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USAfrica: Femi Fani-Kayode is a bigoted, anti-Igbo tribalist. By Femi Aribisala

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Femi Fani-Kayode is a bigoted, anti-Igbo tribalist
By Femi Aribisala

—–                                                                                                                                                     Femi Fani-Kayode himself is no more Lagosian than the Igbo he berates. The Fani-Kayodes are not from Lagos. They are from Ile-Ife in Osun State. Femi Fani-Kayode’s only legitimate claim to Lagos is that he was born there. But then so were many Igbos who are, therefore, Lagosians. Moreover, Igbo-Lagosians have one up on Femi Fani-Kayode. They live in Lagos. Femi Fani-Kayode does not. Igbo-Lagosians work in Lagos and pay taxes to the LagosState government. Femi Fani-Kayode does not….             —–

Special to  USAfricaonline.com, CLASSmagazine and USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston.  Follow Twitter.com/Chido247Facebook.com/MandelaAchebeChido,  Facebook.com/USAfricaChido , Facebook.com/USAfrica247

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Femi_Fani_Kayode_trad-pix2_via_USAfricaonline.com

The year was 1965. I was an innocent starry-eyed 13 year-old and Nigeria was in turmoil. It was the era of the “wetie,” when the houses of politicians and key public-figures were burnt down in the brouhaha that was then Western Nigeria.

We lived in Oke-Ado in Ibadan and our next-door neighbour was Chief Ogundiran, a minister in the government of Chief S.L. Akintola, the Premier of the Western Region. (Ogundiran was famous for only wearing white.) In the spirit of the times, a mob came early one morning and burnt down his house. He jumped out of the window and managed to escape.

Fani-Power, Fani-igbo: I was having private lessons in Mathematics at the home of a colleague, Enitan Abiodun, when we heard the noise of a crowd outside. We rushed to the veranda to see Chief Remi Fani-Kayode (alias Fani-Power), then Deputy Governor of the Western Region, standing on the seat of a moving convertible. He was surrounded by a mob, which was shouting and hailing him. On hearing the noise, Enitan’s mother rushed to the veranda shouting “Awo!” only to discover that the people outside were not supporters of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, but those of his arch-enemies.

The shout of “Awo!” by Mrs. Abiodun brought the procession to a screeching halt. “Who said that? Who said that?” demanded the mob, enraged. “Fani-Power” turned and looked up at us. His eyes were the usual blood-shot red. At the time, many claimed it was because he regularly smoked Indian-hemp. Fani-Kayode pointed to our building and identified to his thugs that the offending shout came from our direction. We did not know that the floor of the convertible he was standing in was loaded with empty bottles. His thugs reached for the bottles and rained them down on us as we all scrambled back inside the house for dear life.

Like father, like son: That was 48 years ago. Today, Femi Fani-Kayode, the 53-year-old son of “Fani-Power,” continues in the mischievous tradition of his father: throwing dangerous missiles at the innocent. He recently wrote an incendiary article entitled: “The Bitter Truth About the Igbo,” in which he maligned the Igbos and virtually told them to get out of Lagos and leave Lagos for the Yorubas.

What is peculiar about the article is that Femi Fani-Kayode himself is no more Lagosian than the Igbos he berates. The Fani-Kayodes are not from Lagos. They are from Ile-Ife in OsunState. Femi Fani-Kayode’s only legitimate claim to Lagos is that he was born there.
But then so were many Igbos who are, therefore, Lagosians. Moreover, Igbo-Lagosians have one up on Femi Fani-Kayode. They live in Lagos. Femi Fani-Kayode does not. Igbo-Lagosians work in Lagos and pay taxes to the LagosState government. Femi Fani-Kayode does not. Therefore, what right does he have to write his diatribe against them? What right does he have to maintain Lagos does not belong to Igbo-Lagosians?

Having thrown these bottles maliciously, Femi Fani-Kayode decided to throw a few more. He wrote another invective entitled: “A Word For Those Who Say I Am A Tribalist.” In order to demonstrate that he was not anti-Igbo, he presented the cliché that some of his best friends are Igbos. As proof, he detailed three Igbo women (some of them happily-married) he claims to have had affairs with. Only God knows how this shows he is not biased against the Igbos. Slave-traders slept with their slaves. Is that proof they were not racist?

The jury is out already. Femi Fani-Kayode is a bigoted tribalist. Only a tribalist can say he is not anti-Igbo and then say this about the Igbos: “(They are) collectively unlettered, uncouth, uncultured, unrestrained and crude in all their ways.” “They have no restraining factors because money and the acquisition of wealth is their sole objective and purpose in life.”

Clearly, Femi Fani-Kayode is out of control. He has become something of a train-wreck. He was President Obasanjo’s agent-provocateur for so long, where he maligned elder-statesmen like Yakubu Gowon; he no longer knows how to speak with decorum.

The American model: I am Yoruba. Nevertheless, I repeat; the Igbos of Lagos are Lagosians. They are Lagosians whether ethnic jingoists like Femi Fani-Kayode like it or not. The Lagos branch of the old Action Congress of Nigeria acknowledged that no less than 45% of the population of Lagos is Igbo.
That is a fact that cannot be ignored or simply wished-away. It is not improbable that, in a few years time, the majority of people living in Lagos will be Igbos. Short of changing the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, that tells me an Igbo man can rightfully become the future Governor of Lagos State. That should give some food-for-thought to the Fani-Kayodes.

The system of government in Nigeria is modeled after that of the United States. In the U.S., Hilary Clinton is a native of Illinois. Nevertheless, in 2000 she contested for election as Senator in New York and won. She was eligible to run for the seat simply because she and her husband moved to New York and lived there for only one year. Similarly, some Ibos have been in Lagos for 50 years.
That should make them eligible to run for office. If they vote the ethnic card, as Yorubas often do, Femi Fani-Kayode might have a heart-attack. An Igbo man might conceivably become the Governor of Lagos State. That is what democracy is all about.
The growing political muscle of Igbo-Lagosians has been obscured by electoral malpractices. That cannot last forever. Sooner than later, Igbo-Lagosians will start to pull their political weight in Lagos. True indigenes of Lagos, as opposed to carpet-baggers like the Fani-Kayodes, have traditionally been open-minded about Igbos and non-indigenes. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, a Nigerian nationalist who happened to be Igbo, once won an election in Lagos, before Awolowo appealed to tribal politics to truncate it.
Grudging acknowledgement of the growing political clout of the Igbos led to the appointment of a token Igbo man, Pastor Ben Akabueze, as Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget in Lagos by Governor Babatunde Fashola; a post he has held for six years.

Femi Fani-Kayode should have gone to court to challenge that appointment. Soon, such tokenism will just not cut it. Igbo-Lagosians will demand a more proportionate share of the local political power. If they play their cards right, they will get it. Igbo-Lagosians vote in Lagos. Therefore, they can be voted for in Lagos. No constitutional amendment is required to bring this about.

Given his educational background, one would have expected Fani-Kayode to be more enlightened. A Nigerian cannot be an alien in Nigeria. An Igbo man cannot be an alien in Lagos. Igbos are not illegal aliens in Lagos. They are at home. In Nigeria, a Nigerian is entitled to live wherever he wants. If the resources of the Niger-Delta can be Nigerianised to the benefit of Yoruba-Lagosians, then Lagos cannot be the exclusive preserve of Yoruba-Lagosians.

Since Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians, then Lagos belongs to all Nigerians. During the census enumeration, some of us insisted that Igbos must stay and be counted in Lagos for that very reason. Since Igbo-Lagosians are a significant part of the local population who contribute immensely to key sectors of the economy, the national census must reflect the fact that they live and work in Lagos.
I recently visited London after a ten-year absence. What I saw was a highly cosmopolitan city with people of different nationalities, including Nigerians. London is no longer a town of the English. It is now a megalopolis in the true sense of the word. On several occasions, I overheard people speaking Yoruba in the streets of London. On one occasion, I could not resist the urge to interject, even though uninvited.
Nigerians are everywhere. On a visit in May 2013 to WashingtonD.C., United States for the Nigerian Development and Finance Forum, under the auspices of Financial Nigeria Limited, I was informed by the Deputy Ambassador of Nigeria to the United States that there are currently five million Nigerians in the U.S. There are even more Nigerians in Sudan; over eight million.
Nigerians constitute a significant percentage of the population of Cote d’Ivoire. There are more Nigerians in Equatorial Guinea than Equatorial-Guineans. There is no country on planet earth where you will not find a sizeable population of Nigerians. U.N. projections predict that Nigeria will soon be the fourth largest country in the world, surpassed by only China, India and the United States. Under such circumstances, a Nigerian like Femi Fani-Kayode should not be hankering after a small real-estate called Lagos. Nigerians must become citizens of the world.

Joseph was a Jewish slave in Egypt. Nevertheless, he rose to become the Egyptian Prime-Minister. That happened in biblical days, and not twenty-first century Egypt. More recently in 2008, Barack Obama, the son of a Kenyan, became president of the United States. In 2010, John Abraham Godson, a Nigerian-born Polish citizen became a Member of Parliament in Poland. In April, 2013, Cecile Kyenge, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, became the Minister of Integration of the Republic of Italy. Surely, Femi Fani-Kayode cannot discern these signs of the times. Especially, the new Nigeria. M.K.O. Abiola, a Yoruba man, won his famous presidential election in 1993 by relying on Hausa, Fulani, Igbo and other votes. He was not just elected by Yorubas. Yorubas did not even vote for Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999. He became President by relying on northern, eastern and south-south votes. Goodluck Jonathan became president in 2011 by forging a coalition that stretched across the Niger and the Benue to all parts of Nigeria.
When Odumegwu Ojukwu died, the entire nation of Nigeria consoled the Igbos.

Femi Aribisala

Femi Aribisala

Collectively, we declared with one voice that the civil war is truly over. We must not allow the Femi Fani-Kayodes to turn back the clock. Next time Femi Fani-Kayode wants to tell us “the bitter truth,” he should tell us about N19.5 billion Aviation Fund mismanaged under his watch as Minister of Aviation under the Obasanjo administration. That is the bitter truth we need to hear from him right now.                       •Femi Aribisala, commentator on public policy and faith issues, is the fellowship coordinator of Healing Wings, a pentecostal Christian group. 

——-

Why Obama’s late to symbolic, historic meeting with Mandela. By Chido Nwangwu.  http://usafricaonline.com/2013/06/26/obamas-late-to-symbolic-historic-meeting-with-fit-mandela-by-chido-nwangwu/

VIDEO of the CNN International broadcast/profile of USAfrica and CLASSmagazine Publisher Chido Nwangwu.  http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/07/29/mpa.african.media.bk.a.cnn  

Halting the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. By Chido Nwangwu http://usafricaonline.com/chido.sudan04.html

Obama’s Africa agenda, our business and democracy. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com

—— Forthcoming 2013 book: In this engaging, uniquely insightful and first person reportage book, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Footprints of Greatness, about two global icons and towering persons of African descent whose exemplary livesMandela-n-Achebe-by-Chido-book-frontcover-Lrsand friendship hold lessons for humanity and Africans, the author takes a measure of their works and consequence to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.” He chronicles, movingly, his 1998 reporting from the Robben Island jail room in South Africa where Mandela was held for decades through his 20 years of being close to Achebe. He moderated the 2012 Achebe Colloquium at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.”I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that historic Mandela jail cell (where he was held for most of his 27 years in unjust imprisonment) at the dreaded Robben Island, on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief executive of the CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when President Bill Clinton made his first official trip to South Africa and came to Robben Island. Come to this island of scourge and you will understand, in part, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela”, notes  Chido Nwangwu, award-winning writer, multimedia specialist and founder of USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the internet, in his first book; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela. http://www.mandelaachebechido.com/

 

Margaret Thatcher, Mandela and Africa.  By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica, and the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com. Click for newscast video of London-based SkyNEWS, the global, 24-hour British international tv network’s interview with USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwu on April 11, 2013 regarding this latest commentary http://youtu.be/G0fJXq_pi1c )

ACHEBE Lives As an Immortal Writer In Our Hearts and Minds. By Chido Nwangwu.
USAfrica, May 22, 2013:

——–

POPE FRANCIS, champion for the poor and evangelistic dedication’ by Chido Nwangwu

USAfrica: Awolowo’s Starvation Policy against Biafrans and the Igbo requires apology not attacks on Achebe. By Francis Adewale. 

Long Live, CHINUA ACHEBE! The Eagle on the iroko.                    

FULL text of this tribute-commentary at USAfricaonline.com click link http://usafricaonline.com/2013/03/22/long-live-chinua-achebe-by-chido-nwangwu/

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Remi2013

    August 21, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Femi Fani-Kayode is one of the few great men left in this nation ,who served his people in the fear of God.He not only saved lifes by stopping the crushes ,but he also kept a clean account of the N19 billion .And not a kobo was missing when the records were submitted .EFCC had to drop that charge and they did years ago.The man loves his people and his country,he can not sit by and let others lie about his homeland.This is not hate,even God said my people and my land when it came to the Jews.Others must show a little respect to host of after they have been welcomed,and not say such hurtful things like we now own your land.

  2. Remi

    August 21, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Mr Femi Aribisala,the God that gave the Israel

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AFRICA

World SOCCER SHOWDOWN: South Africa backs Morocco; U.S under pressure

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  • USAfricaonline.com  •  @Chido247  @USAfricalive

“It is an old myth that Africa doesn’t have the capacity, and naysayers should stop using the political argument. Africa hosted the best Fifa World Cup ever and with good support, Morocco can emulate South Africa,” said the SAFA president Jordaan.

Johannesburg – South Africa Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan has promised Morocco that South Africa will give its unqualified support to secure another World Cup on the African continent in 2026.

Morocco is vying to stage the world’s biggest football prize against a joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

The Moroccan delegation comprises ex-Senegal and Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf and former Cameroonian goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell.

Jordaan said it would be great for Africa to have a second bite of the World Cup cherry, adding Morocco’s bid was Africa’s bid.

Jordaan assured Morocco that he would personally lobby for the Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) and the rest of the continent to rally behind the Moroccans.

In his remarks, Antoine Bell said Morocco had all the ingredients to host another spectacular World Cup.

“South Africa showed the way and I am confident Morocco will follow suit. The country has international standards, from the stadiums to top infrastructure. Morocco can compete with the best in the world,” he said.

By giving Morocco its support, South Africa’s voice would make all the difference on the continent, Bell said.

“When South Africa talks on the continent, the rest of the continent listens hence it is vital for South Africa to support Morocco. South Africa has the experience and Morocco will use this experience to win the 2016 bid,” added Bell. African News Agency

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AFRICA

USAfrica: Catholic priest Etienne killed by militia in DR Congo, after a wedding mass

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  •  @USAfricaLIVE

Goma – A Catholic priest was found shot dead hours after he said mass in Democratic Republic of Congo’s restive North Kivu province, a member of the church told AFP.

“Father Etienne Sengiyumva was killed [on] Sunday by the Mai Mai Nyatura (militia) in Kyahemba where he had just celebrated a mass including a baptism and a wedding,” father Gonzague Nzabanita, head of the Goma diocese where the incident occurred, told AFP.

The Mai Mai Nyatura are an armed group operating in North Kivu, in eastern DRC.

Nzabanita said Sengiyumva, 38, had had lunch with local faithful before “we found him shot in the head”.

North and South Kivu provinces are in the grip of a wave of violence among militia groups, which often extort money from civilians or fight each other for control of mineral resources.

Last week unknown assailants kidnapped a Catholic priest in North Kivu, demanding $500 000 for his release.

Eastern DRC has been torn apart by more than 20 years of armed conflict, fuelled by ethnic and land disputes, competition for control of the region’s mineral resources, and rivalry between regional powers.

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AFRICA

USAfrica: Nigeria’s LOOTERS LIST and Buhari’s selective corruption targets. By Majeed Dahiru

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PDP vs APC Looters List and Buhari’s selective corruption targets

By Majeed Dahiru

Special to USAfrica {Houston] • USAfricaonline.com • @USAfricaLive

 

Timipriye Silva, a former governor and PDP chieftain, who became a founding member and financier of APC, had his corruption charges quashed by a federal high court and Buhari’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to appeal the N19.5 billion fraud case.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to Nigeria’s First and Second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, the PDP appointed former managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from [Buhari’s Information Minister] Lai Mohammed’s list.

For a party that has been accused of destroying Nigeria by squandering accrued oil revenues estimated at over $500 billion in sixteen years, it is confounding that Lai’s list is not only exclusively comprised of PDP looters but also captures the last two years of PDP’s last lap in power and included just Goodluck Jonathan’s associates, who supported him against candidate Buhari, while also relating only to funds used in the last electioneering campaign of the PDP.

Whenever the obviously abysmal performance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration appears to be gaining sustained attention, and leading to murmuring within the rank and file of his supporters, a tale of humungous looting by opposition elements is usually spun and thrown into the public space to distract people away from the core issue of the failure of governance.

Like a fit of deja vu, the recently unveiled list of looters by Lai Mohammed, a fellow who comes across as more of President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief propagandist than a minister of the federal republic of Nigeria in charge of information and culture, didn’t come as a surprise. The list is all too familiar as the unveiling was a summarised rehash of politically exposed individuals who are members of the opposition party, close associates of former President Goodluck Jonathan, particularly his appointees in government, who have been named and shamed several times in well-coordinated media trials.

First on Lai’s list is Uche Secondus, the chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Lai had this to say of Secondus: “On the 19th of February 2015, he took N200 million only from the office of the NSA”. An unidentified former financial secretary of the PDP was similarly accused of “taking” N600 million from the same office of the National Security Adviser. Lai Mohammed also re-revealed that frontline member of PDP and media mogul, who deployed his media power to promote Goodluck Jonathan by de-marketing the Buhari candidacy in the run up to 2015 presidential election, Raymond Dokpesi, is on trial for “taking” N2.1 billion from the office of the then NSA. Lai also reminded Nigerians that his shouting match and former spokesman of the PDP, Olisa Metuh is on trial for “collecting” N1.4 billion from the same office of the NSA.

Lai Mohammed’s expanded follow up list included the usual suspects – former ministers, PDP state governors, service chiefs, presidential aides, associates and family members of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who were collectively accused of looting Nigeria of close to $2.1 billion through the office of the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.).

The choice of words like “took” and “collected” deployed by Lai to describe the manner in which those named received these monies was deliberate for the maximum effect of propaganda, portraying the accused persons as looters who broke into NSA vault and catered away boxes of cash at something akin to a gun point.

While the clamp down on PDP looters who supported Goodluck Jonathan and are still members of the former ruling party has been heavy handed, others who decamped from PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the eve of the 2015 elections and supported candidate Buhari’s campaign with their share of loot have been forgiven. For example, former NSA, Sambo Dasuki is being treated as an apostate for his role in the disbursement of funds that were used to oil Goodluck Jonathan’s electioneering effort. He has been kept in detention illegally and in defiance of several judicial rulings. Judging by the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption standard of an accusation being tantamount to guilt, in clear contempt of court proceedings by the resort to the naming and shaming suspects even before investigations and criminal prosecution are concluded and convictions obtained, it becomes curious that Lai’s list didn’t reveal any new name. Rather some names were either missing or omitted from what is a familiar list. This appears so because the bulk of PDP bigwigs who “destroyed” Nigeria in sixteen years of national rule are firmly in control of the APC, from its elected national executives to the National Assembly and appointed members of the federal executive council. The majority of APC-elected governors were also former members of the PDP. Even recently decamped PDP members to APC, such as Musiliu Obanikoro and Sulivan Chime, who have been prominently named and shamed in the recent past, were conspicuously missing from the released list of looters.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to the first and second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, a former PDP appointed managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from Lai’s list. Also missing on that list is Bola Shagaya.

Arguably one of Africa’s richest women, with a reputation for close business and political ties to all first families in the past two decades, Bola Shagaya was exceptionally close to the Goodluck Jonathan family. Often described as a bosom friend of former first lady Patience Jonathan, she has been accused, in numerous instances, allegedly, of acting as Patience Jonathan’s front for the laundering of illicit money estimated at over N13 billion, while engaging in other fraudulent activities involved in state capture. All that may be in the past now as she has found her way back to reckoning with the marriage of her son, Seun Bakare to Damilola, the daughter of Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo. Little wonder then, Bola Shagaya’s name is not on Lai’s looters list.

In a clear display of the arrogance of ignorance, the Buhari administration has narrowed its war on corruption to the hounding of members of the Jonathan administration, other individuals and organisations that were known to have worked against the emergence of the President [Buhari] in the 2015 presidential elections. This is clearly evident in the selective nature of the current anti-corruption effort.

The tone of generalisation of the PDP as the problem of Nigeria, as an indicator of corruption, should make all members of PDP (both former and present) and their collaborators in other parties guilty, hence qualifying them for naming and shaming, while being liable for criminal prosecution.

Therefore, Buhari’s list of looters is devoid of integrity, because his selective war on corruption is indicative of corruption in itself. All that is required of a former PDP looter is to get baptised into APC and profess Buhari as the saviour of Nigeria. This is precisely responsible for the failure and ineffectiveness of the war on corruption. Nothing has changed as the current APC looters continue to loot Nigeria, while the redeemed former PDP looters continue to enjoy their loot in hibernation under the abundant grace of the infallible Buhari.

• Dahiru is based in Abuja 

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