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The Buhari red carpet for Fani-Kayode, By Ehichioya Ezomon

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By Ehichioya Ezomon
For 12 days now, Femi Fani-Kayode has become “the issue” in Nigeria’s politics, receiving copious reviews and comments – nearly all negative – from a broad spectrum of a flabbergasted society.
  Actors in the political divide hardly find a common ground on matters in the polity. But on the issue of the “defection” of the former Minister of Aviation, there’s a convergence of opinions.
  Members of the All Progressives Congress – “beneficiaries” of Fani-Kayode’s defection – are more pissed off by his link with the platform that promises “change” in politicking and governance.
  The height of the obvious public disappointment and odium is the red carpet reception that Fani-Kayode received from the head of the governing party in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari.
  The question: What’s Fani-Kayode bringing to the APC, in terms of organisation, finance and campaigns for electoral victories, to merit a primetime reception at the Presidential Villa in Abuja?
  Has Fani-Kayode been credited with contributing to the electoral success of the parties he’d hobnobbed with, other than scavenging for fortunes amid failures to secure his polling booth?
  Why would the APC welcome him if not that the politician’s ways are different from the norm? That accounts for Buhari’s embrace of Fani-Kayode, who used him as a punching bag for many years.
  What didn’t Fani-Kayode label Buhari (and members of the APC): A tribal and religious bigot; sponsor of Boko Haram; patron of Miyetti Allah and Fulani herdsmen; propagator of Fulanisation and Islamisation of Nigeria; hypocrite of anti-graft crusade; committer of crimes against humanity; and a Janjaweed (insurgent/militia).
  Fani-Kayode stoked ethnic and religious tensions he hasn’t paid for with invitations from security agencies that are eager to rein in “trouble makers” that he (Fani-Kayode) qualifies as one.
  People of good conscience can’t fathom Fani-Kayode’s re-entry into APC, with the Director-General of Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Dr Salihu Lukman, summing up members’ frustration.
  Noting Special Adviser to President Buhari on Political Matters, Sen. Babafemi Ojudu’s description of reception for Fani-Kayode as “the saddest day of his political career,” Lukman said APC members’ protest stems from Fani-Kayode’s “venomous nature” of indiscriminate abusing, insulting and disparaging of everybody.
  In a statement, “APC’s High Profile Membership Recruitment and Issues for 2023,” Lukman pointed to Fani-Kayode’s limited capacity to build and sustain relationships, “not just politically, but in every aspect of his life.”
  Lukman added: “Almost every member of APC is angry that our leaders have brought someone like Fani-Kayode into our party. This is made worse by the undeserved red carpet reception given to him.
  “But since it has happened, there is no need to cry over spilled milk. What is very clear is that our leaders, especially President Buhari, have forgiven Fani-Kayode and embraced him as one of us.”
  Lukman advised APC members “not to be more Catholic than the Pope” but to show understanding with the party leaders, despite the negative things that Fani-Kayode had said/written in the past.
  A similar appeal to APC members “for understanding” came from presidential Special Adviser on Media, Femi Adesina, who stated that Fani-Kayode “said things straight from the gutters, things that the natural man would call unforgivable and unpardonable.”
  Adesina’s words: “Against President Buhari, the first family, Yusuf Buhari, whom he (Fani-Kayode) wished had died when the latter had an almost fatal bike accident, APC as a party, the government, leaders of the party, groups and individuals. Even this writer (Adesina) has suffered horrid descriptions from FFK in many write-ups. Yes, he even said he would rather die than return to APC, but last week, he returned – well and alive.”
  Though Adesina noted Buhari’s godly disposition towards Fani-Kayode, the president ought to consider, if noting else, his attacks on the anti-graft war, which his welcoming into APC could rubbish.
  Doesn’t Buhari’s action fit into the narrative that his government condones, and abets corruption; that once you step into the APC, “all your sins” – of treasury looting – “will be forgiven” by the party that vows to rout all forms of official malfeasance?
  Most of the defecting politicians that perpetrate and perpetuate fiscal fraudulence in Nigeria, who’ve been in or out of the PDP and APC governments since 1999, always find reasons for porting from one party to another, and port again and again ad infinitum.
  The easiest excuse is crisis – real or imagined – in the parties. And it comes in the form of the “aggrieved” not carried along in sharing of the bounties, denial of tickets for elective positions, or advice by constituents “due to lack of delivery of dividend of democracy.”
  But these are concoctions brewed by the defectors to cover the reason(s) for their frequent movements among the political parties, or between the major ones, like the APC and PDP.
  Self-interest, alias “stomach infrastructure,” is the real reason politicians defect, and not the concerns for their constituents. What interest, other than self, had Fani-Kayode to move to APC?
  Yet, on why he jumped ship, Fani-Kayode didn’t invoke the crisis in PDP, denial of party largesse or aspiration for office, or prompting by his constituents, but claimed God’s direction, advice from family members, and especially Buhari’s sincerity to unite Nigeria.
  He said of his change of mind about Buhari: “Having moved closer to him over the last few months, I’ve discovered a lot of things I didn’t know before; there’s a lot going on behind the scenes.
  “And I have to begin to think that it is better for us, for me and for my country, to ensure that we operate from within (the APC) and effect the change we want to put in place.”
  But the ex-minister’s alibi is unconvincing to his critics, who iterated former President Olusegun Obananjo’s quote, that: “Fani-Kayode will always go to where there is ‘food’,” a portrayal Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South), offhandedly rubbed in on an Arise TV programme on September 17, 2921.
  Abaribe said: “I do not want to dwell on his issue. Former President Obasanjo had said it all, (that) ‘Femi Fani-Kayode is my boy. Provide him food, he will eat and then sing for you. He’s a smart boy’.”
  “Smart boy,” indeed, who’s good, and adept at “singing for you” by running down any person, no matter how highly placed, that’s crossed the path of his “paymaster(s)” by deploying the most vile of adjectives in the Queens language!
  To put it mildly, Fani-Kayode is an attack dog that spares nobody, except, of course, Chief Obasanjo. Perhaps, if served with the right food, he’d henceforth sing or “sting” for President Buhari!
  If you asked me, it’s the best of times to recruit Fani-Kayode into the governing APC that’s about to face the most crucial and critical processes of the 2023 general election, with the opposition fired up, and served notice on Buhari and the APC.
  Like the wise do, Buhari and the APC are fore-arming themselves. And who but a bare-knuckled Fani-Kayode could help them challenge the opposition in a gruelling campaign. So, to APC’s leaders, Fani-Kayode’s blighted persona is secondary!
Mr. Ezomon, Journalist and Media Consultant, writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
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