Aare Afe Babalola, the founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, and prominent traditional rulers in Ondo and Ekiti States have endorsed Otunba Gani Adams as new Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland.
The title is the generalissimo of the Yoruba race.
They also urged Adams to use his new office to further strengthen the unity and promote the culture and tradition of Yorubaland.
Some of the monarchs who received Adams and his entourage in their various palaces during the weekend offered special prayers for the success and long life for the new Aare Kakanfo and progress of Yorubaland
Indicating 100 per cent support for Adams, Babalola (SAN), who received him in his university office on Saturday, urged the new generalissimo to pursue the unity of the Yoruba race and make it greater than he met it.
He said: “Everybody know he (Gani Adams) has been nominated by Aalafin as the next Aare Ona Kakanfo.
“He has come personally to give me my invitation to attend his installation.
“I am 100 per cent in support of the appointment of Gani Adams by the Alafin.
“If you followed the history of this young man, he has been very dynamic, highly focused person and I think this is part of the characteristics that made Alafin to appoint him.
“My advice to him is that he is holding a very sensitive position in Yorubaland.
“The position held by great people who made Yoruba a nation.
“He will continue to do what others before him did, think of making the race greater and to defend its cause.”
In his own remark after touring the medical facilities at the new Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital, Adams said instead of going abroad, the ABUATH should be the new medical tourism destination for Nigerians.
He noted that the facilities in the teaching hospital could be compared with the ones he saw in the United Kingdom and Germany.
Adams said when the hospital is fully operational, it would ease problems of health challenges in the South West and Nigeria in general.
On his agenda for the Yoruba nation, Adams said though he would not divulge it now, but added that he has pleaded with Chief Babalola not to relent in his pursuit of Yoruba unity.
He said: “Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital will become a medical tourism destination with the kind of equipment I saw here.
“I can compare it with the one I saw in Germany.
“Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital will ease the problems of health challenges in South West and Nigeria in general.
“I have just appealed to the management that they should allow the cost to be moderate.
“With the kind of equipment I saw there, I can imagine what a patient will pay for medical check up.
“We don’t need to check out again for medical check up with what is in the teaching hospital.
“I came to seek elderly wisdom from Chief Afe Babalola, who is considered to be one of the most influential people in Africa.
“Not only as legal luminary but as somebody who has done a lot to unify the Yoruba nation.
“I am here for his advice.
“He has taught me a lot about the history of Yoruba race.
“For you to be put in an influential position and you don’t know the history of Yoruba, you will not be resourceful.
“He has taught me even post-installation agenda because it is one thing to be installed as Aare Ona Kakanfo and it is another thing to perform in that position.
“I am here to see an illustrious son of Yoruba nation.
“I begged baba not to relent in efforts regarding the unity of the race.
“Yoruba nation is a great tribe with about 250 million people.
“Those in Nigeria are just 60 million.
“Those in Caribbean countries, there about 100 million.
“Brazil with over 200 million population, Yoruba is 18 per cent of that population.”
The traditional rulers gave Adams their backing when he visited them in their palaces.
They included the Osemawe of Ondo, Oba Victor Adesimbo Ademefun Kiladejo, Jilo III; Deji of Akure, Oba Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, Odundun II; Olubaka of Oka Akoko, Oba Adebori Yusuf Adeleye; Olukare of Ikare Akoko, Oba Akadiri Momoh; Oloba of Oba Akoko, Oba N. A. Adegoroye; and Zaki of Arigidi Akoko, Oba Yisa Olanipekun.
Others who also rallied round Adams as the new Aare of Yorubaland are Arinjale of Ise Ekiti, Oba Adetunji Ayodele Ajayi; Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe; Alara of Aramoko, Oba Abdul Azeez Olu Adegoke Adeyemi; Owa Ajero of Ijero, Oba Adewole Joseph Adebayo; Elekole of Ikole Ekiti, Oba James Adewunmi Ajibade; and Oloye of Oye Ekiti, Oba Michael Oluwole Ademolaju Adugbole III.
The Akoko people, especially Arigidi sons and daughters, where Aare Adams hails from, could not hide their feelings as they gave their son a heroic welcome to their communities, praising him for bringing such honour and prestigious title to them.
Also well attended reception was organized by the Zaki of Arigidi for the generalissimo.
The excited Monarch said Aare Adams is a pride of Arigidi, whose immense contribution is promoting and projecting the image of the ancient community.
In his speech at various palaces, Adams said: “My coming here is to thank you and also seek for your support in my new assignment as Aare Ona Kakanfo.
“The job of Aare is beyond Gani Adams as a person but a job that requires all sons and daughters of Yorubaland.
“It os a position that unifies all of us and as a symbol of unity, I need you to succeed, I need your wise counsel and guidance all time.”
Adams also enjoined the traditional rulers and other custodians of Yoruba culture and tradition to put behind religious sentiment and focus on how to increase awareness about the tradition of Yorubaland and use it to develop the country and Africa in general.
He said: “Our culture is our pride,
“It should be beyond dressings but our attitude towards promotion of culture and tradition and bequeathing it to the coming generations.
“We have not failed in our bid s to achieve that but we should do more.”