By Victor Afam Ogene
Following the widespread recriminations that trailed the whirlwind romance between People’s Democratic Party(PDP) quarter guard, Femi Fani-Kayode and All Progressives Congress(APC) undertaker, Governor Yahaya Bello, I had refrained from commenting on the issue.
Bello had, in boyish infatuation, gleefully announced on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 that “Our brother and friend, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has joined our party in good faith.
“He’s joining our party to add his own positive energy and make contributions into ensuring that the APC is a party to beat,” the Kogi state governor told a crowd of cheering party faithful.
Signs that the ‘guest’ was not welcome to the banquet were both fast and furious. While social media adherents spent the day savaging the image of the former minister, for contemplating joining the APC despite his many bad verses against the party, internal dissent against the idea was equally swift.
Leading the charge, Dr. Salihu Lukman, Director-General, Progressive Governors Forum, an amalgam of governors elected on the platform of the APC, pointedly declared that the likes of Fani-Kayode do not deserve accommodation in the APC.
In a statement titled, “APC and the Question of Values,” Lukman said:” On no account should anyone with the kind of baggage of Mr. Fani-Kayode be invited to join the party…”
For example, on December 15, 2019, Fani-Kayode reacting to allegations of flirting with the APC had said: “The suggestion that I joined the APC is false and insulting. Those that are peddling this fake news should bury their heads in shame. With what we have witnessed I would rather die than join a filthy, rat-infested ship like the Almajiri People’s Party (APP).
Now, if Governor Bello had envisioned that the Fani-Kayode ‘catch’ would be a fitting Valentine gift to party elders and leaders, in his capacity as head of the mobilization and sensitisation committee for the party’s registration and re-validation of members exercise, the hazy outcome does not quite bear him out.
Regardless, 10 days after Bello’s, Fani-Kayode has “seen the light and joined APC” sing-song, the usually combative ex-presidential spokesman has remained tongues tied, neither forcefully denying the claim, nor owning up.
Besides a tepid reaction, which stated that “though we have had meetings across party lines and we are in a season of political consultation, I have not left the PDP, ” Fani-Kayode is yet to speak on the issue again.
If FFK is to be believed, so what was the essence of the photo oops they shared, of him and Governor Bello meeting with interim National Chairman of the APC, Governor Mai Mala Buni?
In fact, between Governor Bello and himself, one person is telling the truth, and the other lying to the public.
Ordinarily, whatever a Fani-Kayode does with his life – including the political party he decides to prostitute with – ought not raise anyone’s adrenaline. But in a clime where the public arena is often assailed with self-righteous claims, sometimes inclining towards incitement, any public actor who encounters a Damascus experience should know that he owes us, plebeians, the simple duty of explaining his conversion.
At least, Saul copiously explained his metamorphosis to being Paul.
But is a Fani-Kayode likely to follow in the tradition of that great evangelist?
Hardly. Proud as a peacock, Fani-Kayode probably lives with the illusion that he’s the best thing that has happened to public communications since the advent of the 4th Republic.
A Cambridge University alumni, the man popular as FFK is, without any doubt, both persuasive and passionate. With deep elocution and an enthralling command of the English language, FFK has always managed to run with deers, and hunt with foxes.
Gifted with an acerbic tongue, his writings are probably worse, always dripping with savage expletives.
Thus, instead of the public acclaim which his writings and multiple stints in government ought to accord him, Fani-Kayode has rather gained notoriety.
For example, in violent conflict with his public posturing, political expediency appears to rank high and above principle, social and moral scruples.
Indeed, his latest macabre dance appears to be in tandem with an age-long African belief that no matter how long you treat a psychiatrist patient, he would never cease to, once in a while, take recourse to what the Igbos call, ntamu ( involuntarily speaking to oneself).
Only about eight months ago, FFK had embarked on a cross-country tour of some states, as a self appointed moral assessor.
Everywhere he went to, he praised the helmsman to high heavens, regardless of party affiliation and public perception of each governor.
It was on one such stop that a journalist posed what ordinarily was an innocuous question: ‘who is bankrolling your trips?’
Hell descended thereupon, as FFK raved and cursed like a mother hen whose chick had been snatched by a kite; calling the journalist “stupid” at some point.
Although he later apologised for the gaffe, many wonder if, indeed, Fani-Kayode can swear by either Ogun or Amadioha, that on each stop he was not amply rewarded with monetary gift as ‘thank-you-for-coming.’
While we wait upon both the APC and FFK to either consummate their newfound love, or repudiate same, many caution the PDP against retaining a possible mole in its fold.
For as the late business mogul and politician, Bashorun MKO Abiola once told me in the early days of my career, ‘it is only a foolish man that retains a wife who has served him notice of quitting the marriage.’
Think Governor Dave Umahi. Think former Governor Gbenga Daniel. Like FFK, they both served considerable notice preparatory to jumping ship.
• Ogene is a former member House of Representatives and publisher of 365Daily.