A former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has denied leaving the Peoples Democratic Party for the All Progressives Congress.
Fani-Kayode in a mail sent to SaharaReporters on Wednesday, said, “Though we have had meetings across party lines and we are in a season of political consultation, I have not left the PDP.
Earlier on Wednesday, Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, said Fani-Kayode had defected to the APC.
Bello disclosed this while speaking to journalists after revalidating his APC membership in Okene.
The governor said Fani-Kayode personally approached him with a request to join the party.
He said, “Our brother and friend, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has joined our party in good faith. He is joining our party to come and add his own positive energy and make contribution into ensuring that APC is a party to beat.
“Remember that Chief Femi Fani-Kayode was a foundation member of this great party. Due to misunderstanding, he decided to port elsewhere, now he has decided to join our party, approached me, and by the mandate given to me by the party, I must not segregate or discriminate against any individual.”
The former minister had on Monday met with the Yobe State Governor and Chairman of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Mai Mala Buni and Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello at Buni’s guest house in Abuja.
The closed-door meeting, which lasted for about an hour, was brokered by Bello, who is also the Chairman of the party’s mobilisation and sensitisation committee for the ongoing membership registration and revalidation exercise.
Explaining why he met APC leaders, Fani-Kayode, a staunch critic of the ruling party, claimed the meeting centred on how to move Nigeria forward.
“Yesterday I had the honour & privilege of having a very productive & important meeting with the Nat. Chairman of the APC, Gov. Mai Buni of Yobe state & Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi state. We discussed the state of the nation, national issues, party politics & the way forward.
“These meetings are wide-ranging & ongoing & I am delighted to be involved in them. Despite the obvious benefits & wisdom in this noble initiative it amazes me that some people should feel that it is wrong for me to sit with other leaders in the country to discuss issues which touch and concern the national cohesion, future and stability of our country.
“This is a time in which we must set all our differences aside, build bridges and come together as one lest our country drifts into fratricidal butchery and civil war. It is right & proper for us to talk & to attempt to join hands across political, religious & regional lines to save Nigeria,” he posted on Twitter.
SaharaReporters had on Tuesday revealed that the former minister decided to join the ruling APC because of his current financial status and corruption cases.
“He is currently broke, when he was broke during the former President Olusegun Obasanjo era, he started attacking Obasanjo until he was offered a position which fuelled his drug filled lifestyle. As soon as he got a job with Obasanjo, he started attacking Prof. Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe. That was why Obasanjo said what politicians need to do for Fani-Kayode to hail them is to give him food,” a source had told SaharaReporters.
“Years after, he started attacking former President Goodluck Jonathan. Jonathan’s wife was so scared of him that she begged her husband to employ him, that was why he was made the spokesman for the PDP’s presidential campaign committee.
“When APC came on board, he started attacking President Muhammadu Buhari because of the various corruption cases against him but the late chief of staff, Abba Kyari, was shielding him from trial. Now that Kyari is dead and his trial is progressing well, he is afraid that he might get Metuh’s treatment. He is expected to be in court on February 23 and 24, 2021. He doesn’t want to go to prison.
“In addition, he is very broke. I hope you are aware he just had a new baby. He doesn’t even have money for the unknown wife and baby’s upkeep. So, he started reaching out to APC stalwarts. He also told some of us that journalists conspired against his nationwide tour of states where he was initially making money.”
Fani-Kayode was arraigned in 2016, alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi Usman; Danjuma Yusuf, and a firm, Joint Trust Dimensions Ltd over N4.9bn alleged fraud.
The former minister, who was also the Director of Publicity for ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign organisation for the 2015 election, was accused of conspiring with the others to, directly and indirectly, retain various sums which the EFCC claimed they ought to have reasonably known were proceeds of crime.
In one of the counts, the defendants were accused of conspiring among themselves to “indirectly retain the sum of N1,500, 000,000.00 which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: stealing.”
The four were also accused of indirectly retaining N300m, N400m and N800m, all proceeds of corruption, according to the EFCC.
Fani-Kayode was accused of directly using parts of the money at various times, including N250,650,000.00, which he allegedly used between March 20 and 25, 2015.
He was also accused of making a cash transaction of N24m with one Olubode Oke, said to still be at large, on February 12, 2015 “to Paste Poster Co of 125, Lewis Street, Lagos Island.”
The duo were said to have made the transaction without going through any financial institution, an act the EFCC claimed was contrary to sections 1(a) and 16(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012, and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.
Months later, the former minister was rearrested and solely arraigned on five counts bordering on money laundering to the tune of N26 million.
According to the EFCC, Fani-Kayode allegedly received the sum of N26 million from the office of the former National Security Adviser (ONSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) in 2014.
SaharaReporters, however, gathered that some APC chieftains, especially the powerful northern oligarchs don’t want him to return to the party.
They accused him of being in the habit of insulting President Buhari and people of the northern region for several years.