Fani-Kayode Should Shut Up…!

by Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku

I cannot remember at any time in my life as a writer and columnist that I have gotten myself involved in an adhominiem. I do not do it, and that is because I know from my training that an adhominiem is a fundamental flaw in the reasoning process. In fact, an adhominiem is an unforgivable fallacy, and the reason why it is a fallacy is because the apologist usually abandons the issues and takes on the person, his flaws and defects. Whenever the writer abandons the issues and turns his focus on the person, the personality of the person or his tribe and ethnicity, he ceases to be an intellectual. Instead he tumbles from the heights of intellectual respect and decorum to the nadir of cerebral inconsistency and irrelevance.

But I must do so now and write this adhominiem, not just so that I should tumble from any perceived intellectual height but just so because I need to address myself fully to the insensitivity and incitement that a certain Fani- Kayode so-called is peddling around, in the name of a defense of the expulsion of the Ibos from Lagos. I have read two of his very incendiary articles, and believe me I ‘m surprised that all of the very cerebral Ibos around are yet to take him to the cleaners for the half-truths and innuendos that he has peddled around as the ratio for expelling Nigerians from their own land. And yes, the Ibo own Lagos as much as any Yoruba or Hausa or Isoko or whatever tribe for that matter irrespective of the historical rascality to which Fai-Kayode embarked upon. And the Yoruba own Abakaliki, Maiduguri, or Benin City as much as anybody whose claim is to any of these cities.

Let me take the very intelligent and master historian Fani Kayode on a historical journey as well and as much as he has taken everyone. If he remembers his history very well, he would just come to realize that the reason why Adolf Hitler killed more than three million Jews is no different from the reasons he (Fani-Kayode) has adduced as apology for the deportation of the Ibos from Lagos, and not the reasons that the Lagos state Government gave for the deportation of the Ibos from Lagos state. Adolf Hitler was looking for a way to curry the favour of his people, and there was no way he could do that if there was no scapegoat to hold responsible for the economic depression that World War 1 had precipitated. What put the Jews in that unfortunate position to be killed, their teeth and nails pulled out and boiled to grow the German economy was not because they were the harbingers of that economic depressive state of the Germany of that time, no. What put them in that unfortunate position was that in spite of that terrible state of the German economy, they still thrived, much to the consternation of the Germans.

And today as well, the conditions for the Jews of that time as well as for the present day Ibo man in Nigeria are no different. The Ibos of Nigeria are a doughty people whether we all like it or not. Where no man would survive, they would succeed to the extent that they are to be found anywhere. It is because of the ability of the Ibo man to make pecuniary and personal benefits from a hopeless situation that has made us realize that if you are where you are, and you don’t find an Ibo man there, you had better pack up and leave. And I thought that it would be a Fani-Kayode, with all of his education in a capitalist West, with all his romantic relationships with Ibo women and with all of his intellectual bravado that should have realized that ours is a Federal and capitalist state that makes no distinction on citizenship based on tribe, tongue and township. And I thought that with all of his education, and knowledge of history, and ‘propaganda of truth’, that Fani-Kayode would somehow use these knowledges to somehow berate the Lagos state government for establishing a precedent that any West African country, no matter how less endowed, would soon follow. I was thinking that instead of engaging in that unnecessary vituperation against the Ibo, that he would have suggested ways and means of trying to bridge the gaps of poverty and tribe and tongue that continue to assail us and breed the mosquitoes of division and ethnicity and nepotism. I was thinking that a Fani-Kayode should know that life is about harnessing the potentials that are available to you as an individual no matter where you live, and to flaunt the fruits of your endeavours in the face of your contemporaries if you so please and deem. Isn’t that what the rest of the world, and in particular, the places where Fani-Kayode has lived and has been educated do – that you can dazzle people with your intellect and baffle them with your bullshit if you so desire?

Rather, he went to great lengths to reopen the old wounds that we daily work hard at to forget about and heal. The Lagos state government did not go the hog to cite tribe and tongue as part of the reasons why it deported those people from Lagos and I cannot remember at any time that Kayode was either employed to PR for the Yorubas or for the Lagos state government. THE GOVERNMENT said it was finding it difficult to cope with the number of people who daily throng the city and do not leave, thereby placing a huge burden it could no longer bear. It also said that it did what it did after due consultations with the governors of the states of the affected persons. And the next thing we began to hear from Kayode was venom, ire and gall at the legitimate responses from people who feel that their (L)egos and their sensibilities and senses of belonging have been trampled upon by the decision of the Lagos state government. The rubbish that Fani-Kayode spewed out in his essays set us all on fire, making us wonder whether or not the youngster or us are insane: he actually said so, that the Ibos are catalysts of domination and because of that they must be sent packing irrespective of the fact that without their contribution to a state like Lagos, that state would likely shut down. He also went to great lengths to justify the pogroms that led to the Nigerian civil war, a war he did not fight, and a war that was precipitated mostly on the same precepts that led to the extermination of the Jews in Hitler’s Germany. It was an unfortunate thing to have done. Take a listen Fani, if a people live among others and they strive harder than the people they live among, history and religion affirm that they become a source of worry for the effete and effeminate-minded ones in that environment. We should not be at pains to remember the lot of the Jews in the land of Egypt, to the extent that the more they were oppressed, the Bible says that the more they made progress as a people.

But that should not be the case here where we continually oppress the Ibos, and I have said so in one of my unpublished articles, WHEN WILL THE IBO BECOME PRESIDENT? My point in that unpublished article, which I can make available to you, is that a lot of people believe that if the Ibo become president, they will sell Nigeria to the highest bidder. Those people also believe that if the Ibo ever become president, judging from their antecedents, they would likely tend to want to plunge us into another war of attrition and take vengeance on what the rest of Nigeria exacted on them during the Civil war. And to all of these, I say they are rubbish and bunkum. As far as I am concerned, it is the Ibo man we need at the helm of affairs today, and I say this with all senses of responsibility because all the other tribes and tongues that have ever ruled us as Nigeria, have either sold us indirectly, compromised our collective patrimony, or have tolerated all of those things that led us to a civil war in the first place. Question: are the Ibos the ones bombing churches and killing Southerners at whim because they are not president? Are the Ibos the ones in control of the Judiciary, customs, EFCC, police, the central bank of Nigeria, NEMA, the Senate, the House of Reps and key government parastatals? If they are not, how else can we ever say we are

Nigerians when the mantle of leadership rests and fall on only some people in this same Nigeria? What Nigeria needs now is one Ibo man who would vigorously harness and market our potential in much the same way as the ordinary Ibo man on the street would assert and market his goods. If that happens, you would find out that instead of us getting envious of the gragra character of the Ibo man in business, the economy and life, it would be the other way round where all other countries would be looking for ways to copy our success much the same way we all try to emulate the Ibo in their drive to succeed.

And if I must say it here, rather than boost his image as a nationalist and defender of his race, Fani- Kayode has become a rotund and grotesque fanny that has been thoroughly diminished both in stature and personality in this unnecessary drivel of his. He eloquently confirms a recent statement by Olusegun Obasanjo, that the younger generation of Nigerian leaders have failed, not just because a lot of us have been involved in one act of graft and sleaze, but because our thinking and our orientation is mostly geared to the base and to the social collective as against the higher principles of nationality and nationhood that we as the younger people should espouse. This, in my estimation is a shame, a big shame that Fani- Kayode fell right down the ladder that once positioned him as a leader of the future in his apology for his ethnic and geographical posture as against the travails of his brother the Ibo man. And I know that circumspect watchers of the Yoruba political landscape know that his stand in fact does compromises the chances of ever building a bridge of compromise across the divide, and it does not represent the interest of the Yoruba, and that that stance of his in fact diminishes the Yoruba as a race of people without qualms at selling off their own people.

So where does Fani-Kayode go from here? How should Fani-Kayode correct this faux-pas of his? First I recommend that he should keep his mouth shut and let the embers of his vituperations die down very well. Next, he should do an article condemning what the Abia State government did some time ago when it began a purge of non-Ibos, even though married to Ibos, in the employment of the Abia state government. That I think would set him up as a defender of Nigerian rights rather than a defender of sectional interests and passions. I think the next thing he would do to assuage the fray in the nerves now, is not to throw a challenge to all Ibos, to invite them to do an intellectual discourse on the merits or otherwise of his indiscretion. He should look for ways of propounding the Swiss example at governance and co-existence. Switzerland, like Nigeria, is a country made up of all kinds of people: the French, the Germans, the English, and etcetera. What they do is not to promote these sectional interests but create a situation where everybody has a shot at running the affairs of Switzerland.

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