People’s Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart, Femi Fani-Kayode, has revealed that he might not have been confirmed as minister in the Olusegun Obasanjo administration but for the support of the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Fani-Kayode was spokesman to president Obasanjo from July 2003 until June 2006 when he was appointed first as minister of culture and tourism and later aviation from 2006 till the end of the administration in May 2007.
Fani-Kayode told The Nigerian Xpress in an interview that he had always liked Tinubu, interacted with him and also not shied away from criticising him when necessary.
His words, “Asiwaju Tinubu is somebody that I have always liked and he will tell you this. I have criticised him vigorously on many occasions and I stand by everything I have said about him. But I have always liked him. He is one of these people I can’t help liking, because he is really a warm person to be with, I can tell you that.
“I used to interact with him a lot, even when I was a minister. In fact, let me go as far as to tell you that I may not have been a minister if not for his support. Would you believe that? That’s the truth.”
He explained further that without Tinubu he might not have scaled through the Senate screening.
“He (Tinubu) helped to get me through the Senate screening because he directed all the AD Senators to support my nomination and vote for me. Without that I may not have made it because the APP Senators, who were led by Senator Yari Ghandi, and were mainly from the North-west, opposed my nomination because they believed I was anti-North. Every other zone supported me apart from the North-west and I flew through with flying colours. I have Baba Obasanjo, the PDP Senators, Asiwaju Tinubu, Senator Ken Nnamani and many others to thank for that.”
Another quality that endeared Tinubu to Fani-Kayode is how he builds up his loyal lieutenants and supports them. He said no Yoruba leader had ever done that.
The former minister, however, regretted that ”Tinubu has made the biggest mistake that any Oodua leader had made since Afonja” by backing President Muhammadu Buhari and believing that would smoothen his path to becoming president in 2023.
In the exclusive interview published in the latest edition of The Nigerian Xpress that will be on the newsstands on Monday, the former minister also expressed perspectives about Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; the predicament of the Nigerian nation and her future and the perceived injustice done to the Igbo.
The full interview can be read on The Nigerian Xpress website: www.thexpressng.com from Monday.