“With what we have witnessed, I would rather die than join a filthy, rat-infested, sinking ship like the Almajiri People’s Congress, APC.” -Femi Fani-Kayode
If politicians had their way, most of what they say or do would suffer permanent delete. That way, no one would remember to hold them accountable for past actions and or utterances. Foul-mouthed Femi Fani-Kayode, nicknamed FFK, falls squarely into this category. Now aboard “a filthy, rat-infested, sinking ship,” [to use his words], FFK would wish to “unsay” all his past comments about the President and the ruling party, APC. Alas, wishes are not horses! And “yabis” [apologies to Afrobeat king Fela Anikulapo-Kuti] time is over. With what we have witnessed [his words again], it is now clear that APC, like a drowning man, clutches for the nearest straw.
It wants to cling to power even if it has to wine or dine with the demon. In desperation, APC and President Muhammadu Buhari do not mind on board even political wayfarers with incredible baggage. It is certainly for the same reason that they have spent months lately trying to woo and entangle former President Goodluck Jonathan, the man they worked four years to undo. But he has now become an irresistible bride.
Irresistible because he is fitting into the game plan of new political exigencies. Now, they are even hobnobbing with their most vitriolic critic, Femi Fani-Kayode, the man who is notorious for deriding and scoffing at the ruling party. The APC fold is the camp of political sojourners and settlers in search of safe havens. This fact was long confirmed by the former National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole that in APC is found a congregation of all kinds of characters, as thieves and brigands are welcome. Even integrity-challenged persons find space when they come. So are people of little electoral value. Who then can APC and Buhari shut out? Nobody.
Do these attributes define who they are and what to expect from them? This week’s musing opens with these posers interrogating the obvious flight of integrity and honour from our polity. And this is happening right under the watch of a man who rode to power donning the garb of integrity and impeccability. After the now estranged Chairman faced the huge backlash of having to lick his vomit trying to sell Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu against his erstwhile boy Godwin Obaseki in the Edo State gubernatorial election last year, one thought a lesson was taught and learnt that politicians should be mindful of their actions and utterances.
It appears FFK had his ears and eyes closed to all that Edo lesson. When the political ‘Holy Spirit’ knocked on his door, he found himself reversing those things he had vowed can only happen over his dead body. When that kind of spirit took hold of Comrade Oshiomhole, he never heard any other noise until he was down and out into the Siberia called oblivion. Last week, the ‘Holy Spirit’ visited gabby and prolix FFK and he was in the Aso Rock Villa right before President Buhari, smiling and bowing before the man he had used noxious adjectives to qualify.
In our polity, integrity and honour have become scarce. That is why the shock of FFK’s porting from PDP to the ruling APC should not be taken seriously…no cause for alarm. Seeing a pig dirty and rough surprises no one. Surprise is when an eagle gets dented. Then only can one begin to worry. This is who we are. Another reason that will help people to forget the FFK porting in a hurry is former President Olusegun Obasanjo. This foremost elder statesman, who first made FFK a minister of cabinet status, had forewarned us… how he can be unsteady when meals are being served and there is a delay of his turn.
He could be restless but once you serve him you can go to sleep, for he will do whatever you desire from him. Every testimonial Obasanjo gives about his people always comes to light. Recall what he said of Nasir el-rufai: “Nasir’s penchant for reputation savaging is almost pathological; he is brilliant and smart but his weakness is in his inability to be loyal to anybody or issue consistently.” But in a state of despair leading to extreme behaviour to cling to power at all costs, President Buhari and his party are carefree about bringing in flotsam and baggage of all sorts. The President no longer cares about the timetested “show me your friends” wise saying.
To him, anything that may count towards improved electoral fortunes is welcome. Where conscience is key, what should be done to FFK who, so to say, is consuming his smelly vomit? Now, he is confronted with his past which, back in APC, he lives to contradict henceforth. However, President Buhari’s gracious acceptance of FFK opens up an issue that has been under discussion for a long time. President Buhari may not have been aware of all the criticisms on him. His media managers had always successfully shielded him from those hard knocks coming his way.
They would naturally respond on his be-half even without his knowledge. Those who believe this theory feel that it’s the reason why it was easy for Buhari to allow FFK right inside his office, posing with the president for the paparazzi. Maybe now that FFK is in the APC dragnet and his previous spoken words on the President and the APC are being relayed to him that he would get to know how dangerous his new ally had been. How his new political paddy had once described the revered Deeper Life Pastor William F. Kumuyi as shameless for shaking hands and smiling with the President in the Villa, the same place he FFK also came last Thursday smiling and bowing scandalously to the man he had traduced since 2015.
If FFK still has conscience left, it must be very loaded and heavy by now. He should be praying so that he doesn’t get deployed to attack his old friends in the PDP and other parties. If that happens, his life’s contradictions will go full circle and he would not have any image for life. Regarding his careless use of divine words like the Holy Spirit directing him or his previous vow of never to return to APC until Jesus comes a second time, that should not surprise anybody. After all, FFK’s friend who accompanied him to the Villa, Governor Bello Matawelle had joined APC after calling on Allah to punish him if he ever contemplates leaving PDP.
So these are birds of the same feather who flock together because of unfulfilled vows. Should it, therefore, surprise anyone that Fani-Kayode’s bridge to the Villa is Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Pantami, who besides his Taliban baggage recently became a professor from a university he never worked for. Nigerians should watch out for another shocker from Fani-Kayode, which he does to show his new friends that they didn’t buy a wasted product after all. There are varying dimensions to take home in looking at FFK’s strange movements.
Besides showing APC’s desperation to remain afloat, it also exposes the hypocrisy of the anti-corruption fight. But all said and done, Chief Fani- Kayode’s character should worry every discerning mind because he is a creation of this system. Something is fundamentally wrong with a society that likes and celebrates a bad man saying good things. The only reason why William Hazlitt said that the only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy is that the repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy. If liars have good memory, maybe they will moderate their lies. If Chief Fani-Kayode’s memory is alive and active, maybe he would have stopped to weigh his utterances and actions in the past before taking this plunge. The reason Buhari will be posing for a photo with Chief Fani-Kayode is that politics makes strange bedfellows.
If President Buhari and APC can continue to claim modesty and be defending their romance with Chief Fani-Kayode who has demonstrated greatly that shamelessness is a wonderful part of the character, it’s because for the APC even the shameless has an attribute worth tapping. No wonder an American author and Public Relations strategist, Ryan Holiday noted that: “If you are shameless enough, you can sell anything” meaning that in shamelessness there can be a virtue. That virtue is perhaps what APC is looking for in FFK. The plausible reason what Chief Fani- Kayode did is not quaking the society with its possible ripple effects in our moral fabrics is that we are all involved in the sin of dirty politics which are undeniably shameless. Is it not therefore disgusting and a mirror of who we are that a man like this in one way or another found favour with Obasanjo, Jonathan and now Buhari. God, help us.