What is Femi Fani-Kayode, lawyer, former Aviation minister and serial defector, up to?
Two days ago, the ebullient and fork-tongued politician dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC). His antecedents suggest that he is always fond of ruling parties. A political trader or contractor, his next point of call, always, is where politics is rossy to exercise his freedom of political trade.
Each time he defects, he stirs controversies. Nevertheless, he is never missed by the party he has dumped.
Mixed reactions have continued to trail his dramatic u-turn on Thursday. Some have said that in politics, there is no permanent friend or foe, but permanent interest. Therefore, the vocal politician is at liberty to jump ship or change camp.
However, other commentators are harsh on him. They likened Fani-Kayode to a political prostitute; an actor always unwilling to play a politics of principle, but always fascinated by certain political jobs and pecks, particularly during periodic electioneering.
More objective observers are of the view that that peculiar style jollies well with a political class that operates in ideological vacuum.
So important is the familiar defector that Caretaker Chairman Mai Mala Buni shunned his job in Yobe State and other assignments at the party secretariat as he led him to President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Villa.
Is Fani-Kayode a big catch? Is he an electoral asset? Where is his political base? Lagos or Ile-Ife, the cradle of his illustrious father, Chief Remi Fani-Power, a brilliant rascal and trouble-making deputy premier of ‘wild wild West?’ The Fani-Kayode gene is so strong.
This time around, it is forbidden for any inquisitive reporter to ask a question like “who is bankrolling the defection?” It is also a taboo to describe the subject matter as a rabblerouser.
But, will Fani-Kayode defect in vain? What motivated his return to the platform he had jettisoned during the preparations for 2015 presidential election? Is it a matter of bread and butter, as being insinuated in the social media?What is the cost of defection? What is the anticipated gain of shift in alliance?
Fani-Kayode has skills, particularly of communication. He played the roles of a political communicator and propagandist under Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan. Is he about to be hired by APC for that pastime?
If he becomes a Buhari spokesman tomorrow, heaven will not fall. Nigerians are usually enveloped in collective amnesia.
It is always easy for the former aviation minister to eat his words in the presence of current realities. He criticised Dr. Jonathan. He later worked for him. He has described Buhari as a corrupt leader. He is now his fan. The tragedy of the wordsmith underscores the danger of talking without thinking. But, as it is said, all is politics. Politics and morality exist in clear-cut antithetical relationship.
In hush tones, some party men are saying that the Osun-born politician may be tipped for the APC national publicity secretary at the next convention. This will make him relevant in 2023. There may be no obstacle. He will be given a waiver.
Party sources who hinted about a role to Fani-Kayode could not elaborate on whether the selection into the various positions in the National Working Committee of the APC would premised on zoning, although he suggested that a minister and three governors from the North are rooting for Fani-Kayode.
The first impediment is that despite the obvious grandstanding, potential party officers must, first of all, be delegates. It is a condition for eligibility.
Therefore, pressure has to be mounted on Osun APC leaders to clear the way.
“Whether we like him or nor, there are certain qualities Fani-Kayode possesses that can be positively deployed, especially in terms of perception and image building,” said the source.
He added:”The opposition PDP is planning to heap a lot of lies on us and we are ready to face them with facts in a more decent and coordinated manner that cannot