On Saturday, January 13, the Yoruba race witnessed the installation of the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo 20 years after the death of the last holder of the title, the late Chief MKO Abiola.
After being held in seclusion for three days, the new Generalissimo,Gani Adams was, at a well-attended event, presented with the insignia and apparatus of of fice in full public glare at the Durbar Stadium in the ancient town of Oyo.
Observers believe the event held up to its expectation as a celebration of Yoruba diverse cultural heritage. Yoruba from both far and near were in full attendance at the history-making event. Many traditional troupes, dancers, drummers were on hand with musical instruments and outfits to thrill the audience. Different masquerades, performers and varieties of entertainers were not in short supply.
Sealing the investiture process, 14 different calabashes, representing each of the past holders of the title, were arranged at the centre of the expansive field where the incumbent was led to appease and pray before stepping into their shoes.
The glamorous event got another surprise when the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and the new Aare Ona Kakanfo stormed the venue on a four-wheeled horse chariot at exactly 12.55 p.m. Their arrival threw the crowd into ecstasy, as many left their seats to have a glimpse of the chariot.
Decked in white flowing agbada and a traditional white cap to match, Chief Adams sat in front while the Alaafin took the back seat of the chariot. The chariot was followed by a convoy of vehicles amid chanting of Iku Baba Yeye from the crowd who followed them.
The week-long programme, which commenced on Wednesday expectedly, was witnessed by a large crowd of enthusiast and lovers of culture with thick vehicular movement into the ancient town.
As early as 7:00 a.m., most of the major roads in the town had become difficult to access due to heavy traffic of guests trooping into town to witness the making and installation of the 15th Generalissimo of Yoruba land.
Security and safety operatives were also on hand in their good numbers. Men of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Directorate of State Security (DSS), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Nigeria Peace Corps, some in uniform and others in plain clothes, had taxing day controlling traffic and working to ensure peace within and around the event venue. There were scores of security operatives screening guests at the entrance of the venue of the event.
Some guests experienced exhaustion at the narrow entrance gate to the stadium as they struggled to gain entry, while others were stampeded, losing some of their valuables in the process.
As a mark of honour and respect, major shops, business areas and markets in the ancient town were shut, while residents trooped out in large numbers to witness the installation ceremony.
Dignitaries advise the new Generalissimo
Some dignitaries spoke in their separate remarks while addressing reporters on the task before Adams.
Alao-Akala said Adams has been performing the role of Aare Ona Kakanfo before his installation as the 15th Aara Ona Kakanfo and that the Alaafin has made the right choice.
In his remarks, Mimiko noted that Adams has always displayed quintessential patriotism, which distinguished him from the pack.
Also, Senator Summonu congratulated the Alaafin on the occasion and his choice of Adams expressed optimism that the new Generalissimo would use his position to support Federal Government’s efforts on enthronement of national peace and unity.
The spokesperson of Afenifere Socio-Cultural Group, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said Adams deserved the choice as the 15th Kakanfo. He described him as a quintessential leader, who displayed a high-level commitment to the promotion and protection of Yoruba cultural heritage.