By Emmanuel Aziken
The stage for the articulation of Chief Femi Fani-Kayode’s political obituary was set in 2019 when rumours of his possible defection to the All Progressives Congress, APC surfaced.
Responding at that time, the former minister who had served as communication director in the Goodluck Jonathan 2015 Presidential Campaign said that he would rather die than defect to the APC.
His assertion was against the background of the defection to the APC in 2018 of Senators Iyiola Omisore and Musiliu Obanikoro.
“I am not surprised that @MObanikoro and @iyiomisore have got their passports back from the EFCC and are now in America.
“I do not blame them for joining the ruling party to avoid persecution. Some are strong whilst others are weak. I would rather die than join APC or bow to Buhari.”
It is easy to challenge the claim by Fani-Kayode that the two senators were weak in capitulating to the APC.
It is also easy to counter his claim that he was the strong one.APC went after Omisore because of his political significance, and it is to his credit that he helped the party win the run-off election against the PDP in the 2018 Osun governorship election.
Many also reckon that today, Omisore plays a stronger role in the Osun government than even Rauf Aregbesola. Obanikoro is also not less of a factor in Lagos.
His son, Babajide, was believed to have won the 2012 local government chairmanship election in Ikoyi/Obalende where the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu resides.
At that time there was a strong debate within the Tinubu political family on the merits or demerits of upholding the election and allowing what many saw as an insult on Tinubu.
In the end, the election was upturned on a technicality but the political prowess of the Obanikoros was appreciated and today the same Babajide Obanikoro is a member of the House of Representatives after his father was wooed over to the APC.
However, no similar political credential can be traced to Fani-Kayode in his Ile-Ife place of birth or his place of residence in Abuja.
So, it was in that light that when news of his imminent defection started circulating that some in the PDP national leadership felt that it was better to ignore him.
However, some others thought otherwise and a delegation of the National Working Committee, NWC visited him.
At that meeting, issues were raised and sources claim that expectations from the former minister were not fulfilled.
It was in that light that Fani-Kayode started his romance with Yahaya Bello, a man he had previously vilified.
He had dismissed Bello in a tweet in 2018 saying “When I wrote that this boy was a useful idiot and an accursed slave, some said I was being harsh. Truth is that he is even worse than that. His mental faculties are non-functional.”
So when Fani-Kayode recently turned into a propagandist for the same Yahaya Bello he had earlier claimed as an accursed mentally unfit slave, it was enough to situate the political liveliness of the former minister.
Hence questions as to whether Fani-Kayode was dying politically? Since then, he has galivanted all about courting ‘brother governors’ forging nebulous working relationships.
It was in the course of one of such gyrations to Cross River, apparently to woo Governor Ben Ayade to the APC that he exploded during a press conference when the question as to who was bankrolling his missions to his ‘brother governors’ was asked.
At that time few suspected who may have been ‘bankrolling’ him. Now we can reasonably suspect given his admission on Thursday that he was instrumental to the defection of three PDP governors to the APC.
As with almost everything Fani-Kayode, even that claim was yesterday dismissed as an insult by Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State who firmly affirmed that the former minister knew nothing about his defection to the APC.
“It’s an insult, he has to withdraw that statement,” Umahi said yesterday as he affirmed that he was sure that Fani-Kayode did not play any role in the defection of the other two governors.
Indeed, many political stakeholders are really not surprised by the character of the defector.
Indeed, President Olusegun Obasanjo was once quoted as describing Fani-Kayode as smart, albeit in the negative, “Femi Fani Kayode is my boy. Provide him food, he will eat and then sing for you. He’s a smart boy.”
According to sources, the plot for Fani-Kayode to defect to the APC had long been on the cards but it had been resisted by critical factors in the party and the presidency who were apparently unwilling to provide the desired food.
His move on Thursday may have been only because those against had been won over, and hence his new song about Buhari he had cursed in time past.
Against the background of the negative reactions since his defection on Thursday, Femi Fani-Kayode who promised that he would rather die than join the APC can practically be said to be politically dead.
No food can revive Fani-Kayode again either for his positive or negative values.
The major gain for the APC is that the opposition has been shorn of one of its most articulate exponents.
Besides that, the party has bought a bad market as the man who defected will not add value given his own words that only a dead Fani-Kayode can join APC!