Former aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode is in a dilemma: should he remain in the All Progressives Congress (APC) or return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which has been mounting pressure on him?
The former spokesman of former president Olusegun Obasanjo has been in the news since he raised the alarm that the APC was planning to field a Muslim-Muslim ticket — the duo of General Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu – and, to crown it all, he has been in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he met with President Goodluck Jonathan on one occasion.
Checks conducted during the week show that Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State and the governorship candidate of the PDP in Osun State, who is also his kinsman, Senator Iyiola Omisore, and the minister of state for defence, Senator Musliu Obanikoro, played prominent roles in facilitating his visit to the Presidential Villa. “In fairness to Governor Mimiko of Ondo State, he is of the Labour Party but he has been asking Fani-Kayode to return to the PDP because that is where his political future is brighter and that his independent-mindedness would not be allowed in the APC,” said a Presidency source.
Although the son of the former deputy premier of the old Western Region had explained to correspondents that his mission in the State House had nothing to do with his alleged return to the PDP and that he remained in the APC as long as his faith was not being threatened by any political manipulation, the media has not ceased speculating on his return to the party.
But using his facebook to justify his going to the Villa, Fani-Kayode said he has not decamped from the APC and asked his critics to read his comment after the visit carefully. He wrote: “I have not left the APC. If I ever choose to leave the party, I will let the Nigerian public know and I will give my reasons. This has not happened. I was at the Villa the other day and what transpired there has been the subject of much online speculation. What I said to the media whilst there was very clear and I chose my words very carefully. Let those that are interested read those words in the newspapers rather than speculate. Other than that, I will say no more on this matter until I am ready to do so.”
Speaking further, the former minister reminded his cynics that other APC chieftains had gone to the same place yet they remain in the party and wondered why his would be an exception: “A few days ago all the APC governors from the south west were in the State House where they held a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan. What they discussed has not been made public until now. Does that make them PDP governors? The Presidency belongs to every Nigerian irrespective of religious and political persuasions.
“Again, General Buhari was recently honoured by the same President Jonathan during the centenary celebration which the APC did not support. Does that mean he has joined the PDP? Again, the on-going federal government confab has some APC chieftains participating in it despite the fact that the party is against it. Does that mean that they have left the APC? People should get real and stop speculating.
“This is not about leaving parties but about principle. Let us hope that the leadership of the APC sees fit to clarify this matter at the soonest and assure us all that they will do no such thing. Their silence on the matter and their refusal to rule it out is simply fuelling more speculation and dissent from within.”
He continued: “When I say this, I am speaking for many within the party leadership who are deeply concerned but who have chosen to remain silent for obvious reasons.” A political associate of Fani-Kayode explained to LEADERSHIP Weekend the dilemma his principal is in, saying the earlier the APC APC speaks on the alleged Muslim-Muslim ticket, the better for the party: “Let me make it clear here that Chief Femi Fani-Kayode likes his membership of the APC. He celebrates the like-minded people he meets there and who share same vision of a great Nigeria with him. But he would never compromise his faith with anything under the sun.
If the APC leadership opens up today and says there would never be a Muslim-Muslim ticket come 2015, there is nothing that would make him dump the party. And let me let you also, know that Chief Fani-Kayode is speaking the minds of several others within and outside the party. So, they should not see him as a lone ranger.” The source further explained that the visit of his principal was part of the consultations and poaching of the opposition camp, APC, by the Presidency and the PDP leadership. He said the two wanted his boss back in the party but Fani-Kayode has not decided.