Times Square, Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, Lagos, on Wednesday, May 1st could hardly accommodate the mammoth crowd that attended the 49th birthday celebration of the AareOnakakanfo of Yorubaland land, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams.
The event, which had in attendance dignitaries from across the social and political divide was an annual package to celebrate the Yoruba generalisimo.
But what should be the annual birthday marking later transmuted to a carnival of sort as cultural ambassadors, music and movie icons later seized the occasion to display their talents.
Aare Gani Adams, in his remarks, expressed gratitude to God for the grace to celebrate yet another milestone.
He explained that the birthday anniversary had been his usual way of showing appreciation to God for the gift of life.
“Today’s event isn’t for speech making, it is just to appreciate God for the gift of life and to appreciate my family, friends, colleagues and well wishers for their love and support for me over the years.
Actually, my birthday anniversary had been an annual event for me since year 2000,
when I celebrated my 30th birthday. And for me, I think every moment of my life counts, especially, when I look back and see the kind of challenges,
I have faced in life and how I was able to turn all these challenges to opportunities that later shaped the cause of my life and that of the group I am leading for the past years”
Aare Adams said the reason for life is to impact the society positively , adding that in the last few decades, he had enjoyed a better relationship with people from different backgrounds, tribes and climes because of his approach to peace and unity.
“I am an apostle of peace and unity. I cherish peace and unity because I know what it means to have peace.
Peace is key to development, there is little you can achieve in life without peace, so on this occasion of my birthday,
I urge all our leaders to ensure the country is peaceful . The security situation in the country is alarming.
The rate of killings in the country is rising everyday. Government must do something urgently about these unnecessary killings. Government must be ready to make the sacrifice.
Whatever it takes to ensure a peaceful society. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure the safety of its citizens.”
Zaki of Arigidi Akoko, Oba Yisa Abu Olanipekun, was the royal host.
He said the celebration of Aare Adams’ birthday is not only for the fun and merry making,but it is to appreciate the role he had played in promoting the Yoruba culture and traditions in the last three decades.
The monarch regretted the decline in the promotion of the Yoruba culture, core values and traditions,
saying the Yorubas have the opportunities and potentials to reclaim the lost glories only if the traditional institutions and culture ambassadors join hands and support the crusade as being promoted by Adams.
“It is wrong for the Southwest Governors not to be relating with the Aare Ona Kakanfo on the progress of the Yoruba race.
Southwest leaders should not take for granted the position of Aare Ona Kakanfo.
Our six Southwest governors should sit with Aare in moving Yoruba nation forward
We all know what Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland stood for.
He is our ambassador in all respects, therefore, I will urge all sons and daughters of Yoruba race to support him in his quests to lead the race to the promised land.” The monarch said.
President, Women Arise, Dr. Joe Odumakin,saluted Adams’ courage, describing him as the ambassador of the masses and a long runner. Odumakin said Adams had been a vocal voice of the people for the past 25 years and rather than relenting, the generalisimo is waxing stronger by the day.
“We started the struggle together in the 90s. We went through the hell of the military together. It had been a while and Aare has always been resolute in the face of all challenges. So, as we celebrate his birthday today,
I urge the young generation of people present here today to learn from his life of courage and determination. That is the best way to solve the myriads of problems in our society”.
Alhaji Ado Dansudu, the National President, Arewa United Consultative Forum, described Adams as an honest man and hero who always stood for the interest of the masses.
The Bobaselu of Ejigbo and Ijanland, Eze Alex Nwoye, also described Adams as a friend of Igbo community in Lagos State.
“Aare Gani Adams is a friend to all the Igbos, particularly those that live in Lagos. He carried the Igbos along and we are partners in progress. He is someone God has blessed. He is a man many people love. Leaders have a lot to learn from him.’’
Meanwhile,Adams` wife, Ayinba Mojisola, expressed appreciation to God for the life of her husband, saying despite his tight schedules at home and abroad, he is always a complete family person.
“You can always appreciate God for having Aare as a husband, father, friend, and confidant.He is always there for you, through the thick and thin, Aare will never leave you to suffer for anything.
Whatever happens, he doesn’t forget where he was coming from, he had an humbled beginning and that is the reason for this huge attendance of prominent dignitaries and the kind of applause and reception we have here today,she enthused
President General of the Nigerian Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, in his remarks,gave reasons for choosing Aare Gani Adams as their National Life Patron.
He said Adams has been a lover of sports, especially, football, for years and the decision was unanimously supported by the highest decision- making organ of the Nigeria Supporters Club.
“We are here to show love to our National life Patron. We are here to appreciate him for being there for us, we are here to tell the world that as we celebrate the birthday of our national life Patron.
If you look around the world today, the supporters club has only 19 patrons since inception, 63 years ago. Just two months ago, the board resolved to appoint Iba Gani Adams as life Patron.
Having looked around the world, looking for those who merit the position of life patron of the supporters club, Iba Gani Adams scored 100 per cent.’’
Ladipo assured lovers of football saying “Nigeria will rise again, not only in football, but in all facets of sports and we shall reclaim one number one position in Africa and the world at large. “
Also speaking, Dr Qasim Akinreti, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos Council said:
“The event is remarkable and the personality is extremely iconic in terms of his contributions to Yoruba race.
“Adams was part of the struggle for the enthronement of democracy and he is a cultural ambassador and that is why I described him as iconic.’’
Royal fathers and dignitaries at the event were High Chiefs Ibikunle Adio, the Oluwo of Lagos and Tajudeen Balogun, both representing the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu and representative of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, the Olowa of Igbara Oke, Oba Francis Agbede,
The Bobaselu of Ejigbo and Ijanland, Eze Alex Nwoye, the market woman leader – Iyaloja of Oyo Kingdom, Chief Adepeju Bakare, representative of Osun governor, Mr Semiu Okanlawon.
Others included intellectuals such as Professors Tunde Babawale, Derin Ologbenla and Raheem Kolawole from Ghana, and foremost socialites Musiliu Akinsanya, (MC Oluomo), All members of the Oodua Peoples Congress, (OPC) Oodua Progressive Union (OPU),
the Aare Onakakanfo Council in Chiefs top military officials, Media gurus and politicians among others.
Foremost artistes and Ewi exponent, Sulaimon Ayilara(Ajobiewe, Hip pop star, small Doctor and the Oodua cultural troupe thrilled the guests.