There is something strikingly amusing about some Nigerian leaders. They regale in oddities; celebrate the profane and seek to stamp the seal of illegalities all the times. Most recently, Nigerians have been forced to contend with too many of such characters; but two of them are really outstanding in Nigeria’s hall of perfidy.
All dais point to the incumbent Ekiti state Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose and the former Aviation minister, Chief Femi-Fani Kayode (FFK). They are two of a kind and share too many things in common; notwithstanding some equally striking dissimilarities.
Both are supposedly of Yoruba descent; except FFK whom the Yorubas are contesting his ancestry. They claim he is man whose parents aboard a slave sheep from Sierra Leone were freed somewhere in Lagos when it berthed to load more slaves in Badagry for Europe. His parents were feted with the traditional Yoruba hospitality, rehabilitated; refused to go back to their fatherland of torment and eventually settled in the Southwest and begot FFK.
Fayose also differs from FFK. The Governor claims he is a Pastor and seer of the future. So, he knows exactly when Nigeria would kiss the doom finally or starve his Ekiti people to blame President of Nigeria. But FFK lacks such powers, at least, on this score, he does not pretend to possess it.
The duo also have touty character. They have the same inclination of acting like rogues; they speak before thinking and keep currying public support for odious actions even when the public resist them. They are soulless and inhuman. They have lost the nerve and the touch of human kindness. What is fair to them, must be fair to all and conversely, what is unfair to them means Nigeria must be brought to its knees.
They have a penchant for sycophancy and loquaciousness; but in their context, they don’t even recruit others to do it at their behest. They execute the job personally, through direct labour. So, Fayose praises himself as the best governor and “miracle” that would ever rule Ekiti state. FFK says, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration solved all the problems of Nigeria. He was Jonathan campaign spokesman in 2015 and still pained that his boss lost it all.
When President Buhari secured the first release of 21 Chibok Schoolgirls Boko Haram insurgents abducted in 2014 during the reign of ex-President Jonathan, the Ekiti State's Governor Fayose said it’s “a diversionary tactic orchestrated by President Muhammadu Buhari administration.” He repeated the same thing when another batch of 82 Chibok girls secured their freedom through negotiation last week. It is the most accurate example of a man who reasons with his fingers, instead of the brain.
But the families of the release Chibok girls are happy and Nigerians are celebrating their release. A thoughtful man would have advised his alter ego, former President Jonathan to also employ this “diversionary tactic,” to pleasantly shock Nigerians by securing freedom for the Chibok girls. But then, he had not yet counted his fingers, up to the fifth one, so he advised nothing.
And the biggest of their shared traits! They both have a competitive passion for sleaze money. Ekiti state workers are dying under the yoke of months of unpaid salaries. Fayose has allegedly embezzled billions of naira in bail-out funds sent to the state to offset outstanding salary bills of workers and pensioners. He does not give a damn, like his former boss Jonathan.
And under FFK as Aviation minister, plane crashes in Nigeria, resulting in mass deaths were more rampant than road motor accidents. It was because he allegedly embezzled funds voted to improve facilities at the nation’s airports.
While Boko Haram terrorists were daily killing and abducting Nigerians in the Northeast and the government of the day secured over $2.1 billion to procure arms to equip the Nigerian military to effectively battle insurgents, the duo allegedly embezzled a chunk of the money for electoral purposes. The action caused avoidable mass deaths and among the dead, were their kinsmen; it caused destructions and social dislocations of a terrifying magnitude.
These are the actions of serving or former leaders of Nigeria amply typified by Fayose and FFK, who love Nigerian people so greatly and their country, Nigeria more than anyone else. Sadly, while FFK is facing trial in court for his alleged crimes against the masses and the Nigerian state; Fayose is hoed -up in the protective shield of Ekiti State Government House, with the garments of immunity, where he has reduced everybody in his state to the status of a dog.
Unfortunately, the likes of Fayose and FFK are in thousands in Nigeria. They have occupied Nigeria like the commercial activists and NGOs all over the country. They manipulate themselves into positions of leadership and instead of repenting; they explore new frontiers on how to consolidate the dubious hold on the people and Nigeria. It is exactly what Fayose is doing to Ekiti people. He has frightened all institutions and muzzled every voice of dissention in his state. He attacks security agents proudly and prevents them from performing their lawful duties. He talks, acts and sleeps plotting anarchy on Nigeria.
Yet, in all these oddities, which pass for the first identity of Fayose, when his friend and artificialized kinsman, FFK hosted him in Abuja early 2017, the former Aviation minister described Fayose as “… a man who has the heart of a warrior and a lion. It was an honor and a privilege to spend the afternoon with him in our home today. I love this man with all my heart and he is doing great things for both Ekiti state and Nigeria.”
It is now easy to discern why the two of them are tied together like the proverbial birds of the same feathers, frolicking together in infamy.
But Nigerians ask just one favour from these two gentlemen touts. Everyone knows corruption is not peculiar to Nigeria. It happens all over and in all nations of the world. But the entrenched, endemic and mindless looting of Nigeria has caused the multifaceted problems which have assailed Nigeria today. If truly they are patriotic as they preach, they should have pity on the masses like President Muhammadu Buhari.
In other climes, patriotic citizens of any country, like the likes of Fayose and FFK are claiming belatedly, who are caught pilfering with national resources’, instantly return the loot quietly and seek for forgiveness from the country men and women they have wronged. They do not climb rooftops or shout halleluiah and overstretch the wheels of the judiciary in arguing about some insane innocence.
This is more honourable and patriotic. Nigeria needs this money in the custody of these alleged looters to turn around the crippling poverty all over the nation and put smiles on the faces of families. Some Nigerians, who indulged in this odious act by induction, mistake, influence or whatever means and have been figured out, have returned this loot. And they were asked to “Go and sin no more.”
Why is “patriotic” Fayose, FFK and the likes everywhere unwilling to abide by this simple creed, by doing the needful? Is this the love for one’s country they preach everywhere and see only the failures in others? This is a plea to them; “Please, return Nigeria’s looted money.” This country needs the money.
It is immoral for anyone to steal from public pot and refuse to return the theft funds when caught, especially as the likes of Fayose and FFK are doing. It is not an issue of grandstanding. The case of Fayose is worse because as a Pastor, he should know God forbids stealing or conversion of another man’s property. He also knows and mounts the podium in worship centers, preaching to others the infinite mercies of God to forgive. So, why the phobia?
Dear Fayose, FFK and others, you must know that in God’s eyes, no one is too dirty or sinful to repent. And penitence is not even tied to time. At any moment you decide to observe the rites of penitence, God forgives you. And atoning for your sins especially against God’s children endears you closer to Him.
Please let Nigerians know how much you pilfered,( to use a mild word) in the Dasukigate arms procurement fund scandal or largess and what you are willing to refund and the negotiations’ would continue from there.
It shall be to your eternal joy of reconciliation with Nigerian masses to make haste while the sun shines, as patriotic Nigerians by acting positively to this special plea. Other looters of Nigeria can also explore this option in order to free themselves and decongest the judicial system as well as other agencies consigned to fighting corruption. This is the plea and passionate cry of the Nigerian masses.
Ola is a public affairs commentator and contributed this piece from Oshodi, Lagos.