Disowned by APC, ex-Minister Fani-Kayode rejoins PDP
Hours after the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, disowned him, Femi Fani-Kayode, a former aviation minister, has announced his return to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which he left a year ago.
Mr. Fani-Kayode told PREMIUM TIMES Monday afternoon he was withdrawing his sympathy for the APC and rejoining the PDP with immediate effect.
He said his decision was based on APC’s intolerance of divergent views, “sympathy for Boko Haram and the insistence of its leadership to put up a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket in the forthcoming Nigerian presidential elections”.
The former minister said he was now comfortable returning to the PDP since its former chairman, Bamanga Tukur, who he said demonstrated sympathy for the extremist Boko Haram sect, had been removed.
“I have decided to ensure that I assist the PDP to become the party that I’ve always believed they could be,” he said.
Mr Fani-Kayode officially left the PDP May last year after declaring it had lost the respect and confidence of of its members and was “irredeemable”.
He also cited his doubt about the PDP’s sincerity in delivering good governance to Nigerians, the autocracy of its decision making body and the rascality of President Goodluck Jonathan in a political feud with the Rivers state governor, Rotimi Amaechi.
He said he left the PDP to be “with those that my spirit has been with long ago” in his declaration for the APC in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital.
Mr. Fani-Kayode’s heart however appears to have left the APC months ago when he wrote a two-part article criticizing the APC for allegedly insisting on a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
In addition to the new leadership of the PDP, Mr. Fani-Kayode said his kinsmen also helped persuade him to return.
“And they are far more welcoming and accommodating, and tolerant of dissenting opinions more than the APC,” he said.
Shortly after be began attacking the APC over its potential presidential candidates, Mr. Fani-Kayode held a secret meeting with President Jonathan, but said the president did not help to persuade him into returning to the PDP.
“This decision I have made has nothing to do with a discussion I had with anybody inside the (Aso Rock) Villa,” he said.
“PDP is not a Haramite party,” Mr. Fani-Kayode said, alluding to his claims that APC nurses a soft spot for the dreaded Boko Haram sect and its inherent desire to make Nigeria a religious state.
He said a major reason he left the PDP in the first instance was the party’s former chairman’s declaration that tBoko Haram sect was fighting for justice.
He said the argument by two key members of the APC – the National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, and one of the party’s national leaders, Muhammadu Buhari — that Boko Haram members should be treated like Niger Delta militants and offered amnesty laid the foundation for his disagreements with the party.
“I cannot be in a party which has even if it is ten haramites,” he said. “So I am going back to where I came from. Even if I had issues with the PDP and the government, we will try our best to join our hands together to make it a better place and make it a PDP we once wanted it to be.”
He is not one of us
The APC had told PREMIUM TIMES exclusively that Mr. Fani-Kayode was never its member despite parading himself as such.
The party suggested that the former minister did not have a membership card qualifying him as a member of the party.
The interim National Publicity of the APC, Lai Mohammed, said the party could not therefore take punitive measure against the former minister for repeatedly deriding the platform and flirting with President Jonathan.
He faulted this newspaper for describing Mr. Fani-Kayode as a senior member of the party and demanded to know where he registered as a member.
Mr. Mohammed said, “Femi Fani-Kayode is not a senior member of my party. Where did he register as a member of the APC and what qualify him to be a senior member of my party?” the APC spokesperson said.
“People came to join our party and in politics, you don’t push everybody away. He is a former Minister and has what I can call name recognition, and when he came to associate with our party, all well and good. But what role or specific office was he given? Which meeting of the organ of the party has he ever attended?
“Fani-Kayode has access to many people; he has access to me, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu or perhaps even General Muhammadu Buhari or Bisi Akande, but that does not make him a senior member of the party.”
“You don’t seem to understand what I am saying. This man has no locus standi in my party, so what am I going to sanction? No Locus!”