STATE governors from Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have warned that they will not accept former aviation minister Chief Femi Fani-Kayode into their midst amid signs that he plans to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A highly flambouyant character, Chief Fani-Kayode served as aviation minister during the last year of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration and since then has been a very vocal and visible member of the PDP. A son of the former deputy premier of the old Western Region, Chief Remilekun Fani-Kayode was the spokesman for the PDP during the 2015 general elections, during which he attacked the APC relentlessly.
With the PDP being in opposition, however, Chief Fani-Kayode has been out of government and there are indications that he plans to declare for the APC soon in the hope of getting an appointment. Earlier this week, he met with Governors Mai Mala Buni and Yahaya Bello of Yobe and Kogi states, in what was seen as finalising a defection plan.
Governor Buni is the caretaker chairman of the APC and the high profile meeting has generated passionate discussion in Nigerian political circles. However, Salihu Lukman, the director-general of the Progressives Governors Forum, said that Chief Fani-Kayode would not be welcome into the party.
Mr Lukman said: “Do we want to reduce our party into one in which everybody is welcome? Can we for instance in any way or form contemplate having an Nnamdi Kanu or Abubakar Shekau as a member?
“At this rate, Nigerians will just wake and see some of our leaders presenting Mr Fani-Kayode to President Buhari as a new member of our party. Although, we can confidently argue that President Buhari will not approve such deranged possibility, it is important to caution that such consideration will be stretching the trust of party members beyond acceptable limits.”
Chief Fani-Kayode had earlier claimed his meeting with the APC chieftains was to discuss national issues and party politics. However, he also noted that Nigerians must set aside their differences because the country was heading towards a civil war.
However, Mr Lukman added: “For our leaders to associate themselves with Fani-Kayode is simply rewarding scandalous behaviour. Fani-Kayode has fabricated stories, distorted, insulted and damaged information about our party and our leaders and the elementary rule of decency would require some good distance between our leaders and such a person.
“Not even the ward leaders where he is located should be associated with him except for reasons of family ties. By the way, the caretaker committee of our party should avoid a situation whereby it takes a decision on issues that are very weighty without consultations and on no account should anyone with the kind of baggage of Mr Fani-Kayode be invited to join the party without clearance from a statutory structure of the party.”