BY KEVIN OJI
THESE days, former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode relishes in casting himself as an unrepentant patriot deeply wounded by the enormous challenges facing the nation. As an opposition figure against President Goodluck Jonathan, he has been less charitable in his blistering attacks on the present administration. But in the face of empirical evidence, is President Jonathan lacking in ability or qualification in his execution of the highest office in the land?
Is Fani-Kayode’s depiction of the President as incompetent part of the opposition’s grand strategy to rubbish the President so as to advance their narrow selfish agenda? Does Fani-Kayode have the pedigree or moral authority to pontificate on Nigeria’s socio-political condition given the swirling allegations of embezzlement and corruption. While we ruminate over these posers, I am persuaded by the perfidy of the nation’s political elite to state without equivocation that the tenor of Fani-Kayode’s intemperate, disjointed lamentations on the state of the nation derives from his hallucinatory obsession for relevance in the scheme of things.
Lest we forget, Fani- Kayode, it was, who was the attack dog of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo. During his ignoble reign, no statesman was spared his vitriolic attacks either out of his eagerness to secure his job or at the behest of the ex-president. He was an embarrassment to the office of the president and had to be removed from the ex-president’s information management team to save it from the ridicule he had exposed it by his numerous gaffes and disjoined rationalisations.
Given his antecedent, once out of the corridors of power with numerous fraud allegations threatening to eclipse his fledgling political career, it is predictable that Fani-Kayode is now in the trenches to discredit the present administration. Although his present effort is an exercise in futility, since his wild allegations are devoid of logic and empirical evidence, the time has come to subject his allegations to close scrutiny.
In the after math of the Kano bombing which claimed the lives of scores of Nigerians, Fani-Kayode was in his elements. He wasted no time in declaring that the President is overwhelmed with demonstrable inability to contain the growing insecurity. Given his stark verdict, he called on the President to quit. Fani- Kayode’s vituperation fits into the mould of insensitivity exhibited by his opposition co-travellers who are shamelessly determined to play politics with the Boko Haram insurgency to score cheap political points. For emphasis, the nation is on the throes of a low density war never experienced since the devastating civil war. The Jonathan administration has been bold, courageous and unwavering in its determination to crush this insurgency. Both the Army and the intelligence services with the cooperation of world powers are in the front line of the battle to defeat the enemies of the Nigerian state.
Fani-Kayode’s highly emotional lamentation offers no clear solution to bring an end to this insurrection. As against his wild allegations, President Jonathan has mobilized all patriots and today, the nation, except the extremist voices from the opposition who want the ongoing efforts to fail for cheap political points, are united in their rejection of violence. The military option as pursued by the President remains the only viable alternative to contain and defeat this insurgency. Boko Haram has become known as an affiliate of Al-Quada.
This ignoble organisation is a nimble and vicious adversary which has demonstrated blood thirst and disdain for the sanctity of human life. Unmasking the patrons of this devilish entity requires iron clad evidence which will take time to assemble. Fani-Kayode should tell Nigerians what he would do differently as president instead of gloating over this orchestrated violence inflicted on the nation by desperate political predators. Insurgency the world over is a bloody campaign and leads to the unfortunate loss of human lives. Having fought the Boko Haram to a stand still, I salute the President’s pragmatic vision of granting amnesty to Boko Haram.
It is pragmatism and courage nurtured by compassion in response to higher national objective which is to stop further waste of human lives. He deserves commendation and not condemnation. Governments the world over are not averse to negotiating with insurgents. Recent events in Turkey and Colombia are instructive.
The call by Fani-Kayode on the President to quit is defeatist, cowardly and untenable. The President is the custodian of the sacred mandate of the Nigerian people. He was elected to tackle problems and not run away from them as the likes of Fani-Kayode are canvassing. Rather than join the motley crowd of disgruntled political leaders whose unguarded utterances are indirectly fuelling the insurgency, Fani-Kayode still has the opportunity to desist from his ill-advised enterprise.
Although Fani-Kayode’s mindset, colic rage and vaunted ambition will not allow him and his co-travellers in the opposition to accept this reality, Nigerians know that President Jonathan, more than any other administration before him, is committed to revamping the power sector and re-building our huge infrastructure in several stages of decay. Given the several swirling allegations of fraud and embezzlement surrounding him, Fani-Kayode lacks the moral authority to pontificate on corruption and good governance since he is hardly a role model. Nigerians know and have followed with keen interest his corruption trials.
*Mr. Oji, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Lagos.