By Ajibola Abyomi,
January 1, 2019.
From January 9 to 13, 2019, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, the Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land will invoke the power of his office to confer chieftaincy titles on 17 distinguished personalities as members of his cabinet.
The Yoruba tradition personified chief will be reechoing the aged long culture of a race that had the longest dynasty in Africa spanning over 700 years.
Aare Onakakanfo was the king of warriors and the title of the Yoruba generalissimo during the Oyo Empire.
According to Gani, the title symbolised the most potent juju force in the ancient days.
The introduction of the title was informed by the need to fortify the pre-colonial army of the old Oyo Empire which at one time could boast of over 100,000 horsemen under the reign of Alaafin Ajagbo in the 1860s.
Given his background as traditionalist and promoter of culture, Gani’s Kakanfo leadership defers from two of his predecessors in the modern times.
While Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola an indigence of Ogbomosho who was installed in 1964 was deeply rooted in the politics as the former premier of the old western region, Aare Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO) who hailed from Abeokuta was a global successful business man. However both of them toed the same path concerning the tradition of their office.
Gani, from all indications, having completed all the rites required of Aare Onakakanfo, is in the class of the ancient generalissimos with full complement of cabinet chiefs.
His for bearers include Kokoro Gangan of Iwoye, Oyapote of Iwoye, Oyabi of Ajase, Adeta of Jabata, Oku of Jabata, Afonja of Ilorin, Toyeje of Ogbomosho, Edun of Gbogun, Amepo of Abemo, Kurumi of Ijaye, Ojo Aburumaku of Ogbomosho (son of Toyeje of Ogbomosho) and Latoosa of Ibada who reigned until late 1885.
After those eras, not so much was heard about Kakanfo cabinet while Chief Akintola and MKO held sway.
History recalled that over 70 chiefs across Yoruba land were usually appointed by the Kakanfo to assist his office to secure the territory.
Times have changed, however, notwithstanding, the challenges in the Southwest, the Emeritus Anglican Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu believed that the instrumentality of war available to Gani were aristocracy of connection, knowledge and influence.
The priest said he was a man created by God to liberate his people. For him, the Aare Onakakanfo was a fighter of just cause and a man of courage that epitomized humility.
He said that despite the persecutions he faced in the hands of both the military and civilian regimes, he was never deterred to challenge the oppressors of the Yorubas.
“Some people who don’t like him called him street fighter, a thug and used all kinds of words to denigrate him, yet he has no criminal record. We see in him as someone with courage and capacity to lead the Yorubas to the Promised Land where our people will be freed from being marginalized.
“It took the wisdom of the most respected traditional ruler in person of Oba Adeyemi Lamidi, the Alaafin of Oyo to fulfill the purpose of the almighty God in Gani’s life, who is quarreling with that? Ladigbolu queried.
The Aare is already rearing to revive the Kakanfo council being the Supreme Head of the Eshos.
Appraising Yoruba history, Mogaji Gboyega Adejumo, an historian submitted that the real understanding of the Kakanfo institution began from the era of Aláàfin Ajagbo Mogun who created the exalted position akin to the unique modern system of government that gave the Yoruba Empire a clear advantage over all other kingdoms in the West Africa since 1550.
An Ààrẹ is always coroneted with insignias that have become part of the title holder till date.
Parts of the significant objects associated with the Aare Onakakanfo include the Ojijiko crown, a unique crown shaped, fitted with the oxblood feathers of parrot’s tail and leopard skins he wears as apron, and his unique staff after installation.
”Having gone through all the traditional rites at Sango, Obatala, Ogun shrines with the 201 incisions, and dialogue with the earth mothers and owners of fraternity bird, thus Iba Gani as tradition demands, will never prostrate before any living being.
“The moment Sango gave the final blessings, Iku Baba Yeye himself, proclaimed him the new Kakanfo and not just a ceremonial one.
“Ààrẹ of old did same. There was Otun Ààrẹ, and Osi Ààrẹ among others. Asubiaro Latoosa, was the Otun to Òjó Aburumaku before he became the substantive Ààrẹ. Ikurunmi okọ Mosadiwin of Ijaye also had his chiefs apart from the 70 Eshos who were also chiefs. Didn’t Latoosa as Ààrẹ had his own chiefs!?
“Lest we forget, this present Ààrẹ is of the mold of the Ààrẹs of old. He is not the Akintola or Abiola type, but an Ààrẹ of the Yoruba, akin to the type we had in times of insecurity. It is therefore a strategic decision to address the need to have war time chiefs to further help to protecting the realm from the incursion of the “usual suspects”, into our land.
“From the time of Aláàfin Ajaka to Eguguoju, Abiipa, Oluaso, up to the era of Aláàfin Jeayinfa, the Ìbàrìbá armies troubled the Yoruba nation greatly and the Aláàfin had to appoint Ajagun-ńlá of Ìlá-ọ̀ràngún tó lead armies and Ajagun-ńlá appointed Onikoyi, Olugbon and Aresa as his chiefs, who are they today? Important kings in Yoruba land, that was around 1430.
“Therefore, when Aláàfin Ajagbo installed Kòkòrò Gangàn of Ìwòye as the first Ààrẹ, majorly to check the incessant attacks of the Ìbàrìbá, the Ààrẹ also in the process of defending his people appointed his own chiefs. That was the beginning of the appointment of the 16 upper and lower chiefs. This is significant.
“Ààrẹ is the Lord over the four administrative zones (ekun) to which Yoruba empire was divided into for easy governance. For each of the zones, there was Ẹkùn òtún, Ẹkùn òsì, Ẹkùn Ebolo and Ẹkùn Èpò. The Ààrẹ has four principal chiefs. The Otun Ààrẹ, Òsì Ààrẹ, Bashorun Ààrẹ, Jagun Ààrẹ, Agbakin, Olorogun and Aareago, were among the 16 principal chiefs of the Kakanfo.”
As Ladigbolu said, if God had used the instrumentality of Alaafin Adeyemi to fulfill his purpose in the life of the humble and courageous Gani, who is quarreling with that as he steps forward to reecho the uniqueness of Kakanfo in this modern age?