Loquacious Fani-Kayode and his twisted history, By Nnaemeka Meribe

Nnaemeka Meribe
Nnaemeka Meribe

I will not stop admiring the loquacious former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Rottweiler, Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK) for his bluntness. As I noted earlier, he has a way of revealing the truth, albeit inadvertently, and at the same time revealing his level of ignorance. Since he went into obscurity, he has been trying to regain relevance through a new pastime—criticising President Goodluck Jonathan and teaching us Nigeria’s history through voodoo articles published in friendly newspapers and online news portals.

In his most recent article, he told of how tribalism was introduced into Nigeria’s politics by the Igbo. To bolster his thesis, he quoted a statement (‘It would appear that the God of Africa has created the Igbo nation to lead the children of Africa from the bondage of ages’) credited to Zik in 1949 and another (‘Igbo domination of Nigeria is only a matter of time’) credited to Charles Onyeama, an Igbo lawyer, in 1945. He noted that that was the result of his personal research as a historian.

I will not argue whether the statements in question introduced into Nigerian politics because being Igbo myself, I will be accused of bias. Therefore, everybody should interpret for himself. However, what is surprising is that FFK’s knowledge of politics in Nigeria stops at 1945. Since he claims that he is a trained historian, he would have known that there was a multi-ethnic organisation named the Lagos Youth Movement (LYM), which was formed in 1934.

The organisation in 1936 renamed to Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM). In 1937, Zik returned to Nigeria from Ghana and joined the organisation. The return of Zik and the subsequent return of HO Davis from London added zest to the organisation and it later (as a political party) won elections into the Lagos Town Council in 1938, ending the domination of Herbert Macaulay’s National Democratic Party in Lagos Politics

Tribalism rocked that group in the early 1940s and Zik left the group and joined Herbert Macaulay in 1944 to form another multi-ethnic party, the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC), which later became the National Council of Nigerian Citizens when Southern Cameroons elected to join Cameroon through a plebiscite in 1959.

FFK should tell us about the tribalism that rocked NYM in the early 1940s and which ethnic group that caused it. These things have been chronicled in WAEC-approved O’ Level Government textbooks and I knew about them during my high school days. But a historian does not. What a shame! He is indeed a disgrace to Harrow College, SOAS and University of Cambridge.

Nnaemeka Meribe, journalist and lecturer, is a doctoral student at the La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia


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  • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

    I am surprised Premium times published this. Premium Times has joined the ‘Mgbati’ press.

    • segun

      Mpitikwelu-na_Ugwu_Awusa,
      First Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa, These are Facts.
      1. You, writing under the name Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa,have said that you are Igbo and that you are defending Igbo interest. You and KenMani another Igbo have the highest number of posts and responses in PremiumTimes. Additionally PT has just published Mr Meribe amongst many other Igbo writers my question to you Mr. Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa, is: based on the fact that your posts(i) appear in PT, and (ii) you record the highest posts in PT, (ii) PT publishes Igbo writers (one of which you have just responded to) based on your logic is PT therefore an Igbo online journal? A gentle advice please,given that you Mr. Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa, have the tendency to abuse please answer in a civil manner, do not abuse.
      2. Each time we have the unfortunate Boko Haram bombings, and PT reported them and other news which you Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa, perceive as “pro-North,” I pout it to you that you and KenMani another Igbo post have accused PT of “pro-North” and even a mouthpiece of Boko Haram.
      3. Based on 1 and 2 and your recent statement are you saying that PT is Igbo paper, Northern paper, Boko Haram paper and Yoruba paper all rolled into one? Memory is long. And the advantage of online paper is that articles have long shelf life. So please answer with FACTS.

      • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

        First, I think I will forgive your arrogance, because I have seen that some of you, here, can not take a banter. I have never accused PT of been pro North.There was once my assumption that PT is a different Nigerian Journal, free from ethnic bias. But it’s lopsided treatment of the Achebean debate left more to be desired. Especially, it’s ‘exclusive’ story that blamed Ojukwu and Gowon. That particular report completely ignored Awolowo’s well documented admission, that starvation was deliberate policy. Even Tribune newspapers would have been more circumspect.

        • segun

          Mpitikwelue_na_ugwu_Awusa,

          We no doubt understand your comments and similar ones you defend. Your comments, and agenda and those of others like you is to demonise any Nigerian medium that does not serve your tribal interests. My further clarification is important because this is what you do to deliberately mislead. Now take this (i) the PT is a publishing house. In other words, THEY PUBLISH. THEY DO NOT OWN THE OPINION. They publish just as they have PUBLISHED you now. You see the subconscious is a powerful organ. We saw that at work when Chinua Achebe betrayed his own in a shocking way when he launched into untruths and shocking falsehood about Nigerian leaders and history in his memory which he put in his memoir. It is historically significant, psychologically and medically significant that such vile and venom put in a memoir came from his memory. You also betrayed this subconscious in your comments on PT when you have tried on this platform to demonise other Nigerians who toil everyday to keep us united as PT does . Those who frequent this platform know you and your agenda. Do not worry. Now I caught you flatfooted, instead of you to apolgise (i do not expect that from you) to PT and the readers, you try to say “Oh oh you guys do not understand humor… I was only joking. ” Look Mr. You are not joking. You meant what you said even when it is FALSE and VENOMOUS. It is akin to when we all caught Chinua Achebe flatfooted in his venomous and vile hatred of other Nigerian leaders except Igbo leaders for Achebe to say “oh you people miss an important joke, I was only joking…” Joking about what? Joking about our lives, the lives of Nigerians at his age? And you dare put FALSEHOOD,MALICE, VILE AND VENOM INTO PRINT for youths to read and MOTIVATE THEM TO HATE, and you said people do not understand your “joke” I am saying that is how Chinua Achebe “joked” about other Nigerian leaders and history and he would want us to take it.

          (ii) PT as a publishing house. When Achebe packed his lies and gave them to a publishing house, and when he went to London Guardian in the week of Nigerian independence to again LIE, who do we hold responsible for the barefaced LIES and VENOM against other Nigerian national groups in the so-called book and in his write up in the British newspaper -Guardian? Achebe or the publishing house and Guardian? I put it to you: What lurks in your mindset ALL THE TIME that makes you CONSISTENTLY maintain double standards-one for your own people and a lower and worse one for other Nigerian National groups and Nigerians? How dare you accuse PT of being sectional (when you do not accuse Achebe’s publishing house and British Guardian for publishing Achebe’s LIES against other Nigerian national group except Igbo on our Independence week this year) when we ALL see that YOU LIED? What seeds of bitterness are you trying to sow? If you grant that a publishing house, and British Guardian can publish Achebe’s LIES against other Nigerian national groups what lurks in your subconscious that makes you think other Nigerian national groups should not take up their pens and REFUTE FACT FOR FACT Achebe’s dubious LIES and propaganda on behalf of Biafra? How dare you hold a publishing house like PT responsible for that when you do not hold Achebe’s publishing house and British Guardian responsible for for the venomous lies and untruth Achebe told against we Nigerians during our Independence anniversary Day, week and month. What was Achebe trying to do (and he has a right to do that under democracy just as we have rights to REFUTE him FACT FOR FACT under democracy) by targetting our Independence anniversary as the strategic time to run to British Guardian and publish venom against we Nigerians and to also use the month of our Independence anniversary to LIE against Nigerians and Nigerian national groups except his Igbo? Anybody with common sense ought to know Achebe’s agenda-it is DISUNITY. That is the point Mr. mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa . I hope this will make you and your sponsors keep quiet for some time. Now this is the summary: You and your sponsors seethe with hatred of other Nigerian national groups except your Igbo group,(nobody will stop you from promoting your Igbo group, but PLEASE DO NOT demonise other Nigerian national groups who are struggling everyday to solve their earthly problems-as imperfect as their efforts may appear to you) you betrayed it in your dubious and mischievous comment about PT, I caught you flatfooted, you do not even have the simple honor of saying “I am sorry”. You try to hold onto to your deadly BIAS while covering it up.

          Now finally, you talk about publication. PT published what Achebe wrote. Somebody wrote, PT publishes it. Now this is the story of Mr. Goldstein that Chinua Achebe ignored and which you also ignore. Mr. Goldstein was on a $400,000 paid job on behalf of Biafra. His job was to advertise Biafra abroad during the civil war. That was the same job Chinua Achebe was surreptitiously doing then during the unfortunate civil war and NOW. And Achebe was a member of the governing structure of Biafra. As a member , he ought to know of Mr. Goldstein’s job description and the contract given to Mr. Goldstein by his Biafra. Also he ought to know how Mr. Goldstein resigned. But Achebe “forgot” to inform on this. You also “forgot” to “see” what Mr. Goldstein wrote when he walked away from (then) a $400, 000 contract from Biafra. We must ask what will make someone WALK AWAY from a $400,000 job in 1967. But you did not “see” Mr. Goldstein letter, Achebe did not “see” it. Your other sponsors did not “see” it. In Achebe’s “failure” to “see” the letter, he publishes his book, you did not hold Achebe’s publishing house responsible for publishing untruth, PT publishes what others found out when Achebe asked us all to dig and we dug and FOUND OUT!. Those things refute Achebe FACT FOR FACT, you hold PT responsible for publishing what others found out. haba! And we know why Achebe CANNOT talk about Mr. Goldstein. Why? It is a direct REBUTTAL of HIS LIES and HIS AGENDA. Mr. Goldstein’s letter also shreds Achebe’s agenda. So this is it “It is inconceivable to me that you (Ojukwu) would stop the feeding of thousands of your countrymen (under auspices of world organizations such as the International Red Cross, World Council of Churches and many more) via a land corridor which is the only practical way to bring in food to help at this time. It is inconceivable to me that men of good faith would try to twist world opinion in such a manner as to deceive people into believing that the starvation and hunger that is consuming ‘Biafra’ is a plot of Britain, Nigeria and others to commit genocide.)” – From Goldstein’s letter of resignation, published in the Morning Post, Lagos, August 17, 1968.
          Summary: Just in case you “forget” PT was not established in 1968 when Mr. Goldstein wrote that. If the British Guardian published Achebe’s LIES against we Nigerians during the week of our Independence anniversary celebrations , and if Achebe’s publisher published his book during the period of our Independence and they all “forgot” to “see” Mr. Goldstein letter (and no one is holding them responsible) and we Nigerians dug and found FACTS to REFUTE Achebe’s VENOM and HATE SPEECH and a Nigerian online newspaper PT published both Achebe’s account and other facts that others wrote, why will you hold a Nigerian online medium responsible for carrying out its professional duty? By simple reasoning if PT is guilty, then British Guardian s guilty and Achebe’s publisher is guilty. And if Achebe’s publisher and British Guardian are not guilty, then a Nigerian online platform established by struggling Nigerians cannot be guilty. You betrayed your venomous and vile sub conscious, I caught you flat footed, you need to admit that. That is the path of honor. Take that path of honor for your own sake. It ought to be a human thing to do.

          • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

            Go and marry.

  • obiebi

    Fani Kayode is an expired historian

  • segun

    Mr Meribe, like you people will say I make the comments I make because I am Yoruba. It really does not matter. We will say what we want to say. My response to you will following this line.

    1. Fanikayode wrote against the background of Chinua Achebe’s book “There was a country” and the responses to it. That book and the comments Achebe made about historical facts and Nigerian leaders are factually questionable. But that is the background we MUST NOT MISS, even when it does not give Fanikayode or anybody the basis NOT to tell all the story.
    2. Like many Nigerians we read history books. Personally I have NOT come across what Fanikayode wrote. Yet I took history in high school. The history books make observations and allegations about the introduction of ethnic politics in Nigeria. NONE that I read talks about what Fanikayode has told us. And yest no one has disputed it. A simple question is: why? why were we not told in the books that Zik said what he said?
    3. Now this may not be relevant to your post. But it is relevant to my point 2 above. In his book, “There was a country” Mr. Achebe was all out “teaching” us about how Zik was the greatest pan Africanist that ever lived and how other Nigerian leaders opposed Nigerian unity and how ONLY IGBO LEADERS wanted unity. It is right there in the book Achebe just published. Now the same Zik the pan Africanist said in 1978 he was being persecuted because he was Igbo when he was asked to show the receipt of tax payment to the Nigerian state when he was contesting for the presidency. I am saying that given that the nature of tax and payment of tax is an expression and a statement of nationalism, patriotism and commitment to the state, then the (i) Zik’s statement shows an Igboness, and (ii) Zik statement did not show a panAfricanist , it does not fit the image Achebe went ALL out to paint in his book. Please note that it does not show that Zik was never a pan Africanist. I am saying that in 1978 when he made that statement, it did not show a pan Africanist or the image Achebe painted. That is still not my point. You have the authorial right to say that does not concern you. That is fine. But my point is about no 2: why is this not mentioned.? There is a way in which the historian or the so-called writer picks and chooses like a map maker. So go to point 2 above, why did historians not tell us EVERYTHING in the books INCLUDING what Fanikayode just revealed? My simple question is WHY? Why do historians./writers act like the map maker? Why do so called writers and historians develop amnesia when it comes to certain facts? Also, why do we say (perhaps like you just said) that “we are concerned with this and not with that”? In a subtle manner, you accuse Fani of that. And I will agree with you that Fani did not go beyind the time he wrote in his post. He fani did not go enough by not going beyond a particular year. On your part you started later, you refused (because you sad you will be said to be bias )to comment on the the year Fani dug out. Really, I do not think you will be accused of being Igbo if you question what Fanikayode wrote about ZIk. You only need to tell us whether ZIk said it or not.
    4. We are dealing with FACTS. Your FACTS show what Zik did in LYM and NYM. But the HISTORY BOOKS need to RECORD what Fani said Zik and Onyeama said. I guess my question is: If it is right to talk (like I believe it is right ) about Zik in LYM and NYM , why is it wrong to record what Fani said Zik and Onyeama said?
    4. We are not done Mr. Meribe. We are still talking about amnesia-both old and new. Please check Mr. Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa post below. I have responded to him. You may also say it does not concern you. That will be fine. But note what Mr Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa just said. I am interested in the theme of amnesia either by act of omission or commission. Mr. Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa, said PT has become “Mgbati” press. Mr. Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa, is an Igboman. Mr. KenMani is another Igboman who used to post in PT. When Mr. Kenmani “stopped” posting Mr. Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa, resurrected. Now alone Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa, has the highest number of responses/posts in PT. Now given that technically an online paper like PT could have stopped Mr. Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa, and did not stop it, is PT therefore an Igbo paper? Now this is where it is relevant to your essay and my point about amnesia. Why did Mr. Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa suddenly “forgets” that he has the highest post in PT and he “forgets” to call PT an Igbo paper , but at various times would call PT a “Boko Haram” paper and now an “Mgbati” paper!!! Now if Mr. Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa were to write history of PT what he would he write and commit to our youths? It seems obvious. He will “forget” that he Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa an Igbo man has the highest number of posts in PT, but he would call PT a Boko haram paper at a time . Later, he will change depending on the debate at a particular time and call PT an “Mgbati” paper. See what I mean? Mr. Meribe, kindly apply this to points 2 and 3 above. It is about the so-called writer and historian as a map maker who picks and chooses based on his ideological interests. You know the map maker? The cartographer? While drawing his map, the cartographer can decide to diminish or enlarge places and locations on maps. Please remember that I informed that Fani wrote against the background of Mr. Achebe’s memoir. So when Mr. Achebe acted like the fabled cartographer who diminishes and enlarges to fit ideological interests in his book, many of the online Igbo commentators hailed him. He literally re-wrote the issue of deaths in the civil war by misrepresenting Obafemi Awolowo’s role while conveniently masking Mr. Goldstein letter which indicted the Biafra governing structure(of which Achebe and Ojukwu were members) of culpability in the deaths in the civil war. Mr. Goldstein’s letter which Mr. Achebe the cartographer ignored showed the two-way process in the civil war which led to the grievous mass deaths in the civil war which we all regret. My question again is simple: Why did Mr. Achebe ignore Mr. Goldstein’s claim? As a chief propagandist for Biafra he must know Mr. . Goldstein for Mr. Goldstein was a foreign counterpart to Mr. Achebe as joint propagandists for Biafra? So why?

    5. Dear Mr. Meribe, your point about NYM and LYM and Zik’s role is a factual event. But why did Achebe in recording other events say ONLY Igbo leaders were interested in Nigerian unity when the platforms upon which Zik operated were formed partly by Yorubas and other members from other Nigerian national groups? Why the Achebe amnesia?

    6. Your point to Fani to talk about NYM is sound. It is WRONG NOT TO TELL ALL THE STORIES. But we should TELL ALL THE STORIES -then and now. Not to TELL ALL STORIES is wrong. So you are right. All amnesia are condemnable BOTH of Fanikayode type, the Achebe type and the type that may want to ignore Zik’s and Onyeama’s unfortunate tribalistic and hegemonistic statements, sidetrack them and make them light.

    7. The good thing is that we need to interrogate, and WE MUST INTERROGATE EVERYTHING WITH NO HOLDS BARRED. That is the CORRECT PATH.

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      As usual, you have introduced irrelevancies to the article in question.

      • james

        Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa,

        because Segun put you and Mr. Meribe’s comments in context? What is wrong in providing useful background so that we all can better understand Mr. Meribe?

  • delema

    Discussing issues of this nature with Igbo is to a waste of time. Who doesn’t know Igbo and what they are up to? Baba Achebe is old and perhaps suffering from old age diseases as “there was never a Country”. Igbo is synonymous to ‘Brazilian Monkey’ – GREED, that is their problem and you can see them everywhere, North, West, South South and that it why there are always hard hit whenever there is a problem or crisis in any part of the country.

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      hug transformer

  • kelvin

    please please lets be objective mr meribe have stated and quoted from a well known episode in our political history ,of a fact the yorubas even made a song abusing the great zik. let us be truthful and put our sentiments and biases aside