By Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu
The arrest and secret arraignment of Nnamdi Kanu, the Director of Radio Biafra and Leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, by Nigerian officials, touched off an outbreak of cathartic protests in some pockets of territory within the map of the re-imagined secessionist state of Biafra.
Several individuals, from within and outside the region, and people in other continents of the world, expressed reservations about Kanu’s ordeal. They urged the Nigerian authorities to release him and to suspend the policy of criminalizing the local pursuit of self-determination.
Femi Fani-Kayode, not one to be counted silent or indifferent in any newsworthy controversy, joined the admonishment race too. He condemned Kanu’s persecution, praised his courage, and buttressed the ever-rehashed point of the marginalization of Nd’Igbo in Nigeria – the presumed rationale for Kanu’s verbal quest for Biafra revivialism.
Waxing somewhat lyrical, Fani-Kayode swore that the actualization of Biafra was inevitable because the movement was unstoppable. “They are imbued with a spirit that cannot be suppressed and the more they cry ‘’Biafra’’, the more the spirit of the millions that 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 that were butchered during the pogroms in the North in the mid 60-s and thereafter are remembered…’’
If you didn’t know that Fani-Kayode was a Nigeria-Biafra civil war revisionist and a militant Igbophobia crusader, you would mistake his unsolicited solidarity for a token of brotherly camaraderie. You would count him a lover of the Igbo race and grant him an honorary Biafra citizenship in advance.
But Fani-Kayode’s notoriety for opportunistic adventurism precedes him. In this instance, as in other interventions on his record of epistolary activism, the essence of his ‘support’ sprung from his intellectual infidelity.
A little over a year ago, in the ferment of the combustible reactions to the deportation of some Igbo destitute beggars to Onitsha by the Lagos State government, it was Fani-Kayode, an indigene of Ile-Ife, Osun State, who asked whether Igbos had ‘’forgotten where they came from’’. He championed an Igbo racial profiling that resulted into an Igbo versus Yoruba ethnic slugfest.
He told us The Bitter Truth About The Igbo. The Igbos were a collection of nomadic ‘’traders’’. They were a conceited tribe that is, at least, three generations behind Yoruba in enlightenment. The Igbos in Lagos must be content to comport themselves as those subject to their Yoruba landlord’s arbitrary expulsion.
This Fani-Kayode who is today name-checking the Igbo holocaust of the 60’s as one of the proofs that the Igbo are endangered species in modern Nigeria, blamed the Igbos for the ethnic cleansing they were subjected to in some parts of the North. The Igbo were too cocky, too ambitious, too enterprising. They earned the bloody comeuppance.
‘’It is that same attitude of ‘‘we own everything’’, ‘‘we must have everything’’, and ‘‘we must control everything’’, that the Igbo settlers manifested in the northern region in the late 50’s and early and mid-60’s that got them into so much trouble up there with the Hausa-Fulani and that eventually led to the terrible pogroms where almost one hundred thousand of them were killed in just a few days’’.
Fani-Kayode’s conflicted translation of this single event for the sake of his Biafran sympathy shows that what version of history he advances is a function of his fickle mood. He could tweak the same tale many ways to justify his immediate allegiance.
He could cite that orgy of bloodshed as an answer to the Igbos’ suicidal plea for genocide. Or he could frame the Igbo people as hapless humans visited with unwarranted annihilation.
Fani-Kayode’s relationship to facts is governed by the dynamics of expediency.
He views history as a malleable, clayey thing, and himself, as history’s licensed potter. He could sculpt the facts of one event this way today. Tomorrow, he takes the same lump of facts, dash it to the ground, shape the pieces of the damaged pottery into a more likable god of truth and then beckon the whole world to worship at that shrine.
Fani-Kayode is an incorrigible manipulator. He is so at peace with maneuvering facts that he doesn’t bother to renounce his last lie. He just goes on, thinking all lies told in succession rhyme.
Before joining the chorusing choir of Biafra promoters and seeking to be its conductor, he ought to have discarded his previous narrative that the Igbos ‘’made their biggest mistake of provoking a full scale military conflict with Nigeria…’’ He ought to have announced that he has found the light and thus, was defecting from error to the camp of the truth of Igbo victimhood.
But Fani-Kayode’s trademark is being consistently inconsistent and inconsistently consistent. He manipulates facts to suit himself. He also manipulates himself to match the facts.
Fani-Kayode bends himself for anything and for everything. His opinions are tentative. His views are fluid. He is the man who lives like the amoeba.
When you review the public life he has led so far, you are hard-pressed to commend him for excelling on no other count except in being a limelight-seeking contortionist.
We all remember Fani-Kayode was a prolific producer of anti-Goodluck Jonathan soundbites. He issued missives after missives, admonishing Jonathan for nursing a second term bid. In tamer publications, he drew caricatures of an helplessly foolish Jonathan. In brash broadsides, he pilloried Jonathan as a permanently Ogogoro-inebriated man fumbling with the levers of Nigerian destiny.
Fani-Kayode soon declared apostasy. Jonathan hired him as the spokesperson of the Jonathan/Sambo Presidential Campaign Organization. And Fani-Kayode switched his subscription, porting overnight – like Saka.
In his rented role, Fani-Kayode overdosed the public with anti-Buhari abuses. The insults backfired and Buhari win the polls. Fan-Kayode celebrated Jonathan’s loss: the soldier of fortune bought his girlfriend a brand new, 2014 model Range Rover car, ostensibly with part of the wages the Jonathan campaign had paid him.
Lately, Fani-Kayode has made a pet project out of advocating for the balkanization of Nigeria. He has been vociferous, using as much latitude as his name recognition affords him, to make the case the disbanding of Nigeria.
He had been churning articles that purport to prove that Nigeria is cursed.Lord Lugard was a Satanist. Lugard’s girlfriend affixed a name from Devilry on the nation. The basis for yoking the Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria was unfeasible.
When some criminals kidnapped Olu Falae, Fani-Kayode ratcheted up his Disband Nigeria rhetoric. Fani-Kayode set out to attend an emergency summit Afenifere elders had called to address the abduction. He was trapped in the traffic while the meeting lasted. He issued a statement mourning the meeting’s loss of his contribution. Nevertheless, he endorsed the rather ridiculous communiqué that threatened that the entire Yoruba nation would secede because of one case of abduction.
But the real reason Fani-Kayode has become a secession proponent is easily discernible. He wouldn’t have been become a secession warlord if Jonathan was re-elected. Fani-Kayode is just angry that he is not in the scheme of things. It hurts him that Muhammadu Buhari is the President of Nigeria.
In the wake of spirited resurgence of suicide bombings in the North East, Fani-Kayode was quick …to mock Nigerians. We ordered the explosions and hundreds of death tolls. We voted in Buhari!
The bombings have yet to stop. But the scale of the tragedies and the cost in souls doesn’t look promising to Fani-Kayode. They would not, progressing at this rate, suffice to crash Nigeria.
And this is a source of pain to Fani-Kayode. He desires the Nigerian state to disintegrate into its constituent puzzle pieces under Buhari’s presidency. So that, to Fani-Kayode’s satisfaction, it would be self-evident that Buhari has bungled the job of husbanding Nigeria.
Fani-Kayode is a fake secessionist. He is not an original believer in the doom of the unity of the Nigerian federation. He is simply a spoiled child of entitlement who is throwing tantrums because he is out of reckoning.
Fani-Kayode was the Senior Special Assistant (Public Affairs) to President Olusegun Obasanjo from July 2003 to June 2006. He was Minister of Culture and Tourism from June 22 to November 7, 2006. He was Minister of Aviation from November 7, 2006 to May 29, 2007.
In those years of apotheosis, Fani-Kayode was immune to the discovery of the beauty of secession. He was part of the cabinet that administered Nigeria. But as soon as his days in the corridors of Aso Rock expired, he curiously gained the revelation that Nigeria was a Satanist contraption that must be destroyed.
Fani-Kayode, the quintessential flip-flopper, will yet chew the Nigerian green-white-green flag for dinner, if you offered him the right bait. He ‘fights’ the system until he is courted and appeased with an invitation to participate in defending its working.
Fani-Kayode turned 55 recently. One of his acolytes or friends celebrated him as The Gentle Volcano. It was flattery treated with cosmetics.
An honest meditation on the public persona of Fani-Kayode would be entitled ”The Intellectual Prostitute” – or words to that effect.
* Ugwu’s rejoinder was originally published by Vanguard