By Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, yesterday announced the National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Chief Gani Adams, as the 16th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland.
He succeeds the last occupant of the title, the late business mogul, Chief M. K. O. Abiola, who was the presumed winner of the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election. Abiola died in detention in 1998, leaving the title vacant since then.
A palace source who confirmed the declaration to journalists last night, said a letter of appointment was issued to Adams during the 79th birthday celebration of Alaafin in Oyo and that other announcement and traditional rites would follow in the coming days.
Last Saturday, past and present political office holders in Oyo State and at the national level organised a lecture to mark the Alaafin’s birthday celebration held at the Atiba hall.
With the theme: ‘Alaafin’s Economic Empowerment, Youth Development and the Quest for Greater Oyo,’ the politicians, including a serving senator, Monsurat Sunmonu; House of Representatives member, Akeem Adeyemi; the Chairman, Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Taofeek Akeugbagold, and former Commissioner for Works and Transport who also doubles as governorship aspirant of the ruling All Progressives Congress ahead of 2019 election, Yunus Akintunde, attributed their success stories to Alaafin who they regarded as “the magic wand and God send helper,” for their political career.
Akintunde, who tagged his lecture Alaafin’s capacity building, said the monarch remained the greatest ever living royal father in black Africa who wields political, economic and infrastructural powers to develop the town and its people, which prior to Oba Adeyemi ascension to the throne of his forbears was nothing to write home about.
The ex-works commissioner listed several road rehabilitation, reconstruction and infrastructural facilities brought to Oyo during his short stint in government, and highlighted a number of challenges of the town but was quick to add that, “with the never say-die spirit of Alaafin, all the grey areas will soon be over and Oyo will forever remain in the forefront of developmental greatness of the entire state. Kabiyesi’s intellectual prowess, philanthropy and uncanny love for development are legendary and we shall continue to drink from the milk of your fatherly gestures.”
Responding, Alaafin expressed appreciation to the people of Oyo, stressing: “It was rare to be alive and bear testimony to the great things one has done to develop human and material resources that are abound here. I am very happy that in my lifetime, people appreciate my footprints in the sand of time.
“When Yunus was dropped as commissioner, I went to meet the governor and attacked him. I queried what he did wrong. I said we needed to know what he did. And the governor was surprised I could come down to Ibadan on Yunus and since then, he multiplied the honour and respect he has for me. Many did not know I had no hand in his removal because the governor appointed my daughter as his replacement.
“Some people used the opportunity to create a wedge between me and Yunus but he was very wise. I never quarrelled with him and I dare say Yunus is very clean and upright. He used his position to bring developments to Oyo and I am proud of him,” Alaafin added.
Dignitaries from far and near, including Deputy Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon. AbdulWasiu Musa; Commissioner of Police in the state, Abiodun Odude, Adams, Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu, Osolo of Isolo, Lagos, Oba Kabiru Agbabiaka, and scores of traditional rulers in Oyo and Oke-Ogun areas, were in attendance.