Quite a number of his admirers, followers and associates would really testify that Femi Fani – Katode, Nigeria’s former aviation minister and Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) chieftain, is a garrulous character who derive pleasure in controversial actions. Last week, he made headlines again defecting from the main opposition PDP to the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) he was referred to as Almajiri People’s Congress.
Though he is not the first politician in our country to defect from one political party to the other particularly since the beginning of the Fourth Republic which commences in 1999, but Fani – Kayode’s defection from PDP to APC he once swore he couldn’t join no matter what happened to him. The ruling party he had earlier told the world he was committed to opposing and opposed vehemently at every available opportunity.
In the early 2019, when it was rumoured that Fani-Kayode moved from PDP to APC, he debunked the news describing it as fake news from grapevine. In his reaction to the purported move on his twitter handle, he said ” the suggestion that l joined the APC is false and insulting. Those that are peddling this fake news should bury their heads in shame. With what we have witnessed, l would rather die than join a filthy, rat- infested sinking ship like the Almajiri Peoples Congress”
In addition, he described APC led by President Muhammadu Buhari as “cow lovers and corrupt treasury looters that have brought nothing but death, division, misery, poverty, incompetence, shame and destruction to our nation. “Thus, he said he is committed to opposing APC and those that are in their ranks for the rest of his natural life. He went further to accused the ruling party of being nothing but darkness and he made it clear that he stand for the light of God and truth adding, “there can be no fellowship between light and darkness. “This perhaps explains why Fani- Kayode had been kicking APC below the belt on Buhari government policies and programmes until last week Thursday when he surfaced at the presidential villa in Abuja where he openly swallow his vomits and told the world that he was at the seat of power to see “the most respected president in the world and father of modern Nigeria.”
Fani-Kayode is a political jobber and his defection from PDP to APC is expected and it can’t change anything. It is not new as governors, ministers, members of the National Assembly and party leaders have decamped to another party in the recent past and they remained in office after defection. It was rumoured that Buhari’s predecessor, ex- president Jonathan and a serving deputy governor in one of the South- South States are warming up to leave PDP for the ruling party. Almost all politicians in the country regard politics more of one way of pursuing their personal against national interest, they regard politics as a way of doing business at the detriment of the people because annual budget is not being accounted for and treasury at the federal and state levels are being looted without accountability and necessary punishment for looters.
Hence, it is difficult to stay in an unsalaried opposition, it is extremely difficult for members of opposition parties to secure contract awards from the ruling party and a political jobber who have no other means to keep body and soul together will throw shame into the dust bin and embrace the ruling party if he does not wish to become yesterday politician. So, in our country, Nigeria, PDP is APC and APC is PDP for party bigwigs while the destiny of small politicians is in the hands of their political mentors and godfathers.
The First Republic with generation politicians who believed in serving the masses enjoyed trust from the people so much because politics then was played with pure and noble motives. But all these have since changed. The Second Republic, which l refer to as Safari era, somehow, witnessed some level of democratic sanity. But after that era, our politics degenerated to something infinitely more difficult to describe. With colourful politicians like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Mallane Aminu Kano, Dr. K.O. Mbadiwe, Chief Sam Mbakwe and few other distinguished politicians have been recalled by their creator, different characters who have no business with politics nor fully understand what it’s all about, came into the arena and colonised our political territory. Bad men and women with no vision or mission in politics invaded Nigerian politics and colonised the land and the people. With that, politics became a haven for those whose primary participation is to enrich their pockets and not to serve or develop our country. All sorts of characters invaded the field, aided and encouraged by moneybags who needed to protect their ill- gotten wealth through proxies and surrogates. The way we practice our politics in this country, political jobbers usually become political bigwigs dictating where the pendulum of the party to rule swings. Thus, our politics degenerate without noble intention.
With the current situation of winner takes all in our polity, there is no way our politicians would serve the interest of the majority in the murky sea of lies, deceit, character assassination, hypocrisy and deceit. One cannot be eating from party politics and refuse to join the ruling party. People should remember the so called “progressive” politicians who refused to leave Abacha government after the annulment of the most freest and fairest June 12, 1993 presidential election. They abandoned the struggle for activation of Chief MK O Abiola’s mandate. That is the nature of a political jobber.
As Nigeria moves towards 2023 general election, l dare say Fani-Kayode’s defection is small, it serves the beginning of defection of bread and butter politicians from one to the other between the two leafing political parties in the country because we have suffered a big erosion of values. Obviously, a country that does not have values would have problems in terms of progress and development.
What then is the way forward? Our good men with noble motives should embrace active participation in politics with determination to take power from terrible characters that have monopolised our political field. Our politics should attract serious minded people and not people whose motives are less than noble and altruistic.
FFK’s defection from PDP to APC is not new and it won’ t be the last as 2023 beckons. One sure way of bringing or re- introducing dignity, grace and respectability to Nigerian politics is for President Buhari to sign the much awaited electoral reform into law.
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