Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode [above], the reckless flamboyant campaign spokesperson of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s PDP is at it again. When you think you can predict the guy, he surprises you even more.
But before focusing on Mr. Fani-Kayode, let me note the two broad arguments I will attempt to make in this essay. The first is that Ndigbo are always unnecessarily prodded to the fore-front in crisis circumstances. The second is that those who are showing recent love for Ndigbo and Biafra may actually have seen a crisis situation and are trying to prod Ndigbo to the fore-front. Since these two topics are interrelated, I will address them concurrently.
The online version of the Vanguard newspaper of September 29, 2015 reported that “some pro-Saraki supporters converge[d] at the Senate entrance to chant solidarity songs for Saraki [the Senate President] and his deputy Ike Ekweremadu. The pro-democracy group, Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo Youth Movement, ONYM led by Mr Uche Nnadi [addressed] newsmen …”
When I read the news clip, I said to myself, here we go again. Recall that Dr. Saraki has just been docked before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT and is in a fight for his political life. As far as I am concerned, the principal actors here are President Buhari, Dr. Saraki and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Senator Ike Ekweremadu is way down the food chain. Why then is Ohaneze at the fore-front? Where are Buhari’s Hausa/Fulani boys? Where are Dr. Saraki’s paid Ilorin praise singers? Where are Tinubu’s area boys?
And it is finding Ndigbo at the fore-front in crisis situations that compels me to take a cautious look at all the current love for Biafra. The guy who appears to be the greatest lover of Biafra at this point in time is one Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode – a love that is rather curious and strange given his well-documented diatribes against Ndigbo.
But there are other Biafra lovers. In a recent interview (https://www.naij.com/618602-federal-government-not-treating-igbo-people-right-yerima.html) Alhaji Shettima Yerima, an activist and President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) is reported as showing sympathy for those agitating for Biafra. The timing of all the current love for Biafra is rather strange.
Mr. Fani-Kayode appears to write before he thinks. Consequently, if you place side by side two essays purportedly from the same Mr. Fani-Kayode, you will be hard pressed to understand what’s going on.
And that is what I will attempt to do in this essay. On one side I will place a 2013 vitriolic rant on the Igbo captioned “The bitter truth about the Igbo” (http://www.premiumtimesng.com/opinion/142477-the-bitter-truth-about-the-igbo-by-femi-fani-kayode.html). On the other side, I will place his recent godly revelation about the Igbo captioned “Nnamdi Kanu and the cry for Biafra,” (http://blogs.premiumtimesng.com/?p=169333).
Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion on Mr. Fani-Kayode’s motives. However, I will attempt to make the case that Mr. Fani-Kayode is a Yoruba supremacist. He is reckless. He is arrogant. He is dangerous. He can’t be taken seriously. He can’t be trusted.
The young Igbo chap, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu has been in the news lately with his Radio Biafra. We, the Igbo are not a monolithic group. Mr. Kanu believes in Biafra and there are many like him. There are others who think that bringing up Biafra now is an unnecessary distraction.
Taking a step back, we note that there are many who believe that most problems in Nigeria tend to have their origins in the West or what we refer to today as the South West. Yet curiously, it is the Igbo who always bear the brunt of these problems. In a paper presented at the “National Conference On The 1999 Constitution” jointly organized by the Network For Justice And The Vision Trust Foundation, at The Arewa House, Kaduna (11th –12th September, 1999,) Sanusi Lamido Sanusi argued that “The Yoruba elite were the first, in 1962, to attempt a violent overthrow of an elected government in this country. In 1966, it was the violence in the West which provided an avenue for the putsch of 15th January.”
It will be naive for any Igbo to blame the Yoruba elite for the Biafra secession. But that doesn’t mean that one should not try to learn from these past experiences and use them as a guide for future behavior.
After the APC victory in the last presidential election, many in the South West had thought that President Muhammadu Buhari will sit on the table with Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and divvy up everything 50-50 between the Hausa/Fulani on one hand, and the Yoruba on the other. The last time I checked, that was not happening.
Moreover, there has been tension between the Yoruba and the Hausa/Fulani following the unfortunate kidnapping of Chief Olu Falae by some Fulani herdsmen. Anger is so much in the South West that some segments of the Yoruba have even threatened secession as a result of this.
With these developments in the South West in mind, I become very suspicious when a well-known Igbo hater like Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode starts sounding like one who has been through the “Holy Ghost Fire” of redemption and is nothing but love for Biafra. Such love might as well have been from hell. Cynics will wonder if we are again at a point where problems might be brewing in the South West and Mr. Fani-Kayode is trying to prop up somebody to the fore-front to bear the brunt of these problems.
I felt dazed reading through Mr. Fani-Kayode’s “Nnamdi Kanu and the cry for Biafra.” I am still not sure if it is “real or memorex.” Has Mr. Fani-Kayode become a champion and an advocate for the Igbo? Strangely, he asserts that “… only the callous would deny the fact that they [the Igbo] have suffered immeasurably in the Nigerian Federation over the last 50 years…Only the uninformed would deny the fact that they have been butchered, murdered, persecuted, broken, humiliated, insulted, cheated and treated with contempt and disdain more than any other ethnic group in the country since July 1966.”
This is rather odd and perplexing when one recalls that in his infamous rant against the Igbo titled “The bitter truth about the Igbo,” Mr. Fani-Kayode had believed the Igbo have stubbornly refused to learn from their past problems. He asserted that despite ‘… all that they have been through over the years and despite their terrible experiences in the civil war we are witnessing that same attitude of “we must control all” ‘
Mr. Fani-Kayode is a Yoruba supremacist. He is also arrogant. He looks down at the other ethnic groups. He talks down on Ndigbo referring to them disparagingly as traders. He asserts: “Unlike them [the Igbo], we [the Yoruba] were never traders but we were (and still are) industrialists and when it comes to the professions we were producing lawyers, doctors, accountants and university graduates at least three generations before they ever did. …”
Mr. Fani-Kayode has an evil mind and manufactures lies and half-truths, contorts facts using evil imagery to vilify a people who did no harm to him. He wickedly claimed that during the unfortunate events of 1966, Ndigbo “mocked, tortured and maimed [Hausa,] took pictures of [the] dead and mutilated bodies and killed … wives and children as well.”
Mr. Fani-Kayode’s supremacism and arrogance also extend to the Hausa-Fulani. Reacting to the unfortunate kidnapping of Chief Olu Falae by Fulani herdsmen, Mr. Fani-Kayode appeared to lose every sense of proportion and reasonableness. In his rant against the Hausa-Fulani titled “The herdsmen from hell” (http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/09/the-herdsmen-from-hell-by-fani-kayode/), Mr. Fani-Kayode believed that the herdsmen “… have become the pests of our nation. … They are like the East African tsetse fly: wherever they go, they suck the life blood out of their hosts and, like the locust; they destroy everything in their path. They are like leeches: they indulge in a parasitic mode of nutrition and they suck the blood of the carcass until their victim is left for dead.”
In his “The bitter truth about the Igbo,” Mr. Fani-Kayode scornfully refers to “The Igbo and their Biafra …” and mocked Ndigbo for whatever befell us during that tragic period. Now Mr. Fani-Kayode wakes up on October 24, 2015 and hears about Mr. Nnamdi Kanu. Mr. Fani-Kayode believes he can hide and run in the shadows of Mr. Kanu and from there wage a war he is too cowardly to declare. Mr. Fani-Kayode can’t stop calling on “Biafra.”
He asserts: “They are imbued with a spirit that cannot be suppressed and the more they cry “Biafra”, the more the spirits of the millions who were slaughtered on the Biafran side during the civil war are invoked. The more they cry “Biafra”, the more the souls of the hundreds of thousands of their people who were butchered during the barbaric pogroms in the north in the mid-60’s and thereafter are remembered.”
I am offended by Mr. Fani-Kayode’s attempt at smartness. Yes, it has been a while since the war ended. But for those of us who lived through it, reading Igbo haters like Mr. Fani-Kayode treat it like another academic exercise makes the wound raw and fresh. While many have moved on from the experience, nonetheless, it is there in the rear view mirror and so can’t be forgotten. It is therefore instructive for a person like Mr. Fani-Kayode to realize he may be touching on raw nerves when he thinks Biafra is just another topic he can carelessly and casually write up on and send to his online newspaper clients.
Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode is reckless and careless. He is offensively arrogant. The Yoruba are a great people and those of us who are non-Yoruba have nothing but respect for the Yoruba race. But Fani-Kayode’s supremacist views are reprehensible, unacceptable and derogatory. If Mr. Fani-Kayode wants to start a crisis, he should just go for it and not attempt to prod anyone to the fore-front of his problems. Mr. Fani-Kayode is dangerous. Somebody should hold this guy with a short leash.
Cyril U. Orji, PhD is a Research Scientist. He writes from Jackson, NJ, USA. He is the author of “Lamentation: An Immigrant’s Dilemma.” He can be reached at email@example.com.
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