- APC’s Bello: ‘Fani-Kayode has joined our party in good faith’
- ‘I have not left the PDP’, Says Fani-Kayode
By Abiola Olawale
Kogi State Governor, Yayaha Bello announced on Wednesday that a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode has dumped the oppostion’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
But the announcement by Bello has become a subject of drama as Fani-Kayode distanced himself from the rumoured defection in a reaction that followed the claim made by the Kogi Governor.
On Facebook, Fani-Kayode wrote: “Though we have had meetings across party lines and we are in a season of political consultation I have not left the PDP.”
He had met with Bello and Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni, Monday, a meeting which fuelled the defection rumours.
Now, both the APC and PDP have claimed that the former aviation minister is a member of their party.
While Governor Bello of APC has announced Fani-Kayode’s membership of the ruling party, the PDP said the critic remains its member.
Bello who made the announcement at Okene where he revalidated his APC membership, said the former aviation minister has now joined the ruling party in order to make contributions to the party in view of the upcoming 2023 general elections.
In his words, “Our brother and friend, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has joined our party in good faith. He is joining our party to come and add his own positive energy and make contribution into ensuring that APC is a party to beat. Remember that Chief Femi Fani-Kayode was a foundation member of this great party. Due to misunderstanding, he decided to port elsewhere…now he has decided to join our party, approached me, and by the mandate given to me by the party, I must not segregate or discriminate against any individual. He had a different opinion about the party (APC) and the government before,” he has now, “seen the light, the reality and the need to join the All Progressives Congress.”
However, a chieftain of the PDP, in the Southwest, Honourable Ajala Somide referred to the alleged defection of Fani-Kayode to APC as a fairytale.
He told newsmen that “I can confidently tell you that Chief Femi Fani-Kayode is still in the PDP. He remains a loyal member and has not defected to the ruling party. Why would he defect to the APC? What has APC got to offer him? He will not defect to the ruling party. He remains committed to the values of the PDP. Has he spoken to anyone that he has defected? Of course no. As a leader and statesman, he is free to associate himself with other leaders in the country across religion and party lines to build and move the country forward. Politics should not make one an enemy of another simply because they don’t belong to the same party.”
The former aviation minister, while reacting to the speculations that arose from his meeting with some APC leaders had tweeted, “Despite the obvious benefits and wisdom in this noble initiative, it amazes me that some people should feel that it is wrong for me to sit with other leaders in the country to discuss issues which touch and concern the national cohesion, future and stability of our country. This is a time in which we must set all our differences aside, build bridges and come together as one lest our country drifts into fratricidal butchery and civil war. It is right and proper for us to talk and to attempt to join hands across political, religious and regional lines to save Nigeria. The fact that I am in talks with leaders from a cross-section of political parties, including the ruling party, does not in any way derogate from this and does not mean that I will ever change those views.”
The news of Fani-Kayode’s purported defection to the APC has drawn harsh condemnation from some leaders of the party, including the Progressive Governor’s Forum (PGF).
The PGF had in a statement described the move as a reward for “scandalous behaviour,” as Fani-Kayode has been one of the fiercest critics of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and his party.
Fani-Kayode had in 2019, while debunking the speculation of him joining the APC, said he would rather die than join APC.
In one old tweet pulled out of the Twitter’s archive, he said: “The suggestion that I 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 I would rather die than join a filthy, rat-infested sinking ship like the Almajiri Peoples Congress (APC).”