President Goodluck Jonathan left no one in doubt about the type of campaign he wanted to run when he picked well known loose cannon with no modicum of decency, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, as his campaign spokesperson. Fani-Kayode had earlier styled himself as a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), when he was actually never one, not having being recognized as such by APC leadership when he was in the party, and not on record to have been found worthy of being invited for APC meetings, according to APC spokesperson, Lai Mohammed.
Known for throwing decency to the gutters with toxic Facebook posts, and error-ridden newspaper articles, the Osun State-born law graduate, had conducted himself in the last few years in a manner that makes one wonder if the globally respected Cambridge University will ever be proud of such product. Or how else do you think of someone that goes around writing on the number of women he had slept with as contribution to debates on the legality and morality of “deportation” of destitute of certain origin from Lagos?
It is only in Nigeria that someone of Fani-Kayode’s standing, someone having a money laundering case before the courts, will be appointed by a President as campaign spokesperson. In countries where choices of candidates by citizens are scientific, not based on religious and ethnic sentiments as exploited here, such faux pas is enough to lose elections.
Fani-Kayode has since discharged his duty to type – daily regaling us with tissues of lies to demonize the candidacy of General Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the APC. First, he sold to the media the non-issue of Buhari’s certificate, and even when the Katsina school where General Buhari had his secondary education, released the statement of result of the general and the masterlist issued by Cambridge University which conducted the exam in 1961, he declared it fake. It did not occur to him that Cambridge would have come out to disclaim the result if it never originated from it. How anyone would attribute a fake document to Cambridge – of all paces – in this age, and some gullible Nigerians bought it, is beyond me. In any case, all the misattributions to Cambridge by the PDP, including that Hausa language was not offered in 1961, had already torn into pieces and dumped into waste bin where they belonged, with the school’s external assessment body issuing a statement on its website, confirming that they indeed set Hausa language in Northern Nigeria in 1961. I wonder whether the same Cambridge would not have disowned the circulated Buhari’s grades if they never originated from them, which would have been criminal.
Fani-Kayode and his Social Media hirelings have thrown everything – including the kitchen sink – in the direction of the General. They have forged medical reports in the name on a non-existent “Ahmadu Bello Teaching Hospital” to declare Buhari as having prostate cancer, they have circulated “minutes” of imaginary meetings to say Jega met with Northern elders in Kaduna (in other reports, Dubai) on rigging elections, they have hired commercial protesters to embarrass General Buhari in London. They have paid millions of naira to put up adverts in national dailies in the name of a fictitious “Muslim” group in the South West endorsing Buhari because “they wanted Islamization of the South West”. I have seen SMS messages being circulated by unfortunately educated folks including a chartered accountant friend from the South South, that a vote for Jonathan means four more years of non-payment of annual subscription of OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference) which is in its sixth year now and which means Nigeria will be expunged from OIC when the non-payment reaches ten years – as a reason to vote Jonathan. It does not occur to these vendors of fictions that Jonathan was the first Nigerian president to attend OIC meeting since the country’s return to civil rule. Their fiction factory keeps churning out lies every other day. The country has never gone so low.
Fani-Kayode was yet again at his lying best when he addressed the press few days ago accusing APC of having made their vice presidential candidate, Yemi Osinbajo, of signing to an oath to resign after six months in office. It is more unfortunate that the press which should have by now been familiar with the wicked fabrications of Fani-Kayode, gave this hogwash an undeserved prominence. This allegation started from some vendors of misinformation on the social media, where some of us that are equally social media-savvy proved beyond reasonable doubt that this was not true; it is therefore very unfortunate that President Jonathan’s official campaign latched on to this beer parlour gist.
I will try and shed light on this for those who have open minds. The first bearer of the disinformation on the social media had made reference to Tunde Bakare’s statement in 2011 that the ACN/CPC last minute alliance collapsed principally because ACN requested for a slot in the ticket, which was fair, as ACN had more national spread than CPC. This being politics, no one would have expected ACN to submit its structure to CPC without a commitment to play a major part in the government. It is like two companies merging and one (ACN) bringing sixty per cent equity, it is only natural that the company will be significantly represented on the board (ticket). While Buhari and Bakare were coming from CPC and the ticket cannot be altered again being few days to election, it is not out of place for ACN to put forward an equitable proposal to have the VP slot when the government comes on board. This is a basic principle of negotiation. That was 2011, and there was no secrecy about it as newspapers reported it and I remember Femi Adesina of Daily Sun also making it the subject of his column the week after. In any case the proposal was not even accepted by Buhari and Bakare, and the alliance collapsed.
Between 2011 and 2015, the two parties, alongside a faction of APGA, ANPP, DPP, and the new PDP, had formed the APC. Now, both the old CPC and the ACN have representatives on the ticket with Buhari coming from CPC and Osinbajo coming from ACN. This has automatically ruled out the 2011-type proposed negotiation for alteration in ticket on assumption of office. This is what Fani-Kayode is twisting to further demonise the APC. Any enlightened follower of political developments in Nigeria should know this. In any case, even if Tinubu comes on board along the way (which is only a figment of their imagination), Tinubu is by far a better administrator than Jonathan. I’m not a fan of Tinubu, but I will pick him over Jonathan as President. Between 1999-2007 when Nigeria was afflicted with probably the worst set of non-performing governors in its history, Tinubu stood tall as a decent performer in Lagos – even when the man at the helms in the center withheld the state’s allocations. His political recruitment strategy is also top-notch as those he backed for power, from Aregbesola to Amosun and Ajimobi, are testament to this. I may not be comfortable with his records on anti-graft scale, but I believe we have seen the worst under the current Federal Government. This is by no means a validation of this fabrication, but only playing in their own court.
If General Buhari did not accept this proposal in 2011, there is no way he could have accepted it in 2015, just as Osinbanjo, a pastor like Bakare, would not have accepted the arrangement. The whole thing is just another figment of Fani-Kayode’s warped imagination.
The election is less than four weeks, and I know Fani-Kayode’s fiction machine is still being oiled to produce more between now and the election date, if they ever allow the election to hold. However, some of us will also not stop setting the records straight. The task of extricating Nigeria from these fiction vendors and setting it on the path of progress is the business of every patriotic Nigerian.
Oyewale, an accountant and blogger, lives in Ajah, Lagos