The Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi, on Wednesday said he did not receive money from the National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, Gani Adams, before pronouncing him the new Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland.
The monarch in a report by Punch Newspapers said the newly installed Aare Ona Kakanfo was chosen based on his worthy track records.
The monarch who confirmed Mr. Adams as the generalissimo of Yorubaland on Sunday said Mr. Adams has always stood in defence of Yoruba ideals.
The Alaafin was reacting to criticisms directed at the choice of Mr. Adams as the Aare Ona Kakanfo, almost two decades after the demise of Moshood Abiola, the immediate past holder of the title.
Mr. Adeyemi said Mr. Adams was chosen after considering his antecedents as a Yoruba man, adding that wealth was not a requirement for the office.
“Money or material wealth is not considered before choosing an Are Ona Kakanfo. Abiola promoted everything that had to do with Yoruba race,” the monarch was quoted as saying by Punch.
“He was popular among his people and he was close to traditional rulers. So, Adams may not be as rich as Abiola but I can tell you he has all the qualities an Aare Ona Kakanfo should possess . He leads an organisation that is ever ready to defend the cause of the Yoruba race . Is there any Yorubaman that has such clout as Adams without being a politician today?”
The Alaafin also described Mr. Adams as a fearless Yoruba man who had exhibited passion for defending the Yoruba people, culture and tradition.
“The choice of Adams was well thought out before a decision was taken. You may not place him beside Abiola in terms of wealth and other great achievements of the former Are Ona Kakanfos among the Yoruba people and beyond, but Adams has shown enough charisma to deserve the honour.
“If you have been observing him in the past many years, Adams attends all Yoruba festivals, irrespective of where they are held . He also promotes our culture through so many means including his annual Olokun festival.
“I picked him because he loves the Yoruba race and all the culture and tradition of our people. He has contributed immensely to upholding them. Whenever he attends these festivals, he goes with a large entourage and financially, he is always responsible for the cost. He does not attend in order to benefit financially.”
The monarch said Mr. Adams may be young but he is also very bold and courageous, stressing that these are traits synonymous with an Are Ona Kakanfo .
He said: “Adams is a Yoruba cultural enthusiast. He defends the race anywhere he goes. Among his strengths is that he has strong supporters in every town in Yorubaland through his Oodua Peoples Congress.”
Earlier, Mr. Adams in his acceptance speech had pledged to work for the development of the Yoruba nation.
He also pledged to build bridges across the region.
Mr. Adams has since been congratulated on his new title by other Yoruba leaders including ex-Lagos governor Bola Tinubu who many had thought would be chosen for the title.