The recent meeting of the former minister of aviation and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Femi Fani-Kayode, with the national caretaker chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mai Mala Buni has continued to generate reactions among Nigerians.
Legit.ng reports that while some Nigerians especially members of the PDP believed that the ex-minister's romance with the leaders of the APC is dangerous to his future political career, others opined that Fani-Kayode's defection to the ruling party may signal an end to the opposition in Nigeria.
Fani-Kayode, however, in a statement posted on his Facebook page on Sunday, February 21, explained why he met with the leaders across the party line in the last few weeks.
Here is the statement:
The Lion that cannot be caged
Over the last one week, millions of Nigerians have expressed concern about which direction I am going politically and much has been said.
Some have gone out of their way to reach out to me and offered their counsel out of genuine love and concern.
Others have not reached out to me and have written or spoken out of ignorance, hate and malice imputing the worst motivations for actions which they claim I have purportedly taken.
This contribution is an attempt to provide answers to just a few of the oftentimes asinine and absurd assertions and observations that the latter group have made.
Some say they warned me and that I have fallen into a trap whilst others say my voice has been silenced, I am a spy and that this signals the end of my political career.
My response to them and others who have conjured up even stranger motivations and conspiracy theories when it comes to FFK is as follows.
To whom it may concern: spare me your crocodile tears and be rest assured that I am too big, too intelligent, too experienced and too forthright to fall into any trap.
It is impossible to castrate a lion, render it impotent or silence its roar.
I stand on all my beliefs, core values and principles. I am the voice of the voiceless, I am a warrior, I fear nothing, I fear no-one, I am as constant as the northern star and I will ALWAYS stand against evil.
Speaking to other leaders across party lines in order to build bridges, engender peace, foster stability and enhance national unity ought not to create such national and international rage, panic and pandemonium.
Are we so divided that we can't even talk to one another and take pictures together without causing a public stir and setting the Internet on fire?
You insult me and say I am scared of prison because I had a meeting with two APC Governors?
Do you know how many PDP and APC Governors and leaders I interact with and meet regularly? Do you know how many I talk to on a daily basis?
Do you know that I was prosecuted for 7 years by PDP Governments who tried to jail me simply for speaking out against them yet it did not deter me? Ask those that were in the Yar'adua and Jonathan administration.
After a while, they got tired because the more they tried to intimidate me into silence or make me flee the country the more I stood my ground and fought my corner till they gave up.
Does that sound like a man that is scared of death or prison?
You insult me and say I am broke because I had talks with two APC Governors.
Do you know that I spend more on my monthly salary bill in one month than some of these people that are claiming I am broke earn in 5 or 10 years?
I have 55 domestic staff in my house alone. Not one of them gets below 70,000 naira per month which is higher than the national minimum wage.
I do not owe salaries and I feed each of them three square meals every day. I do all this just to help them and to ensure they can look after and feed their families. Does that sound like a broke man to you?
That is my little contribution to the welfare of our people because I certainly do not need so many staff. I employ them just to keep them off the unemployment line.
Apart from that do you know how many people I give scholarships to and how many people's children I feed and educate? Do you know how many other families I am responsible for in terms of day-to-day living?
The Bible says be your brother's keeper and I do these things unto the Lord. I do them and I will never stop even when my good is repaid with evil.
The Lord has always provided for me and given me the fat of the land. He has always caused me to be a blessing to others though I do not make noise about it.
For the last 60 years of my life, he has been good to me. He has caused me to excel, prosper and flourish and from beginning to end He has always been with me and mine.
You say I make money through politics meanwhile I left public office in 2007 which is 13 years ago! Does that make sense to you? In any case, is politics my only source of income in the world?
Am I your conventional politician who craves for elective office? Do I even attend their meetings? I have been in this game since 1990! Do you know that?
I have been making my contributions to current affairs, political discourse and politics for the last 31 years which is long before most of today's Governors or Ministers even knew the meaning of the word.
And it was always a struggle which involved sacrifice. Where were my detractors when I was in NADECO and fought against the military rule?
The records are there and so are the essays and some of the people I worked with.
Where were they when we set up September Club in 1989 and some of the nation's greatest leaders and elder statesmen and top politicians over the last 30 years, including Presidents, Governors, Ministers and legislators across party lines, were members?
Where were they in the days of NRC, SDP and Choice '92 when politics was real, when the greats held sway and when men honored their word?
Where were they when we risked all for MKO Abiola's stolen mandate and June 12th and even had to go into exile for years because of it?
Where were they when we stood against the annulment of June 12th and fought against the Government of General Sani Abacha?
Where were they when we formed the Progressive Action Movement in 1999 and some of the nation's brightest and best young stars and minds made their contribution to national affairs?
Where were they when we fought against Senator Ali Modu Sheriff who was sent to high jack and destroy the PDP?
Where were they when I led President Goodluck Jonathan's presidential campaign in 2015 and took the battle to the gates of the enemy?
Where were they when I stood behind President Olusegun Obasanjo and faced down ALL his detractors?
Where were they when I was targetted and almost assassinated on two separate occasions during the Obasanjo Presidency simply because I was the President's defender in chief and armour bearer and was totally committed to his cause?
I did all this in the past and present and you say I am making money from it? Do you know the risks involved in these things?
Do you know I could have been killed together with members of my family long ago and most certainly would have had it not been for God?
Can my detractors give up so much and risk so much just for politics? Honestly, it really is the deepest insult.
Some of us were born into wealth and have never lacked it. We were born into politics too. We were born into the circles of power so nothing moves us.
For us, politics is a noble calling and not a profession. It is about proferring solutions to complex national issues and not about the acquisition of primitive wealth.
We gave up all for the struggle for democracy and the opportunity to help to develop our country and move her forward and now we are insulted and mocked and told we did it for money? Which money?
How much can I be bought or bribed with? All the money in the world could not move me because I have never lacked it.
What have I not had or enjoyed in life from a very young age? Where have I not been?
I came to the conclusion long ago that all is vanity and that material wealth means nothing. I would never sacrifice my principles or integrity for it.
Mallam Abba Kyari, the President's late and powerful Chief of Staff, was my brother for over 40 years and we interacted regularly whilst he was in power.
I never asked him for ANYTHING from his Government just as I never asked or got ANYTHING from any of the previous Federal Governments between 2007 and 2021.
If I had done so I would not have been able to criticise those governments publicly and I would have been exposed. You cannot criticise where you eat from.
I did not join APC when Abba was in Government and I did not compromise my principles when I could have asked him for anything I chose in return since he had the ear of the President.
I respected and loved him for who he was and NOT for the position he held and the feeling was mutual.
I opposed his Government in spite of our friendship and did not share his views yet we remained friends because our friendship was well above politics.
That is what civilised people do. They agree to disagree and respect each other's views. They never let it come between their friendship.
I opposed Abba's Government and risked losing an old and loyal friend and brother because I believed passionately in all I said. I believed all that I said then and I still believe it today.
All that and now you dare to question my resolve and consistency? It is laughable.
You say I am inconsistent. Meanwhile, I have been more consistent in my views over the last 30 years than 95% of Nigerian leaders and I have stuck to my guns despite all manner of persecution and suffering!
You say I have no relevance meanwhile millions all over the world read my words avidly every day and follow my actions religiously because I inspire them due to the fact that I have always had the courage of my convictions and I have always spoken truth to power.
Unlike most politicians, I actually inspire people and give them hope. And most important of all they trust me and trust my judgement.
They have also acknowledged the fact that more often than not my words are prophetic and I have displayed remarkable insight and foresight when it comes to national affairs.
How many of your so-called "relevant" leaders have done that? How many of them have displayed such courage under fire for years on end?
How many of them can have their newspaper columns in three national dailies closed over the years due to threats to the publishers from the Government and yet keep writing his essays on social media with millions of people all over the world still reading them and receiving the message?
How many of them can be blacklisted by the nation's newspapers and television stations with threatening orders from above and still keep talking?
How many of them across party lines can mould the thoughts and guide millions in this way with their counsel, words, actions and thoughts?
First 7 years of persecution under PDP then 5 years of persecution under APC! HOW many of your leaders can stand such fire and pain and still fight on?
Almost all of them ever do is sell you down the river, tell you lies, ignore your pain, deceive you, mock you, use you and give you crumbs in return for your acclamation, support and loyalty but you love them for that.
You say I am scared of even more persecution. At the age of 60, you believe I am scared?
What more can they do to me that they have not done already? And what more am I looking for in life that I have not enjoyed over the years?
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that amid his alleged plan to defect to the ruling APC, Fani-Kayode, reacted to people's comments.
It was reported that Fani-Kayode said in a Facebook post on Sunday, February 21, that over the last one week, millions of Nigerians have expressed concern about which direction he is going politically.
Wale Akinola is a passionate journalist and researcher. He works as a senior political/current affairs editor at Legit.ng. He holds both B.A and Master’s degree in Communications and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan. He also holds a Diploma Certificate in Peace Journalism. He has over 15 years of work experience in both print and online media. He derives joy in keeping the public abreast of current happenings locally and internationally through his writings.