This is a list of people who were Aare ona kakanfo in Yoruba land since inception
1. Kokoro gangan of Iwoye
2. Oyatope of Iwoye
3. Oyabi of Ajase
4. Adeta of Jabata
5. Oku of Jabata
6. Afonja of Ilorin
7. Toyeje of Ogbomoso
8. Edun of Gbogun
9. Amepo of Abemo
10. Kurumi of Ijaye
11. Ojo Aburumaku of Ogbomoso (son of Toyeje in No 7 above) 12. Latosisa of Ibadan.
13. Ladoke Akintola of Ogbomoso
14. Moshood Kasimawo Abiola of Abeokuta
15. Gani Adams of Arigidi-Akoko
Though it has been claimed in recent times that the title of Aare ona kakanfo has become more or less ceremonial, traditionally, the Kakanfo is meant to be the head of the Eso’s (the Alaafin’s special military force) and the head of the Yoruba army. The title in those days was reserved for the greatest Yoruba tactician.
When Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola became the occupant of the position decades after Aare Latoosa’s death during the Kiriji war, it was believed that the days when Kakanfos died in wars were over. The thought all over Yorubaland then was that Akintola’s dexterity and achievements as Minister and Premier of the Western Region earned him the title.
A peep into the spiritual responsibilities attached to the title probably explains why the late Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba I.B Akinyele prayed in his book, Iwe Itan Ibadan that no Ibadan indigene should ever become the Aare Ona Kakanfo again.
Before taking office, Kakanfos of old were made to pass through rigorous spiritual exercises including shaving the head after which 201 incisions are made on the bald head with 201 different lancets. Specially prepared ingredients from 201 viols are rubbed into the cuts, one for each. The incisions are mainly to make the Kakanfo fearless and courageous, hence the stubborn and obstinate nature of Aare Ona Kakanfos.
In the days of the Oyo Empire, Oyo indigenes or residents were never made Kakanfos because the Aare was not to give way to anyone, not even the Alaafin, if the need ever arose.
And by virtue of his office as the commander of the Alaafin’s army and that of the entire Yoruba nation, Kakanfos of old were required to go to war at least once in three years on the orders of the Alaafin, and the Kakanfo must return dead or alive within three months. In other words, he is to return home a victor or be brought home as a corpse.
Whether by coincidence or design, most of them were connected with turmoil that shook Yorubaland. Afonja L’aiya L’oko (the brave warrior with the spear) of Ilorin, Kurumi of Ijaye, Latoosa of Ibadan and Ladoke Akintola had their deaths connected to incidents involving change of government. Toyeje who could have been said to have had a good end suffered an ignominious treatment as Onikoyi, a provincial ruler created a parallel Aare Ona Kakanfo in person of Edun. As such, Toyeje had to cope with the existence of a rival Kakanfo and it was only in his time that Yorubaland had two Kakanfos.
The similar fates that befell past Kakanfos were obviously more than just coincidence. MKO Abiola’s immediate predecessor, Samuel Ladoke Akintola, the former Premier of the Western Region was shot dead on January 15, 1966 during a coup that marked the end of the First Republic. Armed soldiers had stormed his residence and like a true Kakanfo, Akintola did not give up without a fight. He opened fire and wounded some of the soldiers before he was eventually shot.
Yorubaland will never forget Iyanda Asubiaro Latoosa of the Oke Aare fame in Ibadan, Latoosa died in the course of the 16-year Ekitiparapo. After spending years on the war front on the hills of Imesi Kiriji, Latoosa died of a broken heart in 1885.
Kurumi, the Aare who held sway in Ijaye paid dearly in the hands of the Ibadan army for insisting that Crown Prince Adelu should die with Alaafin Atiba, his father, according to the old order. His refusal to recognise Adelu as Alaafin led to his downfall as the Ibadan army had aligned with the “constitutional amendment” effected by Alaafin Atiba which enabled crown princes to succeed their fathers. After a two-year war, Ijaye was reduced by famine and the Aare eventually died a sad man.
The case of Afonja of Ilorin was pathetic. At the zenith of his glory, he was the greatest and most powerful Yoruba ruler. His undoing was the invitation he extended to his Fulani priest to come and reside in Ilorin.
Those who believe the Aare Ona Kakanfo title is jinxed have traced the woes of subsequent Aares after Afonja to the curse placed on Afonja by Alaafin Aole.
Aole had ordered Afonja to embark on a suicide mission by attacking Iwere Ile, a town naturally fortified. The refusal of the Aare to carry out the orders of his sovereign led to distrust. With the help of Fulanis, Afonja instigated an attack that sacked Oyo. Before the Alaafin went to sleep eternally, however he pronounced some curses after which the Yoruba country never remained the same.
It has been widely agreed that like most of his predecessors, Abiola, the late Aare Ona Kakanfo did not die of natural causes, regardless of the autopsy report that did not spot any foul play.
Aara Gani Adams of Arigidi Akoko tenure is out to break the jynx and demystify the title.
Aare Gani Adam’s which i personally nick named " ENIKU and KUYINU" role is not to fight but to make peace and make sure that Yoruba people are not marginalised . He is to make sure that the Yoruba enjoy the good things of life . He feels that democracy has afforded everybody the opportunity to get education,become literates read and know his or her rights The new Aare would not allow the Yoruba to be cheated and starved to death. He would also not want Yoruba to be marginalised.The Yoruba will fight back if you fight them but they will not attack anybody for any reason. Aare Adams’ function is to bring peace and unity to Yoruba land so that we will jointly fight for our rights , for our self - determination and other things .