Opinion : Fani-Kayode, Oluwo and the limit of eccentricity


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By Semiu Okanlawon

Let me confess first! I have written this piece much against the counsel of well-meaning individuals who believe that Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, the loquacious controversial lawyer is better ignored anytime he throws all cautions to the wind as he is no longer worth the attention of right-thinking people. I rarely do this but I needed to disobey this time!

By his outlandish claims and ill-chosen diction, I doubt if anyone was taken aback few days ago when the former Aviation Minister released his diatribe against President Muhammad Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Governor Rauf Aregbesola all in his struggle to castigate the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba AbdulRashid Adewale Akanbi.

Why? The fact is that since he came into the consciousness of Nigerians as an adult child of the First Republic politician, the late Remi Fani-Kayode (a.k.a Fani-Power), the circumstances of his appearance has been tainted by one sordid tale or the other. Weird in his comments, unguarded in his conducts, Fani-Kayode is your typical, apt illustration of delinquency that has defied remedies.

One would have thought that when the media captured Oluwo the way they did, and the social media went on flame; reporting him to have dumped his Obaship to transmute into an Emir, Fani-Kayode would have taken the monarch head-on to castigate him even if he could not wait to be sure of the veracity of the media reports and what exactly the monarch said.

In his ill-conceived write-up, Fani-Kayode sought to paint President Buhari, Vice President Osinbajo, Asiwaju Tinubu and Ogbeni Aregbesola, all in bad light obviously to advance his well-known hate for these leaders.

He dubiously wrote: This is the handiwork of Bola Tinubu, Rauf Aregbesola, Muhammadu Buhari, Yemi Osinbajo and all the other Caliphate-craving and Fulani-loving Yoruba traitors who have sold their souls to the devil and mortgaged the future and heritage of the Yoruba to the Fulani.

It was even amply clear that Oba Akanbi’s words at a chieftaincy installation ceremony merely provided Fani-Kayode an impetus to launch fresh vitriols on those he considers greatest obstacles to his relevance either in the South-West of Nigeria or even the country as a whole.

Nigerians have endured a number of underserved appointments! To think that this was a minister whose mandate in the Ministry of Aviation was to serve the interests of all Nigerians makes one shudder! I preach Nigeria; Fani-Kayode can decide to be an agent of balkanization of the Nigerian project. But shouldn’t there be a limit to eccentricity?

By his vituperations, he, a lawyer, has cast upon himself series of evidential burden which he obviously cannot prove. It was indeed needless for him to have hidden behind the shadow of a little known Adeyinka Grandson, whose Facebook postings he tried to quote to give vent to his blatant lies and irrational conclusions.

In his disillusioned outbursts, he referred to Oluwo as a “gutless and treacherous bastard.” This is not only libellious but simultaneously casting aspersions on the legitimacy of the monarch.

I have been made to understand by reliable legal minds that legitimacy, as taught in conflict of laws, is not only a question of law but of fact. He needs to prove this issue of legitimacy or otherwise of Oluwo before the courts of public opinion and law; failure for which he risks the wrath of the law.

But there are other spurious allegations which he has the burden to prove. His embellishments of his allegations with unimaginable fabrications leave a sour taste in the mouths of right-thinking people.

How do you prove claims of oil bloc as the reason for Oluwo’s mere ceremonial Islamic attire at an Islamic occasion? Referring to Oluwo as Islamofascist betrays Fani-Kayode’s seeming poor understanding of both Islam and fascism.

Since he does not know, fascism has as part of its elements coercion, almost leaning towards violence in the interpretation of some scholars of political science and it is traceable to Benito Mussolini of Italy. The concept evolved in 1919 and it is left to Fani-Kayode to convince Nigerians where the nexus lies here. Fascism preaches force; Islam preaches voluntary submission.

The evidential burden which the writer must discharge now is that assuming without conceding to the veracity of his claim that Oluwo had dropped Obaship title for Emirate designation, how can that change of nomenclature accommodate the concept of fascism which he has placed heavy reliance on in his assertions?

Is it not a warning in legal drafting class at the Nigerian Law School which I believe Fani-Kayode supposedly passed through that a lawyer shall make dictionary (Yes! English dictionary) his companion while writing? If he had heeded that simple training, he would not have arrogated to himself the monopoly of semantics.

And since it is a cardinal principle of Nigerian jurisprudence that he who asserts must prove, Fani-Kayode has put himself in the vortex of a legal conundrum which has very high capacity to consume him.

Rather than rail against President Buhari, Prof Osinbajo, Asiwaju Tinubu and Ogbeni Aregbesola over how Oba Akanbi emerged the Oluwo of Iwo, a more circumspect inquirer and commentator would want to be more diligent seeking information from necessary sources. The Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs of Osun could have been of immense assistance to our former minister. This could have given the indisputable process through which Oba Akanbi was crowned the 16th monarch of the ancient city and saved him the odium of this nature.

For some time, Oluwo has been calling for unity among Nigerians including their royal fathers. Assuming without conceding that Oluwo has some seemingly weird and unconventional ideas and concepts about how that unity could be achieved, that should only call for moderations and suggestions by some deep-thinking individuals and not recourse to some rascally call for violence against a traditional institution. Should Oluwo deserve the prescriptions by Fani-Kayode such as“…drag him out of the palace, strip him naked, shave off his hair and beard and send him out of Iwo, and indeed Yorubaland, for ten years of exile,” Fani-Kayode should have, long ago, been made a barbecue for the crimes of alleged looting for which he has been dragged from one court to another since he left office as Aviation Minister or even as Campaign Director in the Goodluck Jonathan presidential campaign committee.

A man with multiple cases of looting in all the public offices he had held simply has lost moral rights to have a say in matters of this nature.

. Semiu Okanlawon, an indigene of Iwo, is also Special Adviser, Ministry of Information and Strategy, State of Osun.


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