.