On April 30, 2021, the Aareonakakanfo Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams will turn 51. All arrangements have been concluded for a special party coming up on May 1. Apart from the party, which has become the tradition for over two decades now, Aare Adams has decided to also touch the lives of brilliant and indigent students of some of the universities in the South West positively with cash donations.
This new development is a radical departure from the usual template, especially, at a time like this when the education sector is gradually losing touch with global practices and standard. Aare’s intention is to give hope to the students, using his little resources to encourage, motivate and tell them that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
So, as the Yoruba Generalissimo celebrates yet another milestone, I think it is also pertinent to reflect on the successful trajectory of a man whose life story is a true reflection of God’s glory.
In one of my books, titled: “Imprints of Fate,” I did an expository analysis of the Aare Onakakanfo, explaining the rationale behind many of his actions. And interestingly, many of his traducers had never for once doubted his courage and track record.
The life of a torchbearer is like a book with different chapters that needed to be studied from chapters to chapters. However, it is a fact that the worth of a man is in the quality of his heart and the value of his service to mankind. Some of the qualities that made Aare Gani Adams what he is today include that of courage and service to humanity. And he has always made this known through his style of leadership.
For instance, a few things matter in life – courage, consistency, commitment and the ability to take risk, even when it means to stand alone, with strong beliefs and conviction without looking back.
His courage was put to test at age 23 when he led the Oodua Peoples Congress in the struggle for the emancipation of the Yoruba race shortly after the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election. At that young age, he started leading the group comprising men and women, young and old people that have made up their minds to fight for the Yoruba cause.
Despite his age, Aare Gani Adams also remained committed to the struggle, giving his all to the cause even at the expense of his life. Today, he is the living manifestation of God’s glory and limitlessness. His small acorn then literally turned out to become a giant Iroko tree, with branches in every aspect of life.
To Iba Gani Adams, standing alone is never to be lonely. It is to live and die for a positive conviction.
And happily for him, his long years of sacrifices have always been rewarded and recognised. That is why he remains the leader of the OPC, Global Convener of the OPU, and Grand Patron of YOV and several other groups in Nigeria and beyond.
Iba Gani Adams’ ideals, vision and values as a culture aficionado is, no doubt, a source of inspiration to others. Young men of today usually draw inspirations from his life style, which symbolises courage, love, consistency and generosity, making him a model to the young generation.
He doesn’t like cheating and he can go all out to defend his rights and those of others. Like his predecessor, the late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, you don’t need to be close to Adams to know truly that he is a soul of generosity.
However, in the five decades of his life, he had also had his own fair share of the usual vicissitudes of life. But on every occasion, he has always come out being stronger and stronger.
It is his belief that life will always throw some negative things at us, yet we need to be sure of the way we react and handle those things, knowing very well that the best is always in love and service to humanity.
As a visionary leader with strong conviction, he had made up for what he missed in early education by going back to school. And today, the Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland is a graduate of the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos.
Today, Iba Gani Adams has been transformed to become one of the leading voices in Nigeria. He is an advocate of true federalism, with every region developing at their own pace. He is also an unrepentant advocate of Oodua Republic.
Aare is a friend of the media. He is always ready to bear his mind on current and pertinent issues. And whatever anybody may say about him, Iba Gani Adams is a self-made man with rare intelligence. He never waivers in his beliefs and can do anything to help humanity.
For those of us that look up to him as our leader, the lesson here is to know that service to humanity remains the best legacy we can give to others.
Therefore, as we celebrate the 51st anniversary of the our leader, the most important thing is to learn from his many attributes, including honesty, consistency, courage, generossity, fearlessness and love for humanity.
Aderemi is the Special Assistant on Media to the 15th Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland.