The Town Crier in the Heat of the Sun
By Adenrele Alomajo
As said in the first part of this series, there are political and non-political assailants in the visible and non-visible “corridors of power” who have chosen Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as target for imagined or concocted “offences”.
Apart from the traditional media of radio, television, and newspapers, social media arguably has become the most powerful tool for dissemination of information. It seems that Nigeria and the rest of the world are now in the “golden age” that social media has created for ‘town criers’. However, laudable as social media is, the mostly uncensored use and misuse of it continues to pose a major problem in communities around the world. Social media is a two-edged sword, making overnight celebrities of both miscreants and decent ordinary folks.
One of such overnight social media “celebrities” in Nigeria is Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, who has seized the uncensored media tool to spew sanctimonious rage. Recently, he referred to the “slave mentality” of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo just as he has, in the past, used the same terminology to describe some political leaders and people in the Southwest geopolitical zone of Nigeria. That is indeed laughable. As they say, “Look who’s talking”?
For Femi Fani-Kayode, the son of former Deputy Premier of defunct Western Nigeria, Chief Remilekun Fani-Kayode, the good-natured Vice President of Nigeria has been the main target of his paid-for diatribes. Femi Fani-Kayode is an advocate of violent ‘restructuring’ of Nigeria should the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration refuse calls for peaceful ‘restructuring’. In this garb, he perceives all who advise caution and restraint, particularly Yemi Osinbajo, as enemies of the Southern geopolitical zones, and slaves in the service of Northern politicians and interests. Spoken like a true son of his father – mindless and ultimately self-serving.
The peoples of the former Western Region, indeed the entire country, are suffering till this day from his father’s betrayal of the trust and confidence of the people of former Western Nigeria for selfish interests, which included inciting the people for a violent restructuring of the region.
Femi Fani-Kayode, obviously, has never had a mosquito land on his testicles. Otherwise, he would know that there are many ways to deal with painful and pertinent issues which could end up being more effective than violence.
Of course, as it says in the Book of Matthew 7: 16-20, “By their fruits you shall know them. … but the corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit …”. First, a little clarification regarding fruits and trees, parents and children. Children have similarities in character with their parents more on account of a spiritual affinity, and not just necessarily because they are physically (and progressively) “infected” with the good or bad behavior of their parents. If we dare to take a closer look at ourselves and investigate the activities of each of our parents when we were conceived, the results will stound us. In the case of Femi Fani-Kayode, he was conceived and born at a time when the content and intent of his father’s heart and mind were governed by rage, machinations, violence, vociferation, and rebellion. Compare what history has to say of Chief Remi Fani-Kayode about the time this poor child was conceived and born in 1960, and what you have come to know about the nature of the grown man (Femi Fani-Kayode). The answer may provide a compelling reason to forgive his often-insensate behavior.
Statements credited to Femi Fani-Kayode (particularly on social media), initially had me trying to figure out his political motivation in a country that needs healing and wisdom in matters of structure and governance, particularly after the fiasco that bedeviled the First Republic. Are his political utterances styled by way of a self-imposed mission to either outdo or undo his father’s pollical recklessness and institutionalization of chaos and violence as tools for political self-interests? And, into which category (or categories) would these utterances best fit – a deflection of his father’s egregious mistakes, sheer ignorance, or personal aggrandizement? And then, there is Femi Fani-Kayode’s excessive pandering to Nigerians of Igbo extraction. Maybe it is about the shame and guilt he feels for the role that his father, Chief Remi Fani-Kayode, played in the events that ultimately led to the deaths, pain, and destruction of millions of Igbos during the Nigerian Civil War. It is a historical fact that the violent pursuit by Chief Remi Fani-Kayode (and others) for a self-serving political rejigging and ‘restructuring’ in former Western Nigeria led to anarchy. The ensuing events led to a 30-month Civil War (1967-1970). Now, his son is goading the children of the same people that his father had ferociously goaded into agitation, rather than sit with wise contemporaries and elders to ensure equity, justice, and respect for all individual and collective stakeholders in Nigeria. Femi Fani-Kayode, the untethered simpleton turned town crier for the highest bidders, appears to be on a mission to outdo his father.
Maybe I should take him on a journey back in time to tell him about his father.
Nigeria: Pre- and Post-Independence political power struggles laid the foundations for the bloodshed, thuggery, and brigandage that have become the “norm” in Nigerian politics. According to the recollection of two young attorneys who participated in the epic drama that led Nigeria down the path of political darkness and the bloodshed of millions of men, women, and children, the experience was nothing short of surreal as it unfolded. The two young attorneys had just returned to Nigeria after graduating in the United Kingdom. Both men, now deceased, rose to enviable positions in the judiciary and law enforcement before they retired. One became a Chief Judge (CJ), and the other was a Commissioner of Police (CP) reputed to be the first graduate in the Nigeria Police. Two prominent leaders and current members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola, are known proteges of the former CJ and CP. According to the former CJ, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was charged with a very special mission by some of the elders in the Southwest geopolitical zone: reclamation and restoration of the dignity and heritage that defined the peoples of the former Western Nigeria before the unholy alliances, made between Chiefs Ladoke Akintola and Remi Fani-Kayode and Northern Nigerian politicians, that robbed the region of progress and political independence.
The ex-CJ and ex-CP narrated how they were co-opted as young men by the former Deputy Premier of then Western Region of Nigeria, Chief Remi Fani-Kayode (popularly known as “Fani Power”), into an elaborate and sinister plan to tackle a struggle for supremacy between Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola and Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Following alignment with astute politicians in former Northern Nigeria, the Akintola/Fani-Kayode faction executed the plan that eventually took former Western Nigeria, and indeed the rest of the country, down the road of anarchy and bloodshed in the years to come. Chief Remi Fani-Kayode was at the forefront of stage-managing events that would give the Federal Government no other choice but to invoke the Constitutional Clauses declaring a State of Emergency in the former Western Region.
At his home in Bodija, Ibadan, Chief Fani-Kayode and his political cronies and followers plotted and painstakingly rehearsed words and steps to throw the former Western Nigeria Parliament into chaos. The rehearsals, they said, were so detailed to include who would throw the first chair and in which direction, and which windows were to be opened at a specified time to facilitate the safe exit of the plotters as soon as the orchestrated fracas began. These rehearsals went on for several nights during which all “actors” in the planned ‘insurrection’ were dined and wined by Chief Remi Fani-Kayode.
Unfortunately for Nigeria, the strategy worked like a charm and a State of Emergency was indeed declared in former Western Nigeria. An Interim Administrator, Dr. Moses Majekodunmi, Federal Minister for Health and personal Physician to Sir Ahmadu Bello, was appointed. Ahmadu Bello was the Premier of former Northern Nigeria. Six months later, consequent to the secret pact with top politicians in Northern Nigeria, Chiefs Ladoke Akintola and Remi Fani-Kayode were back in government in Western Nigeria as Premier and Deputy Premier respectively.
Simmering discontent and divides came to the fore, and anarchy reigned. Remi Fani-Kayode and his cohorts had unleashed the demons in the land. But then, courting and consummating sometimes unholy alliances for victory, no matter the cost, is not alien to politicians all over the world. It is just the nature and rule of the deadly game of power for those who have no scruples.
What must never go unmentioned and/or forgotten are the millions of lives of men, women, and children of Igbo extraction (and other Nigerians) that were lost. In the upheaval of the coup-d’etat that left Nigerians and the world in utter shock and disbelief, Chief Remi Fani-Kayode and his political colleagues were captured by soldiers as political prisoners. All were summarily executed, except for Chief Remi Fani-Kayode, who was, indeed, miraculously spared.
In the words of the former CJ and former CP who had direct and first-hand knowledge of events leading to the collapse the former Western Nigeria, Chiefs Ladoke Akintola and Remi Fani-Kayode sold their birthrights, and that of the people of former Western Nigeria, to Northern Nigerian politicians for a “bowl of pottage” (in Biblical reference to the Book of Genesis 25:29-34). One would probably not be wrong to say that Nigeria’s trip downhill into greed, inordinate ambition, political thuggery, and chaos took firm roots from there.
A fairly large number of respectable people are working very hard, and quietly also, to undo the harm done when the future of the peoples of former Western Nigeria was mortgaged, and their pride and progress undermined, for selfish interests.
There are many still alive who know the gory details of these events but would rather ‘let sleeping dogs lie’. Maybe so. But we must remember that a good grasp of history helps prevent the repetition of past mistakes. Only in this way can we build a better today to leave as a legacy upon which current and future generations can develop in peace, harmony, and prosperity.
The story continues.