In an exclusive interview with Broadway TV, the celebrity journalist and astute politician, Otunba Femi Davies, has finally opened up on his relationship with All Progressive Congress national leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, and the Aare Onakankafo of Yoruba land, Otunba Gani Adams.
Otunba Davies, who was the special adviser on Events & Strategy and consultant to Aare and Olokun Festival Foundation respectively, denied collecting money to assassinate anyone as alleged by Aare Adams camp. Excerpts…
Were you paid by Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu to betray Otunba Gani Adams?
I have been close to Otunba Adams for 10years and as best of friends, together we advanced the progress of our Yoruba race. I was even very comfortable with him because of his love and passion for culture and heritage of Yoruba race, which he hasn’t deviated from.
Along the line, he got lucky and he became the 15th Aare Onakankafo of Yorubaland.That position came with a lot of responsibilities and activities, which none of us was prepared for but we ran with it.
At a time and being a very pragmatic person, I knew that the position required a lot of sacrifices from me which family issues and other engagements wouldnt allow, so as a friend, I told him I needed time for myself and he consented without any objection. I left voluntarily; without fight or rancour.
But I was surprised when news started filtering in that Otunba Adams said I, in conjunction with some people, collected N200million from Asiwaju Tinubu. This was a shock because I have never sat one on one before now with the All Progressive Congress national leader to the point of him giving such amount of money to assassinate anyone.
Till now, I still dont believe that someone I was friends with for 10years would think I got paid to deal with him because I have one principle which is ‘if you lose me as a friend, you’ve not gained an enemy’.
I will rather remain your former friend than your new enemy.
Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, made him the Aare Onakankafo on the strength of an organisation he formed for Yoruba people in diaspora, named Oodua Progressive Union, OPU. If I can remember vividly, Alaafin said that the essence of Yoruba race is in our culture, tradition and language. He then said anybody, who has spent better part if his life promoting those things he listed should be seen as the one fighting for the cause of the race. So Otunba Adams emergence became automatic.
And in agreement, I’m yet to see any Yoruba man who has stood for Yoruba tradition till today like Otunba Gani Adams. I believed that for Alaafin to have so decided, it goes beyond sentiment or emotion. The king must have done his consultations to arrive at that decision.
Does Otunba Ganiyu Adams have the capacity to undertake the responsibility?
That’s another thing entirely because capacity is about office and structure.
As at the time I was still with him, there was structure. It has been close to 8 months now and I have lost interest, I don’t know as at today.
Are you also as diabolical (juju) as Aare Adams is alleged to be?
I’m a ardent lover of Juju music and Sir Shina Peters is my Juju idol (Laughs).
I met Aare Gani Adams in South Africa when I was going to church. While waiting for my church members in SA to pick me, and being a member of Celestial Church, we were on Sutana at my hotel. Aare also happened to be at the same hotel and motioned to those around him that these people in Sutana must be Nigerians and likely Yoruba. So someone pointed me to him that I was a Nigerian journalist, Femi Davies. So he asked them to call me and the rest was history.
But through out the life of our relationship, we have never shared anything mystical, he recognised my religious belief. Beside, his background is Cherubim and Seraphim, and he has never introduced juju to me. We have travelled to over 20 countries together and I have never for once seen him with juju.
Even though we’re not friends anymore, the perception of people about him as being a walking charms house isn’t what it is.
Being a leader of a socio-cultural organisation, which I understand is now going political, he has to recognise all religions being practised by the race. Besides Oodua People Congress has traditional, Christian and Muslim bodies, so he has to practise what his followers do as their leader.
Why does Yoruba refuse to recognise his authority as the Aare Onakakanfo?
It’s fear. Possible fear that he can’t be cowed. Aare Adams is not someone you can demand his audience no matter how influential you are, which I admire in him. So they would rather fight his recognition.
Don’t forget that Alaafin is the only individual who can install an aare and it’s the only titled chief that runs across the Yoruba race, the glamour attached to it was because the last two bearers of the title, late Chief Samuel Ládòkè Akíntọ́lá and Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, were well celebrated.
Even some people still refuse to recognise the king in their domain, it is just natural for people to choose what is being recognised.
Was there a conflict between Aare Adams and Asiwaju Tinubu?
I don’t think so. Infact I was at a wedding where the two met, greeted and spoke in seclusion for some minutes. I’m not aware of any official fracas between the two.
Though politically, they had differences. While Asiwaju was for President Mohammadu Buhari during 2015 elections, he was rooting for former president, Goodluck Jonathan on the strength of first come, first served.
When President Buhari approached him, Aare Adams told him that he appreciated reaching out to him but ‘I have already given my word to former President Jonathan’. This is a hallmark of a man with a clear mind. Infact, to show that there was no conflict between the two, it was same Buhari’s administration that approved and paid the oil pipe contract to him.
Can you work with Asiwaju Tinubu?
Otunba Gbenga Daniel till tomorrow remains my political idol and mentor. The bulk of what I am now, in terms of exposure and reality of life, is what I have studied and tapped from him. I also knew that when Asiwaju Tinubu made up his mind to be governor of Lagos State, the meeting was held right in OGD’s office still at Maryland. But if tomorrow Otunba Gbenga Daniel leases me out to Asiwaju, I will obey my leader.