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Sunday, 8th February, 2020

On Sunday, 2nd February, 2020, Femi Fani-Kayode launched series of attacks on me on twitter. I have not responded since because more urgent issues at my workplace kept me busy. I am a salary-earner and I must perform my duty to justify the money I receive.


I believe in the dignity of labour. My job tickles me. I think I can now spare a few minutes to respond to his tweets. I must however disclose the fact that friends have advised that I ignore him.


They are concerned so that he won’t drag me to his level.


Fani-Kayode said his father, Chief Remi Ade Fani-Kayode was my father’s boss. What’s the big deal in that? That was in politics and is that a personal achievement for him? Interestingly enough, his father was not the overall boss. His father also had a boss over and above him.


Isn’t that how life is? Coincidentally his father’s boss was also an ‘Akintola’. Funny, isn’t it? And today I am happy Fani-Kayode is not my own boss so he can’t boss me.


Swelling with indignant pride, Fani-Kayode said “Ishaq is too small to call that name (his father’s name) & he knows nothing about the history of our people.” That is the tragedy of the Nigerian nation: an ex-minister bragging that a professor is too small to mention his father’s name?


What a pity! Can he stand where a professor is professing?


Talking about knowing the ‘history of our people’, may I ask what Fani-Kayode knows about that or even about the history of his father? Does Fani-Kayode think he knows everything about his own father? Well, I will share this little personal experience I had with his father.


He asked for it. Let Mr. Too-Big-and-Know-All tell us if he knows about it. I was the Federal Electoral Officer for Ife-Ijesha Senatorial District during the 1983 general elections. It was my duty to announce the result and that was around 2 am in the night.


The venue was the Police barracks, Moore, Ile-Ife and the press was fully present. I took the microphone to start the announcement but suddenly Chief Remi Ade Fani-Kayode (Femi Fani-Kayode’s father) came in with several mobile policemen.


He took a seat directly opposite me and told me not to announce any result. I resisted. He asked if I knew him. I answered in the affirmative but I added that duty was duty. I told him he was interfering with the electoral process.


For daring to confront a former deputy premier of the former Western Region, one of his mobile police escorts rushed at me with the butt of his rifle but I stood my ground. The policeman still remained beside me with the butt held threateningly over my head.


I was unperturbed. Surprisingly, all these happened in the full glare of the media. In fairness to Chief Remi Ade Fani-Kayode, he told the policeman to leave me alone. I started announcing the result in his presence and he stood up angrily and left.


The team of mobile policemen followed him. I continued the announcement of results to the end. I would not subvert the will of the people because my father was in a particular party. They have miscalculated if that was why they appointed me as the federal officer.


Islam teaches justice even if it is against your family. My father must have heard the full details next day but he respected my principled stand. He never asked me why I did what I did.  


But I was to learn a bitter lesson about Nigerian politics the next day. I took the original copy of the result with me for submission at the FEDECO office in Ibadan. But on getting to Ikire, my car radio started announcing election results.


To my bewilderment, I heard the announcement of the same result which was in my car. I felt utterly frustrated. So it is true that people write fake figures and announce them during elections. That does not imply that Chief Remi Ade Fani-Kayode wrote the result.


Or that he was involved. The party did it. They have specialists for that. Though I still drove to Ibadan to submit the original copy of the result, I was treated like a leper by the FEDECO staff at Agodi. I still felt proud of myself anyway.


Surprisingly, I felt no bitterness towards the ex-deputy premier, Chief Remi Ade Fani-Kayode. I had always admired him anyway and had attended his political rallies on several occasions.


He was a great orator and a bridge-builder. He accommodated all tribes and religions. Unlike his son, Femi Fani-Kayode, there was never any trace of religious bigotry in him. He was, indeed, a great politician.


Now, will it be correct for his son (Femi Fani-Kayode) to say I knew nothing about his father? That incident in Ile-Ife has become part of the history of the political life of Chief Remi Ade Fani-Kayode and his biography will remain incomplete without it.


I stood my ground in front of a former deputy premier and I refused to be intimidated. That is the stuff professors are made of. It is not about any top post or money. It is about principle and dignity. It is about standing up for what is right.


Listen to Fani-Kayode again : “He is not fit to kiss my feet or lick my shoes. He is filth. He is the lowest of the low…” Of course I know that I am not a boot-licker or a court-jester. But for crying out loud! A whole professor is not fit to kiss your feet or lick your shoes?


Hummmmm. See how a politician sees a professor? See what value they attach to education? And this man was a former minister! Thank God he wasn’t in charge of education. I hope nobody will ever think of making him a state governor otherwise he will make a mess of that sector.



Fani-Kayode also had the effrontery to call me “a fake Muslim scholar who attended some fake Almajiri school in Cairo many years ago.” Is that worth any response? I don’t mind being called a names anyway. I’ve been insulted, abused, misrepresented and misinterpreted countless number of times.



It doesn’t matter to me anymore. I can take any insult because of Islam. But you should know that something is definitely wrong with anyone who calls the great Al-Azhar University in Cairo a fake almajiri school.


Next, Fani-Kayode boasts of his being educated in Cambridge. Point of correction: it does not matter where one is educated. What matters is the positive values you possess. What services you are able to render to mankind and what you represent.


If Fani-Kayode is the personification of Cambridge, I won’t touch that school with a long pole. But I happen to know a few decent and credible Nigerians who graduated from that institution. They are miles apart from Fani-Kayode in morals.


Even Nigerian universities award certificates ‘having found you worthy in character and in learning’. I wonder if Cambridge considered the first quality in Fani-Kayode’s case. 


And now this: “When Oduduwa is established we have a place to keep people like him.” That reveals the real motive behind the latest brouhaha in the South West. We also know what they plan to do with Muslims. But it is clear that Fani-Kayode can only brag.


Some people are deceived so they think he is very bold. But it is sheer bravado. See how he cowardly omitted the word ‘Republic’ from his ‘Oduduwa’. Smart Alec. We know why Fani-Kayode is making so much noise, pretending to champion the Yoruba cause.


Anyway, the Yoruba people know that he lacks pedigree. He should stop deceiving himself. His eyes are on 2023. He wants to be governor. Any political party that wants to enter one-chance is free to pick him.


But do not say I did not warn you: Muslims in Osun state and Yorubaland in general will have nothing to do with a sworn Muslim-hater. Fani-Kayode has no political value. Will the same Northerners whom he has always disparaged vote for him? Fani-Kayode is an expired politician.


He should forget that ambition. He is simply wasting his time. I ask my friends and well-wishers to forgive me for reacting this time around. I promise to ignore Fani-Kayode’s tantrums in future.  


Ishaq Akintola (PhD)

Professor of Islamic Studies

8th February, 2020

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About the author


ISHAQ AKINTOLA: Professor of Islamic Eschatology, Muslim Activist, Human Rights Activist, Social Commentator, Advocate of Dialogue.
MY PHILOSOPHY: I remain oppressed until the hungry are fed, the naked clothed,the sick healed and the homeless sheltered.

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