THE BOLDEST MAN IN NIGERIA
There are many stereotypes in the world that often tell us all we know about many tribes, nations and races. In Nigeria, people from the South East are often tagged as individuals who can do anything for money by those from the South West. Those from the South West are tagged as a people that are spineless and can easily betray trust by those from the South East.
Personally, I have not escaped the influence of these stereotypes. However, lately I have been thinking about them critically. The more I see truths in them, the more falsehoods emerges. One of the individuals that recently undermined the South West stereotype is Femi Fani Kayode (FFK). In a Nigeria where activists are now blind, deaf and dumb, and journalists prefer to be politically correct and have perfected the ignoble journalistic skill of defensive journalism, Femi Fani Kayode is a beacon of hope.
I am amazed that I am calling him a beacon of hope, because there are many versions of who FFK was, is and would possibly become because of his past. There are stories of his past addiction. There was also the time former President Olusegun Obasanjo used his oratory and literary prowess to deride his political opponents.
So, I have always taken his writings and utterances with a bowl of salt and with the conclusion that, this guy cannot be taken seriously. However, his seemingly provocative writings and predictions have been coming to pass like prophecies lately. Before going further, less take a peep into the man I presently see as the boldest man in Nigeria.
According to Wikipedia, David Oluwafemi (meaning “the beloved of the Lord”) Adewunmi Abdulateef Fani-Kayode is a Nigerian politician, essayist, poet and lawyer. He was a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was with the opposition’s All Progressive Congress (APC) until June 2014 when he returned to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party. Although his family lineage originates from Osun, he was born in Lagos, on 16 October 1960 to Chief Victor Babaremilekun Adetokunboh Fani-Kayode and to Chief (Mrs) Adia Adunni Fani-Kayode. He is an Ile-Ife chieftain of Yoruba descent.
Fani-Kayode was the Special Assistant (Public Affairs) to President Olusegun Obasanjo from July 2003 until June 2006. He was appointed the Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 22 June to 7 November 2006 and as the Minister of Aviation from 7 November 2006 to 29 May 2007.
His great-grandfather, the Rev. Emmanuel Adedapo Kayode, was one of the earliest Nigerians to be educated in England, receiving an MA from the University of Durham, after which he became an Anglican priest. His grandfather, Victor Adedapo Kayode, studied law at Cambridge University and became a lawyer and a judge. His father Victor Babaremilekun Adetokunboh Fani-Kayode, who was also at Cambridge, was a prominent lawyer and political figure in Nigeria in the 1950s and 1960s.
He was Leader of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons Opposition in the Western House of Assembly from 1960 to 1963, the Hon. Minister of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and Deputy Premier of the Western Region of Nigeria from 1963 until 1966 and he successfully moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence in 1958 in the Nigerian Parliament.
Femi Fani-Kayode started his education at the age of 8 at Brighton College, Brighton in the UK after which he went to Holmewood House School in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, South-East England. He entered Harrow School in Harrow on the Hill, United Kingdom and later into Kelly College in Tavistock, UK, where he completed the rest of his public-school education.
In 1980 Femi Fani-Kayode went to the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies where he graduated with an LL. B law degree in 1983. He entered Cambridge University (Pembroke College) where his grandfather (Selwyn College), his father (Downing College) and his older brother, Akinola (Downing College) had all previously read law. Victor Adedapo Kayode, Femi’s grandfather, was called to the British bar (Middle Temple) in 1922 and his father, Remi Fani-Kayode, was called to the British bar (Middle Temple) in 1945.
After finishing from Cambridge, Femi Fani-Kayode went to the Nigerian Law School and in 1985 was called to the Nigerian Bar. In 1993, under the tutelage of Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams of Ghana, Femi Fani-Kayode became a Pentecostal Christian. He decided to go back to school to study theology at the Christian Action Faith Bible Seminary in Accra, Ghana, gaining a diploma in theology in 1995.
FFK had a marathon battle with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. He was discharged and acquitted on 1 July 2015 by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on the two-count charge of money laundering preferred against him by EFCC. The court held that the EFCC was unable to prove the charges against him beyond reasonable doubt and consequently acquitted him.
In his victory press statement Fani-Kayode changed his name from. Oluwafemi Fani-Kayode to Olufemi Olu-Kayode (meaning the Lord brings joy). According to him this was done as a mark of gratitude to God following his acquittal of all the remaining money laundering charges that were brought against him by the EFCC. Fani-Kayode had fought the case since 1 July 2008 and he was finally cleared of all the remaining charges that had not been dismissed earlier on 1 July 2015. This was 7 years to the day after his ordeal first started.
Today, Femi Fani Kayode can be said to be the tormentor in chief of the Buhari’s administration when others are blindfolded with partisan politics, sycophancy and pecuniary interests. He continues to deplore his training as a lawyer and skills as a writer and orator to draw the attention of Nigerians to the grand deception of the principalities and powers in Nigeria that has prevented us from knowing peace and prosperity in the land.
Towncryyers.com salute his courage which has helped to dispel the belief that Yorubas are spineless. To be fare to the Yorubas, they have proven to be the boldest ethnic group in the national and political arena. Forgetting recent missteps, Prof. Wole Soyinka is the boldest Nigerian writer ever. Chief Gani Fawhehimi is without contest the boldest activist in the history of Nigeria. Fela Anikulapo Kuti is also without contest the boldest musician or artist in our history. And former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fasoye is Nigeria’s first true activist-governor.
In the coming days, weeks, months and years, I hope Olufemi Olu-Kayode would continue to tell us the bitter truth that can sweeten our lives as Nigerians. Olufemi Olu-Kayode has five daughters from his previous marriages. He is happily married to Precious Chikwendu, a former beauty queen who won the Miss United Nations (World) Beauty Pageant 2014. Their marriage which is Olu-Kayode’s fourth, is blessed with four sons.
Ata Ukuta – editor, www.towncryyers.com