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OPINION:Buhari, FFK, And The Quality Of Mercy

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Not a small ruckus has been caused by the defection of former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK), from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) last week.

An icing on the cake, or the salt added to injury (depending on which side you are), was his reception at the Presidential Villa by Muhammadu Buhari, father of the nation. The development has been rocking the polity for many days.

FFK is by no means a miscellaneous personality, and whatever he does, or does not do, attracts loads of attention.

He was a founding member of the APC, before he ported back to the PDP. And he did not leave quietly. He ruffled feathers and stirred up the mud. He became a rabid hater of his former party and its members.

Between last week and now, vitriol poured by FFK on anybody with the slightest affinity to APC has been dug up serially. He has said things straight from the gutters, things that the natural man would call unforgivable and unpardonable. Against President Buhari, the first family, Yusuf Buhari whom he wished had died when the latter had an almost fatal bike accident, APC as a party, the government, leaders of the party, groups and individuals. Even this writer has suffered horrid descriptions from FFK in many write-ups.

Yes, he even said he would rather die than return to APC, but last week, he returned—well and alive.

Naturally, a lot of loyal APC members are hopping mad that FFK was readmitted into the party. And not only that, he got back at the highest level. Not at his ward in Ile-Ife, Osun State, but the triumphal entry was at the Presidential Villa, with President Buhari himself as the host.

I understand the umbrage taken against the development by teeming APC supporters. It’s the natural thing to do. But then, having vented spleen, raised dust and almost brought down the roof, the next thing is to isolate the issues dispassionately. With the bile displayed towards President Buhari and his family over the years, how did the man find the grace to have received FFK? How was he convinced? Who did the convincing? What were the extenuating factors? How? When? Why?

By agreeing to the readmission of FFK to APC as the leader of the party, and hosting him at the Villa, President Buhari displayed amazing capacity to forgive, to show mercy, and let bygones be bygones. How many of us can do that? Not many.

Remember William Shakespeare in Merchant of Venice:
“The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blessed him that gives and him that takes…
It is an attribute of God Himself.”

That was what Buhari did to FFK. He showed him mercy, dropping like gentle rain from heaven, when he could have otherwise spat into the sky, collecting the spittle with his own face. Was that not what me and you would have done? Confess. We would have told FFK to go to hell, and stay there. But Buhari didn’t. He displayed an attribute of God: forgiveness.

One of the lies that had been serially told against the President was his alleged unforgiving spirit, a falsehood sold to Nigerians by anti-Buhari forces since the days of military rule. The lie traveled for so long, till it was eventually overtaken by the truth in one day. Nigerians saw through the facade, and elected Buhari as President in 2015. Re-elected him with wider margin in 2019.

I have worked with the President for over six years. And I have seen amazing things in terms of accommodation and capacity to forgive. I have visited him at home many times in the evenings, only to find at dinner table with him people who had been abusing his forefathers on television earlier in the day. This President has a capacity to forgive, and forget. And make peace. That was what he displayed in the case of FFK. Nothing short of divine attribute, which me and you should covet and seek to approximate.

True, the brother of the prodigal son in the Good Book was unhappy, after his sibling had engaged in riotous living, squandered his inheritance, and came back home in penury. And the father received him with glee, and slaughtered the fatted calf in celebration.

The brother was indignant. He accused the father of bad faith, saying he had remained faithful and loyal, and not once did the father give him a goat to kill, and make merry with his friends.

That is the case of the APC members who have been unhappy at the reception given FFK. He did not deserve it, they claim. True. But how many things don’t we deserve, but which eventually come our way? That is the inscrutable nature of God, and we should not begrudge ourselves, or anybody else. How many things have come your way, which you really don’t deserve? But God gave those things to you, nevertheless. Same with FFK.

I think those screaming blue murder and lamenting the injustice and unfairness of it all should hold their peace. They have made their points, and should let things be. Enough! FFK is back, let sleeping dogs lie. He may stay this time round, as he claims to have had a Damascus road experience, which turned Saul to Paul.

Many times, FFK has used unprintable words against me. He has deployed phrases from the nether region against me. But after writing those things, and we met in public places, he would embrace me, calling me his “friend and brother.” I agree, we are brothers, though I should hold giant sized grudges against him. President Buhari has shown us the way . To err is human, to forgive, divine.

And come to think of it. Is it pleasant to swallow one’s vomit? Nah. But that was what FFK did. All those foul words against the President, the APC, the government, many people in government. He has swallowed them. Delicious? By no means. Pueh! You would feel like retching. So, let’s salute the courage of his conviction. It is rare, and not many people would do it.

I welcome FFK back to APC. And I pray it is for an enduring time. I thank President Buhari for showing an astounding large heart. That’s how to be a father. He has confounded all those who peddle lies about him, and the balderdash about not forgiving.

The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven. It has dropped upon FFK. May it always drop on us, for “it blesses him that gives, and him that takes.” Amen, somebody!.

Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

Opinions

OPINION: Lai Mohammed a Liar and a Thief?

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Lai Mohammed’s notoriety as a compulsive and inveterate liar is already secure and unchallengeable, but the normally reticent governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, told ThisDay newspaper yesterday that Lai is also a common thief.

He said Lai literally stole N100 million donated to the governor by an unnamed Igbo businessman to help with his election in 2019.

That’s a pretty grave allegation against a serving minister by a serving governor, particularly one who isn’t known for flippancy and for hogging the limelight. At the time of writing this, Lai hasn’t denied the allegation even after the Peoples Gazette reached out to him for comment.

As I wrote in a June 10, 2017 column titled “Large Lies of Lying Lai Mohammed,” Lai Mohammed’s entire career as a Minister of Information and Culture has been defined by a bewilderingly extravagant fondness for willful and easily falsifiable lies. His first name doesn’t just share an uncanny phonemic kinship with “lie”; he actually embodies lies in the most audaciously disreputable way imaginable.

Now that we now know that in addition to his well-known lies, he is also an unsophisticated and conscienceless thief, I think he should have been named “Lateef,” which would have given cartoonists and comedians the artistic liberty to say that the “La” in his name is “liar” and the “teef” is “thief.” 😂That’s a joke, please! Incidentally, all the Lateefs I know are honest, honorable, hardworking people.

Seriously, though, lies are the parents of all kinds of moral pervasions. My father used to say liars are almost always also thieves—and more.

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OPINION: Expectations Ahead Of APC State Congress in Kwara

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The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is moving closer to reaching crescendo in the process of electing new leaders across the strata or organs of the party with the national convention expected to hold at a yet to be declared date.

Hitherto, new leaders have emerged across wards and local government levels in states of the federation while the state congresses are to hold today, Saturday October 16, 2021, all things being equal.

The Mai Mala Buni led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, which comprises experienced hands with the hindsight of wide consultations, is deftly managing the the hues and cries of some people who continue to allege marginalisation in some states. An example is Kwara.

It appears the national headquarters of the party has truly done its due diligence and concluded that those still crying being sidelined have chosen to be mischievous as they have repeatedly ignored opportunities to work with others. For instance, sources at the national headquarters of APC averred that the appeals committee constituted in the aftermath of party registration did not find most of the allegations leveled against Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to be true. While a faction led by Honourable Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed alleged that thousands of its members were shut out of the process, a team that was sent to register those purportedly shut out found the claim to be a ruse. It was also established that virtually all the leaders who shouted that their members were disenfranchised were found to have themselves renewed their membership without any harassment, leading the party headquarters to question their subsequent claims. This explains why the APC national secretariat began to see through the noise in Kwara. The thinking now is that the Minister’s camp is taking advantage of their closeness to the media to want to mislead the public about the true situation in the party.

Another thinking is that a few of the disgruntled leaders may have decided to go for zero sum politics whereby they want to leave the party unless they have things their own way. Many in the party have condemned this attitude as they are still being urged to embrace dialogue and accept the leadership of the Governor like in other states of the Federation. Their obvious intention to fully control the party and exclude the Governor is seen as unacceptable because that will be a bad precedence.

While attempts are still being made to convince these few elements to embrace peace, keen watchers of events in Kwara APC will notice the near seamless conduct of the congresses so far, beginning from ward to local government. Not only were these two congresses totally peaceful and devoid of any violence, reports of the APC appeals show that Kwara has one of the least cases before the appeal. This, according to sources in the party headquarters, shows that the so called crisis in the party is largely a media creation, fuelled by fifth columnists to create wrong perceptions.

Of course, disagreements, conflicts, internal maneuvering for power, conflict resolution and consensus building are usual phenomenon in politics everywhere in the world. In fact, they are part and percel of the dynamics of internal politics as seen largely among political parties in sub sahara Africa. It is the capacity of each leadership of the party to deal with emerging or widening cracks and them move on that dictates the direction and future of such party. Events of the past few weeks since the congresses began have shown that Kwara APC is not doing badly, compared to other states.

The fact that various interests want to control a political party does not mean the party is doomed. Such interests are universal. This is especially not strange for a party like APC in Kwara that is a potpourri of different interests that came together to form it. Major focus was on Kwara prior to the commencement of the ward congress about the possible happenings during and after the congresses of the APC. But the zero violence so far shows that the party is getting on well. Today, the party is waxing stronger building on the successes recorded during the wards, local governments congresses to the state congress billed for this Saturday.

Ahead of the congress, different names have cropped up as chairmanship candidates. Whoever emerges, it is clear that the party cannot be the same again as discipline and party-government relations will be top priorities. Observers expect to have a new party leadership that will truly propagate the good works of the Governor which are very obvious in education, health, rural development, agriculture, workers’ welfare, security, and gender and youths inclusion and empowerment. These strides, coupled with the Governor’s live and let live philosophy, have attracted more members into the party, especially from the opposition.

Today, Kwara APC is going into Saturday’s state congress as a more determined party ready to consolidate on its remarkable progress and achievements, leaving behind elements who may have decided not to participate for some personal reasons. The consensus of the Kwara people is that while the government is clearly making impacts in the lives of the people, it needs a disciplined and cohesive party executives that will concentrate on selling the programmes of the government ahead of the 2023 election.

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Kwara APC Inaugurates LG Chairmen, Secretaries, Stakeholders Pledge Peaceful State Congress

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Kwara State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Friday sworn-in the newly elected local government chairmen across the 16 local government areas.

A chieftain of APC, Barrister Anthony Towoju, administered the oath of office and allegiance on the chairmen and secretaries on behalf of the party.

At the brief event in Ilorin, the state caretaker chairman of APC, Alhaji Abdullahi Samari congratulated the new officials on their victories at the last local government congress.

“On behalf of the leader of the party in Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, I want to congratulate our local government chairmen and secretaries on your victories at the last local government congress. This victory is a victory for all of us. Some of you contested against one another. Try to embrace everybody. Try to make peace. Try to work and make the party waxing stronger in the state,” Samari advised.

The chairman urged them to be magnanimous in victory and embrace all members of the party in their domains.

Samari advised to work towards consolidating on the successes of the party in their respective local government areas.

The chairmen are: Sheu Yahaya (Asa); Abubakar Adamu Doo (Baruten); Muhammed Kudu Dumagi (Edu); Awelewa Olawale (Ekiti); Abdullateef Kadir (Ifelodun); Abeeb Ajibola (Ilorin East); Ambali Jaji (Ilorin South); Suleiman Tejidini (Ilorin West); Azeez Yakub (Irepodun); Segun Awogbade (Isin); Ismail Dio Mora (Kaiama); Adebayo Jimoh (Moro); Adekunle Moshood (Offa); Gbadebo David (Oke-Ero); Kamar Akanbi (Oyun) and Muhammed Alhaji Swasun (Patigi).

The swearing in came hours after APC stakeholders across the state held a parley in Ilorin, the state capital, pledging a peaceful state congress on Saturday.

The parley was attended by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi; House of Assembly and cabinet members; party elders; and representatives of the party from Abuja.

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