As a political player who has been arrested on several occasions, Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK) is fully aware of his rights and knows how to protect them. Unfortunately, more than anything he insists on exercising his fundamental right not to live up to other people’s expectations of him, as well as his right to constantly subject himself to ridicule.
FFK has built a career out of insulting his political peers, elders and betters. In retaliation in order to taunt his character, numerous stories are circulated about his inability to maintain a matrimonial home and the maltreatment of his workers. However, they are unnecessary and should be discounted, because in terms of tainting his political reputation, FFK does not need help. He is doing a good job by himself! He has routinely filled the media with the most virulent scurrilous character assassinations of practically all political leaders in the nation, and has stoked ethnic and religious tensions nationwide, yet ironically takes serious umbrage when he feels insulted. There is no need to copiously recall all the invectives and scorn he has poured upon President Buhari over the years, but in addition to accusing him of committing crimes against humanity amongst the more printable insults is calling him a tribal and religious bigot, a hypocrite of the anti-graft war, and a propagator of Fulanisation. It’s indisputable that vitriolic attacks on Buhari and the APC similar to FFK’s have influenced armed and unarmed agitations against the Nigerian State.
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Those who still believe in principled behaviour and continue to hold on to some kind of ethics are at a loss to understand how he can possibly be welcomed into the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Whatever his faults may or may not be, FFK has never been accused of being daft. He fully understands that in order to ensure that, despite their monumental failure, APC clings on to power in 2023, the party is willing to accept all manner of people into their fold, even those with questionable reputations. Now that he has returned to swallow his vomit, and been forgiven and embraced, FFK can be expected to turn his bile upon opposition leaders. Anyone who is surprised at his reception or feels that this parade of forgiveness is disconcerting, needs to learn the ways of APC politics. As their former National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole said, once you join the party, your sins will be forgiven. Nigerians are at a loss to understand what Buhari has forgiven him for. He hasn’t confessed to telling any lies or committing any crime, neither has he been convicted of any.
The outcry when FFK crossed-carpet and was received in Aso Villa was unnecessary. By now, experience should have taught Nigerians that only three things are important to their politicians. The first is money, the second is a lack of principles, and the third is something no one can remember! It’s difficult to understand how FFK brings value to the APC. He has never been credited with contributing to the electoral success of any party he has belonged to and his welcome has only further damaged the APC’s already tattered reputation for integrity.
To give him due credit, FFK fully understands that in Nigerian politics, it’s easier to succeed by getting appointment than through winning elections. Indeed most of our so called “elder statesmen” and “political leaders” never won an election in their lives but simply held several undeserved political appointments. FFK’s decamping is further evidence that Nigerian political actors are not the slightest bit concerned about what they said in the past. They never truly believed whatever it was they said in the first place, and are therefore quite surprised when taken at their word! Even as he confesses today that he was wrong yesterday, FFK hasn’t given any guarantee that he will not recant tomorrow and say he was wrong today!
There are those who believe that whenever Nigerian politicians defect or say and do something that defies sense, they are motivated only by personal interest. They exemplify Sir Winston Churchill’s remark that while some politicians change their party for the sake of their principles, others change their principles for the sake of their party. Those who describe FFK as a “political joke” should be wary because it is trite that the real problem with political jokes is that they get elected or appointed into top positions!
As far as Nigeria is concerned, it is all too true as Napoleon Bonaparte’s famously said, that “in politics, absurdity is not a handicap”. Nigeria is a nation in which people who know nothing and think they know everything are ripe for political careers! Politics is supposed to be a serious business dealing with serious issues which determine the welfare of a nation’s citizens and it is frightening to see idiocy on display by our current political leaders.
Satirists claim that Nigeria’s top political actors are similar to a baby’s diapers; both need to be changed regularly and for the same reason! Charles de Gaulle’s legendary statement that he had “come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to politicians” is apt for the current situation in Nigeria. The crux of the matter is that FFK is simply another Nigerian politician who knows how to feather his nest. Now that he, along with the likes of communication’s minister Pantami, have been “forgiven” after confessing that they were wrong in the past, future aspiring political appointees will see no reason to mind their language and be careful about their inflammatory utterances. People do pay attention to their words but rather than pass into history as profound utterances, most of what they say will be remembered as profoundly dim-witted nonsense. To paraphrase Plato, Nigeria will never see an end to her troubles until lovers of wisdom come to hold political power or the holders of political power become lovers of wisdom. At present, neither of these things is happening.