By Solomon K. Musa
The article, ‘Femi Fani- Kayode: the Spy Who Fooled Us,’ written by one Dr. Bolaji O. Akinyemi captured my attention. Femi Fani-Kayode a Spy? A Spy? Really? I gobbled the article quickly, searching for proofs of betrayal. The author “exposed” FFK as “Judas Iscariot… with 30 pieces of silver in his pocket”. The proofs: that FFK is heir apparent of a traitorous lineage who has been “feeding fat at Kyari’s kitchen” like his father did at the expense of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo; that FFK wrote a glowing tribute at Kyari’s death; that he revealed his friendship with Kyari for over four decades; that he was “lightly dealt with by this government with his bad case with EFCC”; and, inter alia, that FFK “Knows what was really going on in this country”.
With the above “heavy forensic evidence” the author found against FFK, pronounced him guilty and sentenced him to bear the title of “Judas Iscariot” for life.
Let me say from the outset that I met FFK one-on-one only once in life. I have not had any other privilege of meeting him again except at public gatherings. From 2015-date Southern Kaduna, the Middle Belt and great parts of the Southern States came under serious Fulani terrorist attacks erroneously dubbed “Farmers-Herders conflict” or “Fulani herdsmen” attacks. Several otherwise vociferous voices went mute. Very few voices rose to the occasion. One clear, strident, bold voice of hope was that of Chief Femi Fani- Kayode.
I cannot forget, nor will I chose to close my eyes to the fact that when we needed friends and voices all across the land, particularly across River Niger and Benue to sound the alarm and to trumpet our agony, our lamentations and our story, FFK did not play the ostrich. At great risk to his safety and life, he cried with us; No, he did not cry with us, he used his voice as a loudspeaker to echo our cries while crying with us so that our story reverberated all across Nigeria and the whole world. Our cries were his cries; our pains were his pains; our sufferings were his sufferings.
He left no one in doubt where he stood: Was it the genocide in Goska and other parts of Southern Kaduna? He spoke; the denials against Southern Kaduna? He spoke. The assassination of the Agom Adara? Chief FFK Spoke. As the then President of the Southern Kaduna Peoples’ Union (SOKAPU) an umbrella body of 56 ethnic nationalities of Southern Kaduna, I visited and thanked FFK for his contributions to our existential challenge. That was the only time I met him.
Back to Akinyemi’s facts relied upon to conclude and convict FFK of betrayal. His “facts” were that since FFK knows what was going on in this country that is enough to secure a conclusion of treachery. Well, all serious journalists to good causes the world over are then Judas Iscariots; Journalists of the ilk of Christian Amanpour; late Dele Giwa; Zainab Badawi will all be convicted in the court of Dr. Akinyemi.
FFK was in prison custody, Sowore was in prison custody, Abiri Jones was in prison custody, Supreme Court Justices were detained by the EFCC some like FFK and the Supreme Court Justices were released on bail or their cases decided in their favour. Is heavy handed dealing and conviction at all cost the only proof of innocence or of not being fifth columnists? How “bad” is FFK’s case? Akinyemi should elucidate with more facts, please.
Another “grievous” charge against FFK is his friendship with Kyari for over 40 years and his knowledge of what was really going on in this country. I may be wrong, but when Germany was divided into Eastern and Western Germany as well as Korea into Northern and Southern Korea, families and friends were divided by the war, but their kinship and friendship never ceased. Was FFK expected to throw overboard all friends that he disagreed with? Sometimes having and maintaining friendship with people even in the “enemies” camp come in handy to save lives. Ask David and Hushai 2 Samuel 15:32-34.
Journalists have told me that certain times their information were sourced from the most unlikely places. As the then President of SOKAPU (up to 2019), I found this to be true. Two men revealed certain information to me antithetical to the interest of our killers, terrorists and their sponsors. Those that revealed the detail information are part of them. They are alive. I am not at liberty to jeopardize them by revealing our discussion. I may reveal the information in future memoirs or when they are dead, but certainly not now. Ask journalists. They sometimes leash themselves from disclosing all information available to them. It is not all information that you have that you reveal to the public. You censor yourself for the protection of your informants; for the protection of the source of your information; and for the protection of those the information will benefit. If you share every information you have, you will soon realize that nobody will trust a basket as a container for water. Your information source will dry. So also, will the protection of what you hold dear through the improper release of sources of information atrophy. While Kyari was alive, was FFK expected to disclose to the world their relationship? No Sir. That would have been infantile.
Another “proof” of treachery is the fact that FFK is heir apparent of a traitorous lineage. I do not want to comment on how true or false that assertion is, however, assuming without conceding that it is true that FFK’s father betrayed the Yoruba race, can Akinyemi swear with any holy text that his own forebears were saints? Assuming any of his forebears was a cultist, a ritualist, a murderer, a thief, will anyone be right to impute the same character to Dr. Akinyemi? Perhaps Akinyemi has carried out a historical survey of his lineage and found all his forebears to be above board? His answer will educate us.
Lastly, Akinyemi asserted that FFK has lined his pockets with “30 pieces of silver” and fed fat at Kyari’s kitchen. I give up. I am not in a position to comment, however, I will like to ask Akinyemi the question: “Sir, what were you doing in that kitchen?”
It will be interesting to ask Akinyemi to substantiate his “facts” further.
––Barr. Musa is former President of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU).
Pix: Fani Kayode.jpg