Femi Fani-Kayode and the Search for a New PDP – Jude Ndukwe


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The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was not just the party in power for 16 years; it was the party that had the onerous challenge of steering the nation’s then nascent and fledgling democracy into maturity and stability. Just like any growth process, the party, no doubt, made some mistakes but the good thing is that these mistakes have positioned the country for a better understanding of democratic practices as obtainable in other more advanced climes and older democracies.

Kudos must also be given to the party for having kept the nation together despite the daunting security challenges from all parts of the country that threatened to tear the nation apart since 1999.  After the teething problems, our democracy is now stable. The freedom of citizens was guaranteed. Political assassinations that were an inheritance of the military era were curtailed and Nigeria can now pride herself as one of the great examples of a modern democratic system. This is more so especially as the party made history by gracefully conceding defeat and handing power over to an opposition party when the refusal to do same has been the reason why nations especially in Africa are in endless vicious cycle of turmoil today, leading to the avoidable and unnecessary death of people in their hundreds of thousands.

However, just as PDP had to learn the ropes to stabilise Nigeria post-military era, the party is today in a situation where it has to learn to be an opposition party, something it is not used to. This requires not just political skills and managerial sagacity but also tested and courageous men and women to ensure not only its survival and advancement, but to be an effective, fearless, irrepressible, dependable and defender of the masses under a garrulous and ferocious government whose party is also peopled by tough, vociferous and skillfully slippery politicians.

To match the ruling party, toughness for toughness, skill for skill, and stand them shoulder to shoulder, face to face and eyeball to eyeball, the PDP need a new crop of leaders to serve at the party headquarters and strategically reposition the party for better results, reclaim power at all levels in subsequent elections and deliver to the masses of our great country greater dividends of democracy.

With the APC in power and Muhammadu Buhari as president, common sense dictates that PDP will stand the greatest chance of reclaiming power if they present a strong presidential candidate from the northern part of the country. This is for obvious reasons. As a result, the PDP would do well to zone its national chairmanship position to the South West which has never produced a chairman for the party. This strikes some balance in the sharing of responsibilities among members from various parts of the country.
This is where the candidacy of a man like Chief Femi Fani-Kayode becomes fittingly perfect.

A Cambridge trained lawyer, Femi Fani-Kayode is one politician who has cut an image of fearlessness, doggedness and success for himself having fought many battles on numerous fronts emerging victorious on all. His recent victory in the court is a copious and cogent testament to that. After seven years of travelling that excruciatingly tortuous road paved with thorns, he emerged victorious in the end.
Furthermore, as a former Special Assistant (Public Affairs) to the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, former two-time Minister of the Federal Republic, and Director, Media and Publicity of the PDP Campaign Organisation in the recently concluded elections, Femi has seen it all. He is well experienced, vast, versatile and well connected. Apart from being fearless, He is forthright, astute, focused, amiable and passionate about any cause he sets his mind at achieving.

Before his emergence as the Director, Media and Publicity of the PDP Campaign Organisation in the last election, the PDP had been submerged by a relentless barrage of attacks from the opposition and a large section of the media. They were almost non-existent in both the conventional and social media. Their media and publicity machinery had almost been driven underground and this affected the perception by a large section of the public of former president Goodluck Jonathan and most PDP candidates at different levels going into the election.

But all that changed drastically with the appointment of Fani-Kayode into the PDP campaign structure. Quickly, perceptions changed and the political atmosphere became vibrant. It was no longer a one-man show; FFK as he is fondly called gave the opposition a run for their money. In fact, many hold the notion that FFK was very instrumental to the over 12 million votes eventually garnered by the former president at the last election. He was a shield to the PDP and also an attacking force for them.

His involvement revived the PDP’s publicity machinery and made the last campaigns more competitive. Truthfully, some people still hold the notion that Fani-Kayode fought all of the APC goons and their well-oiled publicity arm relentlessly and almost singlehandedly. This brought some threats to him and put his personal safety at very great risk but he never balks in the face of battle and he did not balk at that one.

True to his character, he once declared as he often does on his facebook wall: “The worst type of people are those that sit on the fence in the most difficult and challenging times. They are unreliable and they are as unstable as water. Woe unto those that rely on such people for they are like a pack of cards: they crumble at the slightest resistance or when faced with the slightest turbulence. It takes courage to be loyal and true, and these are virtues that are often imbued only by royalty and the blue-blooded. I despise the fence-sitter and the coward. I cannot abide faithless men or undiscerning and shallow women,” (Femi Olu-Kayode Facebook page, March 25, 2015).

Such is the mindset of this political giant, and when PDP is faced with a government like that of this present administration and its party, no other person is more qualified to be chairman of the opposition party, the PDP, than Femi Fani-Kayode. He is a man every political party including the APC would love to have in their fold though they may not want to admit it openly.

That is why every well-meaning Nigerian and PDP member would need to call on Chief Femi Fani-Kayode to contest for the chairmanship of the PDP when the time comes. I also join others to strongly urge him to accept the call and do the needful before Nigeria slides further into a state of dictatorship, chaos, anarchy and doom as a result of paralytic opposition to a ruling government with a history of dictatorial tendencies gradually manifesting in the current era.



This article was originally published on Thisday.

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