Thursday, April 23, 2020 9:37 am
By Adeola Agoro
Let me start by saying that I’ve met Chief Femi Fani-Kayode only once or twice. I could remember vividly that our meeting, at least the first time was totally unplanned by any of us.
A brother and colleague called him to say he wanted to visit him. Femi Fani-Kayode said he was in bed already but since it was the desire of my colleague to visit him, he couldn’t refuse that. It was around 8.45pm or so.
The Femi Fani-Kayode that hosted us was a very relaxed and charming man. He personally served us tea and unsettled himself to make us comfortable.
That was in 2015, shortly after his party lost the Presidential election where he played a major role.
So naturally, our discussions centred on politics but it moved from religion to society and family structures as it affects our environment.
No doubt Femi Fani-Kayode struck me as a very interesting man. And from my own perceptives, he is a man blessed with enormous gifts of brilliance and intelligence and common sense. Those are things you cannot take away from him.
If he is as brilliant and intelligent as I think he is and he has common sense, it would be totally against his nature to turn his back on friendship of many years all because he does not belong to the same political class as that person.
Late Mallam Abba Kyari must have been different things to many people based on their experiences with him.
To Femi Fani-Kayode, Abba Kyari was exactly how he described him. Shikena!
In the art class in St. Teresa’s College, Ibadan, our Fine-Art teacher, Mr. Wale Adetubereu, (now known as Pastor Wale Nelson Adetuberu) would put an object in the middle, in front of the classtoom and ask tiu to draw.
The rule was to draw the object from the angle you were seeing it from. Yiu were not to make assumptions or draw what was in your head. You were to take it and draw exactly how it appeared to you.
It turned out that what somebody sitting close to the object drew would be different from what those in the middle or back saw. We all had different paintings and shades of the same object.
That explains Femi Fani-Kayode’s point of view in describing a man he once shared office with. Most likely, Abba Kyari and Femi Fani-Kayode shared more than an office together. They would naturally have shared loads of laughter and good memories together.
So, all those things would be dusted into the dustbin of life just because some people somewhere who never met the loathed Abba Kyari didn’t feel it was right for Femi Fani-Kayode to eulogise his friend!
Did he benefit anything from Abba Kyari? That would be his own cup of tea. I wouldn’t know which friend would refuse favours from another friend if it came at a time it was needed.
Femi Fani-Kayode has been one of the loudest voices against the government of President Buhari. And the truth is that he’s not about to back off.
Abba Kyari was described as the best of the best by President Buhati when the latter died. That shows how much of an insider-insider Kyari was.
What could then be the connection between a Fani-Kayode who wouldn’t see anything good in the government of Buhari, yet he would describe Kyari in such lofty terms knowing how much of the government Kyari represented?
The answer – Kyari was an individual who was a friend to Fani-Kayode. The government he represented was an entity. Two distinct things.
In politics, those who will talk will talk no matter how well you know how to play your games.
Let’s flip things a little. If Femi Fani-Kayode had ignored Abba Kyari while alive and in death, those who would talk about him being a bad friend would have opened their mouths to talk.
A man came out to mourn his friend and he became a sinner. Better to remain a sinner to those who are not relevant to him than to fail his friend in death.
Why didn’t he come out to praise Abba Kyari when he was alive to out things right? That would have been against the principles he stood for and which he still stands for.
If after one evening of having tea with Femi Fani-Kayode, I took away a good impression about him. I wonder how much of several good things Fani-Kayode would remember about his friend former colleague.
People should sit down and balance their views before coming out to share them. Except anybody has personal beef to settle with Femi Fani-Kayode, I haven’t seen where he went wrong here.
May the souls of those departed and those alive but restless rest in peace.
-Adeola Agoro, journalist, writer and businesswoman, writes from Abuja