Femi Fani-Kayode, a chieftain of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and a bitter critic of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB), recently switched his loyalty to the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and poured encomiums on the Nigerian president. Meanwhile an Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has declared that the development vindicates its stand.
MURIC’s declaration came in a press statement issued on Sunday, 19th September, 2021 by the group’s director and founder, Professor Ishaq Akintola. “Chief Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK), a chieftain of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and a bitter critic of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB), recently decamped to the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and poured encomiums on PMB.
“Although a tornado of criticism has greeted FFK’s action, we will not join those who looked at the issue from one angle only. Rather we will reflect deep and far to enable us see the precious treasure hidden behind the hard stones. The rose is a very beautiful flower if you care to ignore its stem which is full of thorns.
“This is a man who has brazenly supported secessionists, irredentists and separatists. Nigeria drifted to the precipice of war and destruction as a result of the agitations of the groups supported by him. But today, FFK in his new camp is most likely to promote a united Nigeria. Perhaps he can persuade some of his former co-travellers to do a rethink. In short, Nigeria stands to gain more from FFK’s volte-face.
“In retrospect, we appreciate today what FFK’s father, Chief Remi Ade Fani Kayode did in the 70s and 80s. He jettisoned ethnic politics by extending a hand of fellowship to the North in order to demonstrate his desire for a strong and united Nigeria.
“His son, Chief Femi Fani Kayode, has today replicated the same handshake across the Niger. FFK’s change of heart should be seen from a positive angle, particularly by those who mean well for Nigeria. We must forget that he has abused virtually everybody (including MURIC and its founder) who did not see things the way he did. But he must be saluted for his sportsmanship.
“Just as courtesy demands that we appreciate PMB for his patience and fatherly dispensation towards his critics, chivalry demands that we stand up for FFK today and we call on all Nigerians to do same, to forgive, to forbear, to show understanding.
“Perhaps this new development will enable all of us to see that claims of Islamisation and Fulanisation exist only in the figment of imagination of its authors. Afterall the man who started it all eventually came to Aso Rock and he was neither Islamised nor Fulanised.
“We assert clearly, unequivocally and unambiguously that MURIC is vindicated. Fani Kayode has seen in PMB what MURIC saw eight years ago when we started supporting his campaign for the presidency. He has seen PMB’s style of nursing malice for no one and having charity for all, including his enemies. It won him over. He saw PMB’s achievements, his transparency.
“FFK saw how a political party spent $16 billion providing darkness for Nigerians. He saw how $2.1 billion arms money was diveted to private pockets. In sharp contrast, he is now a living witness to the kind of development that can occur in a country when its leader is not a kleptomaniac.
“He has seen the second Niger bridge which is nearing completion, the fully airconditioned trains which make mincemeat of London trains, macadamized roads in the South East (the same South East which some claim that PMB hates), South West and South South and the North, etc. He knows this is what happens when the leader does not steal. All these humbled him. It is to the credit of FFK that he was able to see virtues in PMB which other critics failed or refused to see.
“All these made FFK to conclude, in his own words, that PMB is the ‘Father of modern Nigeria’. Note that MURIC used exactly the same epithet for PMB in its newyear message of 1st January, 2020 entitled ‘MURIC Thanks Buhari For Reviving Nigeria’. To quote MURIC verbatim, we said inter alia, ‘MURIC celebrates Muhammadu Buhari. A father of Modern Nigeria has emerged. Buhari is the gem among other African leaders’. FFK has used the same words ‘Father of modern Nigeria’ to describe PMB. We are vindicated.
“Our own detractors fought tooth and nail to turn MURIC against PMB but they can now see what they failed to see before. We reiterate what we have said more than a dozen times. We were not attracted to PMB by his faith or his political party. We are neither religious bigots nor politicians.
“What attracted us to PMB is his Spartan way of life, his transparency, honesty and accountability. We will do the same for any future Nigerian leader who possesses these sterling qualities whether he is a Christian or a Muslim. Following the same principled stand, we will distance ourself from any leader who lacks those noble traits. The concern of the Muslim Rights Concern is the welfare of Nigerians. Our ultimate goal is the greatness of Nigeria.
“We call on all separatists and irredentist elements to do a rethink. Let us take a deep breath and objectively consider what PMB has achieved in the past 12 months. We will never have a president who has no fault at all unless we expect the Supreme Maker Himself to come and govern us physically. But that is impossible. We call on other sworn adversaries to borrow a leaf from FFK.
“Nigerians have one or two lessons to learn from this incident. The most important one is that there are no permanent enemies in politics, neither is there an eternal friend. Carpet crossing is not alien to Nigerian politics. It is the magnitude of the FFK phenomenon that shocked Nigerians. Yet it will not end there. Leave Fani-Kayode alone. His flip-flop is not the first and it will not be the last.
“Our final message to Nigerians is this, ‘Seek not to crucify FFK, rather salute his courage to see the truth and to embrace that truth’. We thank Allah that Nigeria has not gone up in flames before this realization dawned on FFK. We must pray for more closing of ranks between those in the one Nigeria camp and those clamouring for a divided Nigeria before we all start biting our fingers and lamenting, ‘Oh God! What have we done?’”