Joe Igbokwe’s many lies about Femi Fani-Kayode in a recent article he mischievously titled “Femi Fani-Kayode – Aturu Mulu Ebunu Gba aka Nwa” is shocking, to say the least. The essay murdered history, stood logic on its head and was replete with copious and deliberate falsehood fabricated just to match the childish fancy of the author and his paymasters. Or else how could one explain the attempted but unsuccessful beguiled humiliation of Fani-Kayode’s family members even his late father in that infamous essay? Who is Joe Igbokwe to talk about the family of Fani-Kayode? Where was Joe Igbokwe’s father when Femi Fani-Kayode’s father successfully moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence? Who among Femi Fani-Kayode’s family members, siblings and relations, have kept that famous name alive and aglow if not Femi Fani-Kayode himself? Surely, Fani-Kayode Senior would be very glad that his son has kept the struggle going and has maintained the uncommon courage to speak the truth even to the powers that be at a great cost to his person and comfort just like he (Fani-Kayode Senior) did against the oppressive colonial masters.
The allegation in the essay that Fani-Kayode fleeced people of their hard earned money while he was minister under Obasanjo’s government is not true. Femi Fani-Kayode never fleeced anyone of their money for whatever purpose. The Anambra-born businessman Joe Igbokwe referred to in his essay is Obinna Uzo who is well-known to both Fani-Kayode and Igbokwe. Anyone is very free to approach Obinna on this issue and see how Igbokwe’s mendacious voyage quickly hits the rocks. Joe should be ready to face an impending court case for defamation of character as Fani-Kayode has concluded arrangements to take legal steps to have all the lies written against him retracted with generous public apologies while seeking severe punitive verdict on the offender to serve as deterrent to others.
Joe Igbokwe also lied by saying that former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, said, “If you want Femi Fani-Kayode to sing for you for years non-stop, just give him money”. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo never said this and it was nothing but the mendacious product of unimaginative minds who would drag respected names like those of Obasanjo and Femi Fani-Kayode in the mud. Obasanjo himself has since issued a statement saying he never said anything like that. Osun Defender, the news medium which carried that story has since retracted it and the erring journalist punished.
It is all jealousy! Has anyone ever imagined that highly intelligent, politically sagacious and gargantuan figures like Obasanjo would want to hire one Joe Igbokwe for anything? Never! Nobody hires a dullard for the type of services Femi Fani-Kayode has rendered to this country. From being a former Senior Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo on Public Affairs, through being a former Minister of Culture and Tourism, former Minster of Aviation, and to being the immediate past Director of Media & Publicity of the President Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organisation, only fine minds are given such responsibilities and this is what jolts Joe!
In his voyage of falsehood, Igbokwe insinuated that Femi Fani-Kayode relocated to Ghana during the NADECO struggles against IBB and the late General Sani Abacha to right the wrongs of June 12, 1993 presidential election. There is nothing special in this point as a lot of the NADECO members and sympathizers including Prof Wole Soyinka and Ahmed Bola Tinubu also went on exile. Exile was one of the painful but inevitable options left for the activists then. Those who chose to stay back then were
gravely brutalized or even murdered, sometimes in very strange circumstances just like it happened to Chief MKO Abiola, most unfortunately.
In trying to vitiate the seriousness of Femi Fani-Kayode’s commitment to his religion, Igbokwe played God by saying Femi Fani-Kayode can never be a pastor even till the end of time. Assuming that we are talking about a man who has been condemned by mortals, is Igbokwe saying that the power of God to save any man no matter his atrocities is limited? Going by his first name and also his quoting St Augustine of Hippo in that same essay, one would have thought that Igbokwe is a Christian who should believe in the power of God to save any man or even rescue any situation no matter how bad it is! To limit God’s power to save any man is a sin of despair, and this is the same sin that Judas Iscariot committed as he hung himself on a tree to die having lost hope in the saving powers of Christ. Coincidentally, Joe Igbokwe and Judas Iscariot are birds of the same feather, they collect mere “thirty pieces of silver” to sell out and have good men condemned publicly. While Judas Iscariot did his out of sheer greed, Joe Igbokwe is doing his out of both greed and hunger!
Furthermore and contrary to Igbokwe’s submission that Femi Fani-Kayode left the APC to become Director of Media & Publicity of the PDP Campaign Organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode actually left the APC not based on any ambition but based on very strong personal principles and convictions. As an insider and contrary to his expectations, Fani-Kayode saw the alarming and inexplicable tacit support being given members of Boko Haram through the actions and statements of a majority of the most powerful leaders of APC; evidence of this is what we are witnessing today in the daily killings of Nigerians like never before by the insurgents. Once he noticed this, Femi had no option but to leave and went back to PDP. He could not imagine himself to be dining and wining with people who see everything wrong in President Jonathan’s clampdown on the terrorists. He simply walked away. People like Joe Igbokwe lack such courage since they have been perpetually tied to the hypnotizing strings and inordinate love of money of a certain godfather.
In order to further promote hate against Fani-Kayode, Joe Igbokwe deliberately tried to bring to memory an issue that has since been settled by trying to remind Nigerians of what Fani-Kayode said and did not say against Ndigbo. The man has since expressed his happiness at being at peace with Ndigbo after some disagreements which is normal in pluralistic societies of our nature even in the most advanced countries like the United States of America. Femi Fani-Kayode had said this of Ndigbo as far back as November 20, 2014, on his facebook page: “The Igbo are truly amazing people and I am very proud of their sense of pride in their language, their culture, their history and their noble and illustrious heritage. We have put the issue of the Igbo/Yoruba debate behind us now and thankfully I am now at peace with my Igbo brothers and sisters again. I give thanks to God.”
Apart from this touching gesture, how many Joe Igbokwe’s stood for his people, the Igbo, against the unprovoked threat of the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu, when he threatened them with drowning in the lagoon should they not vote for his preferred candidates in the April 2015 elections? It took brothers from distant lands like Femi Fani-Kayode whom Joe Igbokwe is today wickedly accusing of bearing anti-Igbo sentiments to stand the Oba face to face, eyeball to eyeball and called him to order. Hear Fani-Kayode: “The Oba of Lagos’ threat against the Igbo in Lagos… that if they don’t vote for Ambode they should be ready to perish in the lagoon is ominous and unacceptable” (Femi Fani-Kayode facebook page, April 6, 2015). That is the voice of a gentle volcano speaking for the oppressed people in a distant land.
On the heels of the transfer of Boko Haram prisoners to Ekwulobia prison in Anambra State, Fani-Kayode took to his facebook page on July 7, 2015, to condemn the transfer describing it, and rightly so, as an attempt by the present administration to “spread the word” to the South-East.
Joe Igbokwe has never raised a voice against the injustices done to Ndigbo and upon that he vilifies those who from distant lands summon the courage to speak up for the people simply because ohun ti won fe je, ko je ki won gbon (what they want to eat has blocked their senses).
- Jude C. Ndukwe