With his second return to the APC, Femi Fani-Kayode’s fluctuating disposition makes him quite a puzzling character for critical examination. His recent move unravels an unstable character, and the depth of hypocrisy in his activism and persistent attacks against the government of the day.
When one of the most influential figures in modern social and political activism in the world, Mahatma Gandhi, listed politics without principles among the seven deadly sins he published in his weekly newspaper, Young India on October 22, 1925, he probably had no Nigerian politician in mind. However, the attitude of some Nigerian politicians today might compel many observers to perceive that this list of vices was drawn with Nigeria as a case study.
Or how on earth would the average observer digest the news report that Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress and was presented with excitement to President Muhammadu Buhari, by the Chairman, Caretaker Committee of APC, and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Only a dysfunctional and rudderless system will celebrate the entry of an unbridled and self-righteous political player like Femi Fani-Kayode who thrives in street-wise garrulity and illogical reasoning.
Here is someone who, less than two years ago, described the ruling APC as the pit of darkness, he would never associate with. His words: “I am committed to opposing the APC and those that are in their ranks for the rest of their natural life and I will never join them no matter what! They are nothing but darkness whilst I stand for the light of God and truth: there can be no fellowship between light and darkness”.
Now that he has changed gear when he met with the president, he said: “The point is that I felt it was time to do the right thing, to put Nigeria first and appreciate the efforts that have been made, particularly in the last couple of years in terms of security; fighting insurgency and terrorism.
“It is not always negative and when the time is right, we change direction to join forces and join hands to move the country forward.” What a shocking summersault! Whereas most lawyers are known for guarding their language, Fani-Kayode will always inflame passion with his words. He attacks without leaving any room for possible retreat tomorrow.
This could have been the major reason why earlier plans by his backers -Gov. Mai Buni of Yobe State, Chairman APC National Caretaker Committee, and Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi State – to unveil him to APC faithful met a brick wall. This was even after the Kogi State governor declared that “Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has joined our party in good faith.”
Many party leaders within APC had pushed for the rejection of his planned membership. A strong reason against his acceptance into the APC was his past misdeeds against the party, lack of values and principles, as well as his disrespect for common ethics.
This is why the Director-General of the Progressive Governor’s Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh. Lukman at that time described the rejection of Fani-Kayode by members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as an attestation of the strong internal democratic culture of the party.
In a statement titled “APC, and the Question of Values”, Lukman said the fact that members were able to reject Fani-Kayode’s attempt to join the party meant that APC has values.
It seems the pro-Fani-Kayode group now has the upper hand as he was formally presented to the president.
Fani-Kayode’s political strategies defy all logic. This is someone who has made several scathing comments about the present administration. He has embarked on this mission since 2015 that ushered in the new government that replaced the PDP and has equally made it almost ungovernable. He carefully plotted many schemes to rattle the house of the APC.
He didn’t just stop there, he undertook several politically motivated activities, tormenting the government from social media where hypocrisy, falseness, double standards, and rumours converged. He fired massively at the presidency and the APC-led government. According to Buhari’s media aide, Bashir Ahmad, “he made it a duty to attack and insult everything and everyone in the party and government for several years.” Now, the same man has moved into the APC without blinking.
Fani-Kayode has always been a very privileged man. He was born to a Victorian-trained Nigerian. He is the son of Remi Adetokunboh Fani-Kayode, a legal luminary and former Deputy Premier of Western Nigeria in the First Republic. Remi Fani-Kayode was one of the politicians who moved from the Action Group to the National Congress of Nigeria and Cameroons to team up with the Northern People’s Party to enjoy power at the centre in the First Republic.
Chief Adetokunbo was evidently born with a silver spoon and had enjoyed education abroad. He was a prominent figure in the fight for Nigeria’s Independence. It was also rumoured that he was the master of double-speak and rabble-rouser that engaged and entertained Nigerians during political and social discourses in the First Republic. When the military ousted the First Republic politicians, Chief Adetokunbo willingly surrendered, believing that the new regime will find him useful in any way.
His son, Femi Fani-Kayode, former Special Adviser to the President on Public Affairs, Minister of Culture and Tourism, and later the Aviation Minister under President Olusegun Obasanjo has shown he is a true chip of the old block, improving on the game of the old man.
Fani-Kayode had remained in politics in the last three decades or so, participating in national discourses, in many cases speaking tough on issues of governance, and raking up attention with conspiracy theories, especially if it relates to rousing Christians in the North, and exploring unconfirmed stories on the Boko Haram insurgency. His time as an opposition member of the People’s Democratic Party had made him a prominent voice against President Buhari and the APC government. The opposition style of the former minister had also not come without his brazen double-speak, cross-lobbying and cross-engagements with the ruling powers.
For Fani-Kayode, his fluctuating disposition makes him quite an interesting character to understudy. His recent move to the APC, is a clear indication that he never really had the interest of the Nigerians at heart, contrary to what his numerous activisms made him appear. It appears he has always pursued his own interests.
Most observers opine that Fani-Kayode’s style of politics demonstrates his outright lack of decency and courtesy for himself and whatever he appears to stand for. He showcased himself as selfish, self-centered, and clearly very egoistic. He made it clear that he did not care about anything as long as his self-destructive desires are gratified at all costs and by all means.
A man can define many things beautifully in his life, but his character is one thing that will define him instantly and completely. Where he ought to have exercised restraint and focus on facts, Fani-Kayode didn’t, as evident in his comments and writings on the last EndSARS protest and the recent Fulani Herdsmen crisis in Oyo State.
Even the Director-General of the Progressive Governor’s Forum PGF, Salihu Moh Lukman, expressed strong opposition to brand of politics. His words: “For our leaders to associate themselves with Mr.. Fani-Kayode, is simply rewarding scandalous behaviour. Mr. Fani-Kayode has fabricated stories, distorted, insulted the party, and has consistently written and distributed damaging information about our party and our leaders. The elementary rule of decency would require some good distance between our leaders and such a person.
It is said that an unsteady and unstable personality is a dangerous character. Fani- Kayode, is not just unpredictable, his temperament is quite ungovernable. While he was in the APC at the initial stage, the former Minister of Aviation described the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, as a sad testimony of everything that is wrong with the country in 2015. He admitted to being partly responsible for the failure of the PDP having been part of putting the party in leadership position, a situation which he says explains why he, along with other former members are bent on righting their wrongs and seeing to it that they are removed from office. Despite all that he said, he later returned to the PDP. Now he is back with the APC.
In Nigeria there are all kinds of politicians. There are those Like Fani-Kayode whose proclivity for changing camps is unmatched. Politicians in this category are always ready to defect to any party. Their loyalty is determined by the political weather. Today they are on the ruling side. Tomorrow they are with the opposition. This category of people seems to fortify William Clay’s position that “in politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests.”