To keen followers of political developments in Nigeria, the defection, few days ago of Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, former Minister of Aviation from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) did not come as a surprise. This is because defection from one political party to another is not alien to FFK as he is fondly called by his admirers. He effortlessly jumps into any political party and jumps out at will, promising never to return. Before anybody could say ‘Jack’, he has returned again singing a different tune. Little wonder a political analyst recently described Fani-Kayode as the ‘Ambassador Plenipotentiary Of Nigeria’s Room and Parlour Politics’.
When he announced on June 2, 2014 that he ‘has parted ways forever with the APC’, the then opposition party he joined barely four months ago on 7th February, 2014, many analysts had predicted that Fani-Kayode will still find his way back to the APC when it defeated the PDP and became the ruling party in 2015. Apparently, haunted by his words that he has parted ways with APC forever, it took Fani-Kayode seven years to eat his own vomit and return to the APC, a party he once said was filled with people who had sympathies for Boko Haram.
“My reasons for leaving the party (APC) are because I consider nation-building as being far more important than party politics, party affiliation or party formations. I am a devout and committed Christian and I cannot remain in a party where a handful of people that have sympathies for Boko Haram and that have a clear Islamic agenda are playing a leading role”. Consequent upon his return to the same APC, Nigerians are asking Fani-Kayode ‘Has anything changed between then and now? ‘Those who have symapthies for Boko Haram in APC then, have they left the party or have they repented from their evil ways?’ So many questions for Fani-Kayode to answer in the days ahead.
While it has been established that Fani-Kayode’s defection to APC did not come as a surprise to many people, given his dalliance and hobnobbing with key leaders of the party, especially the APC National Caretaker Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state whom he once described as a ‘cheeky little infant and obnoxious pubescent’, many Nigerians were however taken aback at the timing of his defection, especially coming at a time his new party, the APC-led federal government is waging a relentless battle against Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Yoruba Nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly called Igboho.
While Kanu was extradited to Nigeria from Kenya on June 27 and is currently in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS), Igboho was picked up in Cotonou in neighbouring Benin Republic while attempting to board a flight to Germany.
When the going was good, Fani-Kayode had on numerous occasions celebrated his friendship with Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu, and faulted the Federal Government’s actions against the activists.
Fani-Kayode first had an encounter with Kanu in 2017 when they both met in Kuje prison in Abuja. While the former Minister was detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which accused him of money laundering on account of his role in the failed re-election bid of former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 general elections, Kanu who later escaped before his latest arrest was incarcerated by the DSS on charges of treasonable felony.
Fani-Kayode had published a piece he titled, “Head bloodied but not bowed and the ascension of President-elect Donald Trump”, in which he recounted how he was kept in the wing of the prison where suspected Boko Haram terrorists were kept and how he later met and had a three-hour instructive chat with Kanu, who had, at the time, spent more than a year in the prison.
He wrote, “When I went to visit the great and brilliant freedom fighter, Nnamdi Kanu, who is the leader of IPOB, and easily the most courageous, powerful and credible Igbo leader in Nigeria today, in his cell, we had a very instructive and long discussion.
“I had never met Nnamdi before and I was amazed at his depth of knowledge, his immense courage and deep convictions. There is no doubt in my mind that that man is going places and in him the Igbo have an Ojukwu and an Nnamdi Azikiwe rolled into one. He is destined for greatness”.
When Kanu was extradited from Kenya in June, Fani-Kayode tweeted that the federal government should treat him with respect and ensure that he does not die in DSS custody. “It is no longer news that #MaziNnamdiKanu has been arrested and detained. I advise the FG to ensure that he does not die in custody and that he is treated with decency, decorum and respect.”
When Igboho’s residence in Soka area of Ibadan was invaded by DSS agents in June, Fani-Kayode who publicly said he is a close ally to the secessionist agitator, condemned the invasion warning those involved not to turn southwest to the theatre of war.
He wrote, “The havoc done at Chief Sunday Adeyemo’s (Sunday Igboho’s) home at 1.30 am this morning by soldiers and security agents where they surround the house, laid siege on the occupants and then attacked. Two people were killed and their bodies were taken away whilst a large number of others were arrested.
“Sunday Igboho’s passport and travel documents were stolen together with his phones, his personal effects, computers and the sum of two million naira. There were about 100 soldiers and security agents involved and Sunday managed to escape after his boys shielded him from the bullets. They insisted that he should leave whilst they resisted the attack as best as they could and with few numbers”.
“My question is this: what has this man done to deserve this? There is nothing he has been asked to do in terms of keeping the peace in the South West by the Federal Government and the Yoruba elders that he has not done including guaranteeing the security and safety of the local Hausa Fulani population, building bridges, keeping the peace and having a dialogue with other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria”.
When the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) warned Igboho to be wary of Fani-Kayode’s friendship, he replied them Fani-Kayode is a stakeholder in the struggle for Yoruba Nation and that he has no reason to doubt him. He added that he has total confidence in him.
He said, “Chief Femi Fani Kayode is one of the stakeholders that identifies with us on the struggle of Yoruba Nation agitation.He can give his own advice at any time as regards the agitation and there’s no reason to doubt him. We have 100 per cent confidence in him.
Let’s not talk with envy, We must unite and stay strong in one voice.
“Therefore, we want to identify with Chief Femi Fani Kayode and any other person that stands for the Yoruba race irrespective of their religion or political party affiliation.”
By joining the APC when his supposed friends are going through trying times, a lot of commentators have described Fani-Kayode is a traitor, betrayal and backstabber as well as many unprintable names.
Reno Omokri, a former Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, who likened the ex-Minister’s action to that of Judas Iscariot wondered why Fani-Kayode rejoined APC after attacking FG for prosecuting Kanu and Igboho.
He said “You say you are a friend of Sunday Igboho. You called him your brother. You called Nnamdi Kanu your “friend and brother” and one of the most courageous persons you know. You see what this demon in human flesh is doing to these freedom fighters, yet you do this? It makes me suspicious. How can these two people who were close to you and who confided in you, end up in Buhari’s trap, and then you join his party? This looks like 30 pieces of silver! At this point, I would very much hate to be your friend and brother.”
Also, apex Igbo group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, said Fani-Kayode, was used by the APC-led government to deceive Nnamdi Kanu.
The Secretary-General of Ohanaeze, Okechukwu Isiguzoro in a statement said Fani-Kayode had been a secret agent of the caliphate and the Presidency against the Igbo nation.
“Femi Fani Kayode’s magniloquence and grandiosity on the unity of Nigeria contrary to his previous stance on Biafra and Oduduwa Nations shortly after he was received by President Buhari as a new APC member, had reinforced our suspicions that FFK was a pawn in the hands of Igbo detractors playing the scripts craftily designed for the engineering of sponsored violence and uprising against the people of South-East. He consistently enticed Igbo Governors and Nnamdi Kanu as a friend of Ndigbo, with fanciful and deceitful words to achieve this devilish agenda, which he had accomplished before he defected unexpectedly to APC.
“FFK only played into the hearts and confidence of his Igbo casualties, got sensitive information from the so-called Igbo elites, and passed it on to the Presidency”.
Controversial Nigerian Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, also accused Fani-Kayode, of being a traitor following his defection. Gumi, who likened Fani-Kayode to Judas who betrayed Jesus Christ said “I have for long, neglected the rantings of the Judas of Oduduwa attacking me knowing fully well that he is fake and a traitor.
“Time has now caught up with him and thanks to Allah, all his vituperations are cast in the dustbin of merciless history. It is him now, one wonders which of the seven circles of hell this duper will settle if he doesn’t repent.”
The OPC which also accused Fani-Kayode of betrayal in a press statement by its Publicity Secretary, Yinka Oguntimehin said “You can’t trust a politician, Femi Fani-Kayode is just one out of the lot. He has no principle, and he is an agent of the government. So it is never a new thing to see him defecting from PDP to APC. Fani-Kayode has no measure of integrity and he is a political jobber with no ideology”.
Will Fani-Kayode, APC’s latest signing use his current position to plead the cause of his friends, Kanu and Igboho or leave them in the lurch, thereby vindicating those who have described him as a traitor? Nigerians are watching with keen interest.