What You May Not Know About Otunba Gani Adams, 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba

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IN the heat of the Second World War, in 1941, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Sir Winston Churchill, said the following words to General Bernard Montgomery, who was also known as the “Spartan General”, the hero of the Battle of Alamein, the Commander of the famous British Desert Rats and the Field Marshall of the British Armed Forces. He said: “Monty, never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy”. These are powerful and inspiring words from one of the greatest leaders that the world has ever known. This same admonition from Churchill seems to be the fire that has been propelling the actions of erudite activist and ace promoter of Yoruba culture and tradition, Otunba (Dr)Gani Adams.

It is true that many people pass through life with great wisdom and talents. Only a few utilize these God-given gifts to His glory and the welfare of the people. It is also true that some people have greatness thrust upon them, while others attained greatness by dint of hard work. For Otunba (Dr.) Gani Adams, the National Coordinator of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) and Chief Promoter, Olokun Festival Foundation (OFF), the utilization of his wisdom and talent in the overall interest and welfare of his people have no doubt etched his name on the sands of history.

Otunba Adams, is a man of many parts; a visionary leader, a charismatic political activist, a reliable championof the rights of the masses, an embodiment of political morality and an epitome of humility. He is also a well-known traditionalist, whose dedication to the promotion and preservation of the culture and tradition of the Yoruba race remains unparalleled. And above all, Otunba Adams is a detribalized Nigerian, whose vision of a one united and prosperous Nigeria, based on equity and mutual respect for one another is
unrivalled. Above all, he is a God-fearing leader. His relationship with his fellow man is never based on religious or tribal sentiment. For him, Christianity, Islam and Traditional religions are all sides of the same coin, with the three worshipping the same and one God.

For a man destined for greatness, his steps were directed by Almighty God, who knew the roles destined for him to play on earth, and ensured that he was brought into the world through a union of two great families of Pa Lamidi Adams and Late Madam Dada Adams, nee Aduloju.

The journey of life started for Otunba (Dr.) Gani Adams, on 30th April, 1970 at Arigidi-Akoko, in the present Akoko North-West Local Government Area of Ondo State, Nigeria.

He attended many primary schools due to the nature of his father’s job. His educational exploits started at the Army Children’s School, Oturkpo, Benue State, where he got as far as primary three before his father was transferred to Lagos, where he completed his primary school education at the Municipal Primary School, Surulere, Lagos, in 1980.

Otunba Adams proceeded to Ansar-Ud-deen Secondary School, Randle Avenue, Surulere, Lagos, for his secondary education before picking a interior decoration job at an Italian Construction Company, Visinoni Stabilini, Apapa, Lagos, from where he voluntarily resigned after some urge to establish his own Interior decoration business, Gadson Interior.

But sequel to the bastardization of the socio-political and economic life of Nigeria, occasioned by the military fascist rule of that time, Otunba (Dr.) Gani Adams became an active Pro-Democracy Activist in 1992. He pitched his tent with the Campaign for Democracy (CD), in the struggle to end military rule in Nigeria and instal parcitipatory democratic governance.

Young Gani Adams had a big and daunting responsibility thrust on his shoulders when he became the Public Relations Officer (PRO), of Mushin Local Government Chapter of CLO in 1993 and Member of Oodua Youth Movement, OYM, a pro-Yoruba self-determination group.

He was a foundation member of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), when it was formed in 1994. And like the huge elephant that cannot pass unnoticed, Gani Adams was the overwhelming choice for the position of the first Deputy National Coordinator and now the National Coordinator of the group.

This amiable High Chief from Arigidi Akoko, presents an interesting character with his crusade of selfless commitment to protecting Yoruba interest, not minding whatever happens to him in the course of the struggle.

With his dedication to the wellbeing of Yoruba race; it is obvious that he has acted his script into history book. In spite of the vicissitude, Otunba (Dr.) Gani Adams is optimistic with great hopes and unwavering determinationthat Nigeria cannot survive as one entity unless the union is decentralized and the federating units granted self-autonomy status.

Thirsty for self-improvement in the present challenging world, Otunba Adams returned to school to bag a Diploma in Tourism Management from the International
Aviation School, Tema, Ghana in 2003. Not done, he went further to obtain another Diploma in International Relations and Strategic Studies from the Lagos State University (LASU) and capped it with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from same Lagos State University (LASU).

Otunba Adams is a firm believer in the belief that culture can be used as a vehicle for national integration and a platform for the realization of the elusive peace and love in our society.

As a strong believer in the attributes of the Yoruba cultural heritage, his organization, the Olokun Festival Foundation, today remains the only Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Yoruba culture and tradition. The Olokun Festival Foundation sponsors and participates in the following festivals across Yoruba land: Eledumare Festival, Ijora Lagos; Ajagunmale Festival, Lekki Lagos; Osun Osogbo, Oshogbo; Olokun festival, Badagry, Lagos; Oya festival, Kwara State; Oke Ibadan festival, Oyo State; Oodua festival, Ile-ife; Grandmothers’ festival, Epe, Lagos; Olumo festival, Abeokuta, Ogun; Ifa festival, Lagos; Aje festival, Agege, Lagos; Obatala festival, Oyo State; Oranmiyan festival, Oyo State; Okota festival, Ondo State; Oro festival, Iseyin, Oyo State; Ogun Festival Ikorodu, Lagos; Elegbara Festival, Shasa Lagos; OPU World Congress, Oyo State;
National Youth Development Submit, Lagos; Interactive Session with Leaders; Otunba Gani Adams Art Student Scheme, Lagos; Birthday Anniversary Lagos; Kudirat Abiola Remembrance, Lagos; June 12 Remembrance, Lagos; Nigerian Artisan Submit, Lagos; Ramadan Lecture Lagos; World Humanitarian Day, Lagos; World Literacy Day, Lagos; Heroes Day, Lagos; and Xmas Carol,  Lagos, among several others.

Also the Olokun Festival Foundation showcases beauty pageant in five of its festivals namely: Miss Oodua; Miss Olumo; Miss Okota; Miss Olokun, and Miss Oya.

He has carried his cultural crusade across continents, Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, North America, South America, including: Brazil, Ghana, Ethiopia, Namibia, South Africa, India, Britain, France, Holland, Germany, Belgium, and many others.

Oodua Progressive Union (OPU) a Yoruba Socio Culturalgroup in the DiasporaIn 2011, he made landmark feats in major countries across Europe, Asia, Africa North America and South America where he launched chapters of the Oodua Progressive Union (OPU). Today, the OPU has registered its presence in 78 countries, where it has been launched, with more countries eager to join. It can be said that OPU is the largest Yoruba socio cultural association in the Diaspora.

It is to his credit that a Yoruba socio-cultural organizationhas good representation in the United Kingdom, UK, Germany, Holland, France and many other countries spread across the globe.

Service to Humanity:

In furtherance of his efforts to ensure that the less-privileged in the society are lifted out of the dungeon of poverty, he founded the Oodua Economic Empowerment Initiative and the Gani Adams Foundation, saddled to empower the poor by giving them economic freedom.

And also as a firm believer that peace is key to development, Otunba Gani Adams participated at the National Peace Forum (NPF), in the interest of peace and unity among Nigerians, and was subsequently appointed a Peace Envoy. Beside the NPF honour, he was also awarded the Ambassador for peace by the Universal Peace Federation and International Federation for World Peace.

As a result of his selflessness, dedication and forthrightness to the affairs of his race, Otunba Gani Adams was nominated to represent the Yoruba race at the National Conference organised by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2014.

In recognition of his well-placed understanding of national and global security matters, he was made a member of the National Security Committee in the National Conference and Vice Chairman of the National Security Management, Sub Committee on National Security.

He was a member of the National Peace Forum, organizedby the Obasanjo-led government, through the then Special Adviser on Inter-governmental Relations, Chief Rochas Okorocha.

It is also on record that the current democratic dispensation was attained through the blood and sweat of some dedicated Nigerians, including Otunba Gani Adams.

OGA, as fondly called by his admirers, was in the thick ofthe battle to ensure that the military return to the barracks to guarantee the return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999.
This can be said to be one of his major achievements in life. For his believe and commitments to the struggle, he has visited and resided in several detentions in the Nigerian prisons and police cells. But at each occasion, he has come out stronger and more resolute, shaming the government that had hoped to kill his zeal and commitment to the struggle.

In recognition of his contributions to the development of Yoruba land, Otunba Adams has been honoured with many chieftaincy titles across Yoruba towns. Among them are: Otunba of Arigidi, Akoko, Ondo State; Ajagungbade of Oodua Land (ANTP); Akinrogun of Erin Osun, Osun State; Ajagunla of Aala Land, Kwara State; Arogundade of Ode Omu, Osun State; Jagunmolu Olu–Ode of Ibadanland, Oyo State; Apagunpote of Igbeji land, Yewa, Ogun State; Olunla of Ilikimu, Benin Republic; Otunba Atayese of Igosun Ekiti, Ekiti State; Baba Isale Oja Daleko Market, Mushin, Lagos State; Asoludero of Oshogbo Land, Osun State; Arogundade of Oodualand, Ogun State; Apase Oodua of Ojokoro Land, Lagos State; Mayegun of Ijanikin; Bobaselu of Ado Kingdom; Seriki
Adini of Arigidi, Akokoland, Ondo State; Akinrogun of Iseyinland, Oyo State; Jagunmolu of Iganganland, Oyo State; Baba Oba of Agbamuland, Kwara State; Custodian of Oodua Legacy; Afetutu Soro Worldwide; Aare of Ibeseland, Lagos State; Baba Ijo New World Assembly, Akure, Ondo State; Maiyegun of Oworo Kingdom, Lagos State; Maiyegun of Baiyekun Kingdom, Lagos State; Aare Akogun Atewonro of Ila Orangun Town, Osun State; Bobagunwa of Igbehinland, Obafemi, Owode Egba, Ogun State; Akinrogun of Ikoroduland, Lagos State, Chief Apagunpote of Isheri Olofin Aworiland, Lagos State; Olunla of Ojoraland, Lagos State and Agba-Akin of Iberekoland, Badagry, Lagos State; Aniyikaye of Ijero Ekitiland, among several other honours and chieftaincy titles.

Otunba (Dr.) Gani Adams also has to his honour about 232 local and international awards.

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