Alhaji Monsuru Adenekan (standing) welcomes Iba Gani Adams (middle) flanked by Elder Ajibola Antonio and Mrs Adams

Prominent Nigerian traditional leader visits Germany, speaks on separatist agitations

A prominent Nigerian traditional leader, Iba Gani Adams, who is the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, recently visited Germany.

Though Chief Adams was on a private visit with his family, he nevertheless took time to interact with members of the Nigerian community in Southwest Germany under the auspices of the Egbe Omo Yoruba in Mannheim, Ludwigshafen and Heidelberg.

At a reception organised in his honour by businessman and humanitarian activist Alhaji Monsuru Adenekan, Iba Adams, whose title means the Generalissimo of Yorubaland, talked about the situation in Nigeria and fielded questions from the audience on the role of traditional office holders in the country’s politics.

Chief Adams, who is also the leader of the Oodua People’s Congress, a socio-political organisation advocating for the interest of Yorubaland, expressed support for the self-determination agitations in the southern part of Nigeria. He however cautioned his audience about being too optimistic about the struggle.

From left: Elder Antonio, Mrs Adams, Iba Adams and Prince Ade Abiola at the event

Iba Adams, who has been a pro-democracy activist since early 1990s, said the elite of Southern Nigeria, including governors, leading traditional leaders and businesspeople, were not in support of the disintegration of Nigeria as they profit from the status quo.

This is why his own organisation, the Odua People’s Congress, had instead of disintegration of Nigeria always demanded for radical constitutional reform that would institute true federalism in Nigeria.

In response to a question from the audience, Iba Adams denied being against Chief Sunday Adeyemo, the Yoruba self-determination leader who is currently in detention in Benin Republic. “Quite to the contrary, I actually admire his courage and tenacity,” he said. Iba Adams blamed “mischief makers” for spreading rumours of a feud between the two Yoruba leaders.

Iba Adams however agreed that he once advised Adeyemo, who is popularly known as Sunday Igboho, on his approach to the struggle. “It was a disagreement over style and not over the objective of the struggle,” he added. “Both of us are united in our staunch commitment to the good of Yorubaland.”

A cross-section of the audience at the event

Iba Adams said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had brought enormous suffering on the people of Nigeria. He expressed disappointment that prominent Yoruba office holders, such as Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila of the Federal House of Representatives, hadn’t been able to have any positive impact on governance in the country.

Iba Adams talked about his efforts to unite Yoruba people both home and abroad and promote greater peace in Nigeria. He advised Nigerians not to lose hope in their homeland, expressing the optimism that sooner rather than later, things would become better in the country.

Among those who attended the event, which was moderated by Alhaji Adenekan, were Elder Ajibola Antonio, Prince Ade Abiola and Larry Abiodun, among others.

Iba Adams was appointed the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland by Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, the Alaafin of Oyo, on 14 October 2017. The chieftaincy title was last held by Chief MKO Abiola, who died in 1998.

Abiola, businessman, publisher and politician, ran for the presidency on 12 June 1993, but the election results were annulled by the military regime of Ibrahim Babangida over dubious allegations that they were corrupt and unfair. Abiola, who died in detention, was awarded the GCFR posthumously on 6 June 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigeria’s democracy day was changed to June 12.

Prince Adedeji Abiola Maiyegun

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