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FFK and his odious baggage by Dapo Okubanjo



Isa Pantami and Fani-Kayode

By Dapo Okubanjo

The man Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK) is a political enigma, not because he has the capacity to win election or has ever won a major electoral battle anywhere in Nigeria but because he has a way of attracting political patronage in spite of having no real electoral value.

His foray into the corridors of power was powered by former President Olusegun Obasanjo who brought a group of ‘young Turks’ many of whom came from privileged background. If my memory serves me right, many of them were part of a group, known as Progressive Action Movement coordinated by Akin Osuntokun at the twilight of the country’s return to politics and the membership include Segun Awolowo and Fani-Kayode, all in their 30s.

President Obasanjo brought them into political office in various capacities and thus launched the man that became better known as FFK into national consciousness.


Not much in terms of controversy could be associated to the then political upstart in the  Obasanjo years even though he had two high profile positions, first as special assistant on Public affairs then later as a cabinet member, but it is surprising that it was the former President that gave Nigerians an insight into the character that now defines FFK’s politics.

Femi Fani-Kayode and Bello Matawalle at Dr Isa Ali Pantami's residence

Femi Fani-Kayode and Bello Matawalle at Dr Isa Ali Pantami’s residence

Just in case anyone has forgotten, it was former President Obasanjo that told Nigerians (not in the exact words though) that once the Ife-born politician is fed, he sings and dances.

The trajectory of FFK’s politics from his days in the Obasanjo kitchen cabinet through his stint as spokesman for the President Goodluck Jonathan campaign team points to the fact that the former President was right after all.

This was because, Fani-Kayode was an Obasanjo critic before he was offered a job and he was also known to have thrown darts at President Jonathan and his administration but ended up acting like the attack dog of both administrations.

He featured prominently at the Abuja end of the Occupy Nigeria protest when the Jonathan administration embarked on the partial deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil sector.


With his caustic tongue, FFK was the cynosure of all eyes at the Berger roundabout and Area 1 protest grounds in Abuja but few months later not a few Nigerians were stunned to see him, on the government’s side, defending the adminstration and marshalling strong arguments on why Jonathan deserves a second term in office.

Femi Fani-Kayode

Femi Fani-Kayode

Unofficial reports indicated at the time that the loquacious politician had a budget estimated to be slightly over a billion naira at his disposal so with the benefit of hindsight, it was not surprising that he sang himself hoarse in order to sell the same product that he had previously demarketed on several occasions.

But perhaps nothing could be said to have cast the darkest cloud on what is left of his reputation as the manner he literally swallowed his vomit by joining a political party that he had since his days as the Jonathan campaign spokesman presented as an evil gathering.

Not even the fact that one of his bosom friends, the late Malam Abba Kyari was the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari could stop him from painting the President and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) bad.

This writer, like many Nigerian, could easily recollect how the former aviation minister once, without been prompted or forced, traced his maternal lineage to Sokoto but it is worthy to note that at the height of his slander against same ethnic group, he made a nauseating sexual innuendo about the Fulani and their cattle.

Femi Fani-Kayode has denied dumping the PDP for APC

Femi Fani-Kayode

It is needless to remind anyone about the caustic words FFK had used to describe the President and his party as many members of his new party as well as his former allies are still flashing them all over the media as a reminder of who he is.

And all through those times, not once did his then allies called the self-acclaimed speaker of truth to order. Not even the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) attempted to dissociate themselves from the nuisance FFK had become.

Now all of a sudden to the former ruling party, he is a snitch, a politician with no real electoral value that has never won an election, a low lifer etc. but these are part of what some people have always said about him, except of course ‘snitch’. Maybe PDP members will consider it necessary at some point to provide an insight into that aspect of FFK’s character.

Several days after what the loquacious politician was received by President Buhari, months after the kite was first flown by those who brought him into the party, many APC supporters are still rightly incensed.

But for now, he has been accepted by the party’s national leadership even though the Oyo chapter, like most party supporters and sympathisers, has since rejected him.


So as much as FFK is now an APC member, baggage and all, the type of reception he is getting outside of the red-carpet treatment he got in the Presidential Villa is one that should make any rational individual ponder over his past utterances and activities.

It is not likely that Fani-Kayode will apologise for all those vile comments but the public outrage trailing his latest political adventure would serve as a lesson to politicians with a habit of demonizing others just to attain a level of popularity.

For FFK, his membership of APC is unwelcomed but like the former Lagos state governor and now Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola once said, certain characters can be allowed into a church or mosque, but they should not be allowed near the pulpit.

This succinct message should not be lost on the national leadership of the ruling party.


Dapo Okubanjo writes from Abuja


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