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Opinions of Sunday, 26 January 2020

Columnist: Danjuma Musa

Fani-Kayode and his ‘love’ for Southern Kaduna people

Olufemi Olu-Kayode aka Femi Fani – Kayode, without doubt passionately dislikes the Hausa/Fulanis, which explains his persistent denigration of the race. The reason for the deep animosity or extreme hostility, which by the way is a recent development is confounding, considering that before Fani-Kayode reportedly saw the light like Saul, he wined and dined with the “oligarchy”, a relationship that was clearly rewarding, most especially the funding of his medical treatment in Ghana. But whatever the present state of the relationship- be it a separation or divorce – there is no denying the fact that Femi Fani-Kayode’s palm kennels were cracked by those he now derides as slave masters.

Against this background, it can safely be argued that Fani – Kayode’s new found love for some Southern Kaduna people, is more of using the Northern minorities to get at his former friends,as clearly the only binding cord driving their relationship, is the mutual hatred of a common enemy – the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

If only the likes of Jonathan Asake,who parades himself as the President of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union(SOKAPU), an illegal body going by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) declaration, have bothered to critically look at the antecedents of Fani -Kayode their new found “hero”, they definitely would have been much more cautious in embracing him. How can Fani -Kayode , who was a Special Assistant to late Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, one time Director -General of the Nigerian Security Organization(NSO) and a staunch member of the equally conservative National Republican Convention(NRC) claim to love the people of Southern Kaduna? A man who also in the fourth Republic initially pitched his political tent with the All Progressives Congress(APC), which many analysts also consider conservative, convince anyone that wining and dinning with the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy was a grievous mistake and that he has genuinely retraced his steps? The point must be stressed that Femi Fani -Kayode,is not and can never be Saul,who Jesus Christ had converted, because he is a leopard and leopards don’t change their spots, even though he now speaks the language of hate and of marginalization like Asake.

On January 4, 2020 at the Southern Kaduna Prayer Summit, organised by the Southern Kaduna Christian Leaders Association (SKCLA), Fani-Kayode, made many fallacious statements, which rather than help the Southern Kaduna people dig themselves out of the deep hole they dug themselves into, would further compound their problems by leading them down the path of definite political and economic irrelevance. The falsehoods which the likes of Fani-Kayode help amplify; include the usual allegations of organized marginalization,the threat of Islamization, systematic and institutionalized violation of the rights of minorities, the continuity and entrenchment of some unjust pre-colonial and colonial political structures. And the more baffling allegation, that the creation of new states, geo-political zones and local government areas rather than addressing their plight, has tended to worsen it, by lumping minorities with the more hegemonic Hausa/Fulani.

Substantially Fani-Kayode in his rousing speech at the event which was more of a political event than a prayer summit didn’t say anything new,rather he reenforced the age old narratives, that would continue to make the much desired peaceful coexistence of the North a mirage. It was disheartening to hear Fani-Kayode,a man that was once a Special Assistant and minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria utter the kind of statements attributed to him at Kafanchan. Hear him: “There is an ongoing battle to conquer none-Fulanis and Christianity in Nigeria and Southern Kaduna being strategically located at the Middle Belt is at the center of the battle”. It’s a huge shame that a man with such a mindset, who spews and promotes hate once presided over not one, but two ministries, including a sensitive one like culture and tourism. I shudder at what Hausa/Fulanis in those ministries would have gone through in his hands on account of their tribe and religion.

Most certainly Fani -Kayode and his co-travelers are entitled to their delusions that the 2019 political miscalculation by some Southern Kaduna elites amounted to some “serious” political statements. Hear Fani-Kayode: “The show of determination by the Southern Kaduna people during the 2019 governorship election in Kaduna, was a referendum, a show of unity by Southern Kaduna people and a show of their determination”. The plain truth is that the Southern Kaduna Senatorial District lost out big time, by their very negative political behavior, which demonized anyone from the zone that belonged or identified with the APC,which it mischievously tagged a Muslim party. Their worse crime is their lack of political pragmatism. For instance in spite of the area not voting for Nasir El – Rufai in 2015, they refused to acknowledge the fair distribution of projects and appointments in his first term. For instance, Kagoma in Jema’a Local Government Area which voted overwhelmingly for the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) candidate Ramallan Yero, had two commissioners under El-Rufai and the township roads started by Patrick Yakowa, which Yero had abandoned were completed by El-Rufai. But these practical demonstration of goodwill didn’t sway them to vote El-Rufai in 2019,simply because they hate him.

Fani-Kayode, like most uninformed Southerners have this erroneous believe that the people of “Southern Kaduna are under siege, chains and shackles”, because it suits the North versus South politics. But what they fail to realize is that the minorities are the worse enemies of themselves. For instance, the Southern Kaduna elites rejected two key projects -Vicampro potatoes farm and the 50 megawatts Solar power projects,located at Manchok by the El-Rufai administration for two very laughable reasons. The first was that the land (Manchok Reserve) on which the projects were to be cited, which by the way rightly belongs to the Kaduna State Government is their “ancestral land” that abhors development. The other reason, which is more laughable and dumbfounding,because it’s championed by a university teacher, who is supposed to disabuse ignorance, was that the solar plant would affect conception amongst women, or worst still lead to still and deformed births. When the stupid arguments were roundly debunked,thugs were unleashed on the contractors forcing them to abandon work.This is how two projects of over N1 billon that would have kick started the economic development of the zone were killed on the alter of hate.

Like Lailah Gifty argued “men are often mislead by their fellow – men” and the Fani -Kayode Southern Kaduna lecture is a classical example of how a people can be misled by a so -called friend. How on earth can Fani-Kayode assure them that they can produce a Governor on their on terms ,when the numbers are clearly against them and when they are not building bridges? Like the late Chief M.K.O Abiola would say,with a friend like Fani-Kayode, the people of Southern Kaduna do not need an enemy. The 2019 elections have clearly shown that as things stand today in terms of electoral votes that the District is inconsequential, thanks to the Card Reader, which has demystified the figures that the area hitherto produced. A fact that the elites have refused to come to terms with. But while they can allow themselves to be deluded by Fani-Kayode , the political reality can not be wished away. Moving forward ,the Southern Kaduna elites owes it to itself and the larger society, the duty to subject itself to what psychologists call the “shadow”- a term that refers to everything we can’t see in ourselves,which the likes of Fani-Kayode would never tell them.

Before 2019, the deputy governorship slot was taken as given by the average Southern Kaduna person and that it will most certainly a Christian and from any of the three big tribes- Bajju, Jaba or Kataf. The other smaller tribes and native Muslims never counted. By nominating Dr. Hadiza Balarabe ,a native that conclusion has changed and today everyone from that zone counts,so while someone from the Southern Kaduna Senatorial District who has built bridges, can be the governor or deputy governor it will no longer certainly be a Christian,a Bajju or Jaba, which is some of the benefits from the politics of isolation that the Southern Kaduna toed between 2015-2019. And if they continue to listen to Fani -Kayode, who is not even a force in his zone, by 2023 they would surely be in political Afghanistan- totally irrelevant.

It’s a known fact that to be trusted with political power, the people must have implicit confidence and trust that the power that want to entrust to you, will be for the common good of all and not for some parochial interests. This fact played out most recently during the 1999 transition. While in 1999, there was a near unanimous agreement that the Yorubas be placated with the presidency due to the annulment of the 1993 elections, believed to have been won by Abiola. Very interestingly the power brokers equally agreed that Olu Falae would certainly not be the president as he could not be trusted him with the awesome power, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria bestows on a president. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo,a detribalized Nigerian was supported and he emerged president to the consternation of the Yoruba elites. So encouraging Southern Kaduna people not to build bridges is a certain death sentence. So when Fani-Kayode says “I want to categorically and fundamentally assert that when you are ready for the governorship, you can count on me”, it’s definitely the height of hallucinations, which is okay if the Southern Kaduna people refuse to listen to him, but if they inhale hook line and sinker the blatant lie he dished out to them,they have themselves to blame. Like the case of Obasanjo,a Southern Kaduna man/woman can be governor of Kaduna State, but not someone of their choice,because such a person will be Governor of kaduna State and not of Southern Kaduna.

About the death of the late Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, there is absolutely no doubt that he unfortunately died in an helicopter accident. But that fact hasn’t stopped conspiracy theorists like Fani -Kayode from using it to wipe up sentiments to suit their negative agenda by continuing to allege that he was killed by imaginary forces opposed to a Christian Southern Kaduna person governing the state. Late Patrick Yakowa was not killed,as there was no reason for anyone to, especially as unlike other Southern kaduna elites the north was quite comfortable with him and the only people who unfortunately were not comfortable with his politics were his kinsmen, simply because he wasn’t on the same page with them on their revenge agenda. The north over trusted Yakowa,which was why he became governor after Namadi Sambo’s exit, otherwise Sambo would have been stopped or prevailed upon to drop his vice presidential ambition.

About the killings and acts of banditry being witnessed in both the northern and southern parts of the state,which thankfully is now under control,Fani-Kayode was deliberately mischievous when he interpreted the security challenge confronting the the state as a battle between Islam and Christianity. Looking at a problem that is both national and international in character and giving it a very narrow interpretation is wicked and dangerous. The South-West where Fani-Kayode hails from like the North-West is battling insecurity, but can he claim that Yorubas are being murdered simply because they are christians,like he mischievously concluded in the case of Southern Kaduna? Is the insecurity which has forced the South-West to set up a security outfit also an ongoing battle to conquer none Fulanis and Christians? There is no doubt that Fani -Kayode’s arguments are watery and shallow considering that the South-West, like Southern Kaduna has a reasonable number of Muslims. His assertion that the people of Southern kaduna are being killed because they are christians or because the Muslims want to take over their fertile land,is nothing but mischief, but assuming that is correct, how can the banditry and killings in Birnin-Gwari and Zamfara State be explained? Are the bandits who are assumed to be Muslims killing their own sisters and brothers to take over their land or killing to rob them?

Fani-Kayode, reminds one of George Bush,the former president of the United States who started the Iraq war based on flawed intelligence. The gospel truth is that Bush was not misled by the flawed intelligence, rather he used flawed intelligence to mislead the American people into waging a predetermined war against Iraq,like Fani-Kayode is misleading Southern Kaduna people with big fat lies. The other thing Fani -Kayode has also successfully done is to feed them a huge dose of fantasy, cashing in on that gullible side of man,which cult followers known for their irrationality always embrace.