Femi Fani-Kayode

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Femi Fani-Kayode
Femi fani kayode.jpg
Personal details
Born Femi Fani-Kayode
(1960-10-16) 16 October 1960 (age 57)
Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria
Nationality Nigerian
Profession Lawyer

David Oluwafemi (meaning "the beloved of the Lord") Adewunmi Abdulateef Fani-Kayode is a Nigerian politician, essayist, poet and lawyer. He was a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was with the opposition's All Progressive Congress (APC) until June 2014 when he returned to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party. Although his family lineage originates from Osun, he was born in Lagos, on 16 October 1960 to Chief Victor Babaremilekun Adetokunboh Fani-Kayode and to Chief (Mrs) Adia Adunni Fani-Kayode. He is an Ile-Ife chieftain of Yoruba descent.

Fani-Kayode was the Special Assistant (Public Affairs) to President Olusegun Obasanjo from July 2003 until June 2006. He was appointed the Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 22 June to 7 November 2006 and as the Minister of Aviation from 7 November 2006 to 29 May 2007.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]

Background and education[edit]

His great-grandfather, the Rev. Emmanuel Adedapo Kayode, was one of the earliest Nigerians to be educated in England, receiving an MA from the University of Durham, after which he became an Anglican priest. His grandfather, Victor Adedapo Kayode, studied law at Cambridge University and became a lawyer and a judge. His father Victor Babaremilekun Adetokunboh Fani-Kayode, who was also at Cambridge was a prominent lawyer and political figure in Nigeria in the 1950s and 1960s. He was Leader of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons Opposition in the Western House of Assembly from 1960 to 1963, the Hon. Minister of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and Deputy Premier of the Western Region of Nigeria from 1963 until 1966 and he successfully moved the motion for Nigeria's independence in 1958 in the Nigerian Parliament.[9][10]

Femi Fani-Kayode started his education at the age of 8 at Brighton College, Brighton in the UK after which he went to Holmewood House School in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, South-East England. He entered Harrow School in Harrow on the Hill, United Kingdom and later into Kelly College in Tavistock, UK, where he completed the rest of his public school education. In 1980 Femi Fani-Kayode went to the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies where he graduated with an LL.B law degree in 1983.[11] He entered Cambridge University (Pembroke College) where his grandfather (Selwyn College), his father (Downing College) and his older brother, Akinola (Downing College) had all previously read law. Victor Adedapo Kayode, Femi's grandfather, was called to the British bar (Middle Temple) in 1922 and his father, Remi Fani-Kayode, was called to the British bar (Middle Temple) in 1945.[1] After finishing from Cambridge, Femi Fani-Kayode went to the Nigerian Law School and in 1985 was called to the Nigerian Bar. In 1993, under the tutelage of Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams of Ghana, Femi Fani-Kayode became a Pentecostal Christian. He decided to go back to school to study theology at the Christian Action Faith Bible Seminary in Accra, Ghana, gaining a diploma in theology in 1995.[11]

Political career[edit]

Femi Fani-Kayode, Femi Anibaba (Former Minister of Works) and Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai (Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory) at a cabinet meeting with President Obasanjo in 2007.

Femi Fani-Kayode was a member of the Nigerian National Congress (NNC) in 1989. He was elected the national youth leader of NNC that same year. In 1990, he was appointed as Chief Press Secretary to Chief Tom Ikimi, the first national chairman of the National Republican Convention (NRC) and in 1991 as Special Assistant to Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, former head of the Nigerian Security Organisation (NSO). In 1996, disturbed by the actions of Gen. Sani Abacha's military junta, Femi Fani-Kayode left Nigeria and joined the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) abroad where, together with the likes of the Oxford University-trained lawyer Chief Tunde Edu and others, he played a very active role in the fight against Abacha.[12] He came back to Nigeria in 2001 and met President Olusegun Obasanjo. At the beginning of 2003, Femi Fani-Kayode was appointed by the President as a member of his presidential campaign team for the 2003 presidential election. After President Obasanjo won that election Femi Fani-Kayode was appointed as the first ever Special Assistant on Public Affairs to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In 2006 he was appointed as the Honourable Minister of Culture and Tourism. That same year, after a minor cabinet reshuffle, he was redeployed to the Aviation Ministry as the Honourable Minister of Aviation. Since the end of the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo's administration on 29 May 2007, Femi Fani-Kayode has gone back to the private sector and to his legal practice.

Challenges and Allegations[edit]

Chief Femi Fani-Kayode (left) with President Olusegun Obasanjo at a private lunch to honour Chief Fani-Kayode's 50th birthday on 18 October 2010.

Femi Fani-Kayode was investigated and arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in July 2008 in connection with the alleged misappropriation of a 19.5 billion naira (approx.US$300,000,000) "Aviation Intervention Fund." The investigation found no evidence against him.[13][14] The Senate Committee on Aviation in early 2008, initially recommended that Fani-Kayode be banned from holding public office for five years but withdrew the request when he had not violated any law.[15][16]

Chief Femi Fani-Kayode with former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) at a private dinner to honour Chief Fani-Kayode's 50th birthday organised by General Babangida in Lagos on 17 October 2010.

At the beginning of 2010, there was speculation that a power struggle had begun in Nigeria with President Obasanjo and his loyalists pushing for Yar'Adua to step down and hand over power to his Vice-President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. Yar'Adua's loyalists resisted this suggestion and part of their response to that challenge was to implement another strategy to try to silence and intimidate President Obasanjo and his key loyalists like El-Rufai, Fani-Kayode, Ribadu, Lawal Batagarawa, Nnenadi Usman and Andy Uba by accusing them of plotting a coup. This was the same method that was adopted by General Sani Abacha who had jailed Obasanjo on similar charges when he was in power. General Obasanjo was released and pardoned a number of years later after Abacha died and after General Abdulsalami Abubakar took power.[17]

In November 2010, Fani-Kayode said that Yar'Adua's sought to jail and destroy his predecessor in office and the man that single-handedly brought him to power, President Olusegun Obasanjo, as well as his loyalists, including El-Rufai, Ribadu, and Fani-Kayode himself.[18] He also alleged that Baba Gana Kingibe, the Secretary to the Federal Government during the Yar'Adua administration, was the principal enforcer of that plan and that Yar'Adua administration officials James Ibori, Tanimu Yakubu, Abba Ruma and Michael Aondoakaa were also involved.[18]

Arrested By EFCC[edit]

Fani-Kayode was arrested on December 2008 by the EFCC and charged with 47 counts of money laundering.[19][20][21] Fani-Kayode stated that he was innocent and that the monies were funds received from his own private businesses and legitimate sources and had nothing to do with government funds.[22][23][24] He said that the investigations of the Yar'Adua government and the EFCC were politically motivated, and he was being persecuted in the same way as other colleagues from the Obasanjo government, such as Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai and Nuhu Ribadu, for their ties to President Obasanjo.[12][25] On 22 October, EFCC operatives of arrested on a 17 count charge of unlawful retention, unlawful use and unlawful payment of money in the tune of about N4.9 billion, a charge brought against them by the anti-graft commission.[26]

Fani-Kayode discharged and acquitted of money laundering charges[edit]

Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, was discharged and acquitted on 1 July by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on the two count charge of money laundering preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. The court held that the EFCC was unable to prove the charges against Fani-Kayode beyond reasonable doubt and consequently acquitted him.[27][28]

In his victory press statement Fani-Kayode changed his name from. Oluwafemi Fani-Kayode to Olufemi Olu-Kayode (meaning the Lord brings joy). According to him this was done as a mark of gratitude to God following his acquittal of all the remaining money laundering charges that were brought against him by the efcc. Fani-Kayode had fought the case since 1 July 2008 and he was finally cleared of all the remaining charges that had not been dismissed earlier on 1 July 2015. This was 7 years to the day after his ordeal first started.[29]

Kayode had fought the case since 2008 was accused by the EFCC to have laundered about N100m while he was Minister of Culture and Tourism and subsequently Aviation Minister. The allegedly laundered sum was however reduced to N2.1m on 17 November 2014 after Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, dismissed 38 out of the 40 counts levelled against Fani-Kayode by the EFCC for want of proof. [30]

Poems and essays[edit]

Christmas lunch at the Abuja home of Chief Femi Fani-Kayode with Nuhu Ribadu and Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, December 2010.

In November 2009, before Yar'Adua fell ill, Fani-Kayode wrote a poem titled "I Stand and I Fight".[31] In this poem, he described Yar'Adua as a "sickly tyrant with an amalekite foundation" and he predicted that "his end would soon come".[31] Fani-Kayode wrote other poems over the last few years.[32][33][34]

In January 2010 and approximately two months after Yar'Adua left Nigeria and was flown to Saudi Arabia on medical grounds (during which time no Nigerian other than his wife and his chief security officer saw him or saw any pictures of him), there were strong speculations in the country that the president was dead, was in a deep coma or was simply so sick that he could not even speak or get up from his sick bed in his Saudi Arabian hospital. This resulted in a power vacuum in Nigeria as a consequence of which a constitutional crisis began to unfold.[35] The President's supporters and cabinet ministers, led by his wife Turai Yar'Adua, resisted the suggestion that the Vice-President should take over power whilst the President was incapacitated even though this was what the Nigerian constitution prescribed,[36] Fani-Kayode added his voice to that of President Obasanjo, President Shehu Shagari, General Yakubu Gowon, Ernest Shonekan and other former heads of government, former cabinet ministers, former legislators, leading opposition figures and leading members of the ruling PDP party by publicly calling for the resignation of President Yaradua and for the transference of power to Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan at that critical time.[37][38] To convey his view Fani-Kayode wrote a satire in Next Newspaper and titled it "Corpsology: Umaru's Gift To The Modern World". In the article Fani-Kayode suggested that by insisting on ruling Nigeria from his sick bed in Saudi Arabia and through his acolytes and wife, the President and his supporters were not just breaching the Nigerian constitution but that they were also surreptitiously introducing an entirely new and alien system of government into Nigeria, destroying democracy and attempting to perpetuate themselves in power through that new system indefinitely. He argued that this was being done by the authorities even where it was clear that the President was already "half dead". Fani-Kayode defined his concept of corpsology (or "corpsocracy" as he sometimes calls it) as "the rulership of the living by the dead" and the thrust and intent of his satire was to clearly convey the message that the attempt to introduce this hitherto unknown system of government into Nigeria by Yaradua, his wife and his kitchen cabinet was unacceptable and must not be allowed to stand.[39]

Chief Femi Fani-Kayode

On 7 August 2010 Fani-Kayode wrote another article titled "Charles Taylor: A Man Betrayed" in which he described the events and circumstances leading up to the extradition of the infamous former President of Liberia Charles Taylor from Nigeria, where he had been given refuge and asylum after a bitter war and crisis in his nation Liberia. Fani-Kayode explained how Taylor ended up being handed back to Liberia and how he was then sent to the International Criminal Court at the Hague in the Netherlands to face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.[40] Fani-Kayode had been the spokesman of President Obasanjo at that time, and in his essay he gave an account of how Taylor was betrayed by a number of parties and nations and detailed what he described as the "treacherous and ignoble" roles that US President George W. Bush and President Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia played in the saga. He accused both America and Liberia of reneging on their word and on an earlier agreement on the Taylor issue and he alleged that they "betrayed the confidence" that the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of Government, Nigeria and President Obasanjo had placed in them. Finally he called for the trial of former President George W. Bush and Britain's former Prime Minister Tony Blair at the same International Criminal Court at the Hague for what he described as "similar crimes against humanity" as the ones that Taylor was being accused of. He alleged that they had committed these crimes during the illegal invasion of Iraq and the bombing of Baghdad in which he claimed that "hundreds of thousands of defenceless and innocent Iraqi women and children" were killed. The article was published the day after the sensational appearance of super-model Naomi Campbell at the famous "blood diamonds" trial of Charles Taylor at the Hague.[41]

Fani-Kayode was also involved in a debate about the mysterious circumstances under which Nigeria's first Prime Minister, Sir Tafawa Balewa, lost his life. In two essays titled "Femi Fani-Kayode: Who Killed Sir Tafawa Balewa?" and "The Death of Tafawa Balewa: the Segun Osoba angle", he opposed the view that Balewa had died of natural causes which had been suggested by Chief M.T. Mbu, Nigeria's former Foreign Minister and Chief Segun Osoba, a former state governor, and he proffered the view that the Prime Minister had actually been murdered.[42][43] Fani-Kayode wrote other essays over the years.[44][45][46] In 2011 he called for the "crushing" of the Islamic fundamentalist sect called Boko Haram which claimed responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of Nigerians in a campaign of terror and bombing in their quest to ban western education and set up an Islamic fundamentalist caliphate in the whole of northern Nigeria".[47]


Femi Fani-Kayode has been married four times. His first marriage was to Saratu "Baby" Atta in 1987 but they were divorced by 1990.[48] They have one daughter whose name is Oluwafolake. The second marriage was to Yemisi Olasunbo Adeniji in 1991 but they were divorced by 1995. They have three daughters whose names are Oluwatemitope, Oluwatobiloba and Oluwatuminu. The third marriage was to Regina-Hanson Amonoo. They were married in 1997 They have one daughter whose name is Oluwaremilekun. In 2014 Femi Fani-Kayode and Precious Chikwendu , a beauty queen and the winner of the Miss United Nations (world) beauty pageant 2014, got married. This was his fourth marriage. On 1 February 2016 Fani-Kayode and his wife, delivered a baby-boy, their first child.[49] He was christened Joshua Oluwafemi Emmanuel Lotanna Aragorn Fani-Kayode. He is Fani-Kayode's first son. On May 25th 2018 Precious Chikwendu Fani-Kayode gave birth to 3 baby boys. Their names are

1. Ragnar, Alexander, Okunade, Olusegun, Ikenna Fani-Kayode

2. Aiden, Daniel, Olumide, Jidenna, Benaniah Fani-Kayode

3. Liam, Michael, Oluwanifemi, Tobenna, Jehu Fani-Kayode [50]

The birth of the triplets was made all the more auspicious by the fact that they were delivered on their mother's birthday. Femi Fani-Kayode's older brother, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, was a renowned and influential artist and photographer who founded the Association of Black Photographers (AUTOGRAPH) and who passed on in 1989 due to complications from HIV infection.[51]


  1. ^ a b By Emmanuel Ajibulu ,"Chief Remi Fani-Kayode: The Facts and Not the Fiction", ModernGhaha.com, November 2009
  2. ^ "Chief Femi Fani Kayode at the Senate Ministerial Screening – Pt 1", Youtube, June 2006
  3. ^ "Chief Femi Fani Kayode at the Senate Ministerial Screening – Pt 2", Youtube, June 2006
  4. ^ "Chief Femi Fani Kayode at the Senate Ministerial Screening – Pt 3", Youtube, June 2006
  5. ^ "Chief Femi Fani Kayode at the Senate Ministerial Screening – Pt 4", Youtube, June 2006
  6. ^ "Chief Femi Fani Kayode at the Senate Ministerial Screening – Pt 5", Youtube, June 2006
  7. ^ "Chief Femi Fani Kayode at the Senate Ministerial Screening – Pt 6", Youtube, June 2006
  8. ^ "Chief Femi Fani Kayode at the Senate Ministerial Screening – Pt 7", Youtube, June 2006
  9. ^ Power in an Emergent African Nation" by Richard L. Sklar, [1], Google Books, Page 269
  10. ^ "The Truth About the Motion for Independence", AllAfrica.com, 27 September 2010
  11. ^ a b Emmanuel Ajibulu, "Femi Fani-Kayode- Separating the Wheat from the Chaff", Business Guide Ghana, Monday, 7 December 2009
  12. ^ a b "Soyinka, Umar gave OBJ sleepless nights -Fani Kayode ", Point Blank News, 4 October 2009
  13. ^ Willy Eya, "OBJ Boys on the Cross", The Sun News, 30 November 2008
  14. ^ Funso Muraina and Ahamefula Ogbu, "Nigeria: Borishade, Fani-Kayode Arraigned, Denied Bail", All-Africa.com, 3 July 2008
  15. ^ Tobi Soniyi, "Borishade, Iyayi in fresh trouble", The Punch, 15 September 2008
  16. ^ Tobi Soniyi, "...drags Borisade, others to court", The Punch, Friday, 10 October 2008
  17. ^ "Coup Scare: Obasanjo's men on watch list ...Former Minister confirms receiving e-mails from Military Officers ...Why El-Rufai’s shelved return ", Pointblanknews.com, 7 December 2010
  18. ^ a b By Seye Kehinde ,"Yar'Adua's plan was to destroy Obasanjo, Ex-Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode – (Part I)", ModernGhaha.com, November 2010
  19. ^ http://www.efccnigeria.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=516&Itemid=34 Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
  20. ^ Tony Amokeodo, "Money laundering: Fani-Kayode to spend Christmas in prison", The Punch, 24 December 2008
  21. ^ http://www.efccnigeria.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=517&Itemid=34 Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
  22. ^ http://www.thenigerianvoice.com/nvnews/37575/1/farida-amp-efcc-is-this-rule-of-law.html Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
  23. ^ " Yar’Adua will send Obansanjo to prison – El Rufai ", Daily Trust, 21 October 2009
  24. ^ Seye Kehinde," Yar'Adua's plan was to destroy Obasanjo, Ex-Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode", Modern Ghana, 15 November 2010
  25. ^ "Obasanjo, Atiku and I, by Fani-Kayode", The Nation, By Our Reporter, 16 October 2009
  26. ^ "Fani-Kayode arrested by EFCC | The Sun News". sunnewsonline.com. Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  27. ^ www.vanguardngr.com. "Alleged money laundering: Fani-Kayode discharged and acquitted". Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  28. ^ www.pearl.com.ng. "BREAKING: At Last Femi Fani-Kayode Discharged & Acquitted". Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  29. ^ www.thisdaylive.com. "Fani-Kayode Changes His Name as Court Acquits Him of Money Laundering". Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  30. ^ http://www.punchng.com/news/court-decides-fani-kayodes-money-laundering-case-june-18/
  31. ^ a b "I Stand and Fight", The Nigerian Voice, 17 November 2010
  32. ^ "The Power of a Woman", The Will Nigeria, 18 April 2010
  33. ^ "A Tribute to the Warrior", The Nigerian Voice, 9 April 2010
  34. ^ "St. Barts and The God-Sent Child", Modern Ghana, 27 December 2011
  35. ^ By Tom Burgis "Nigeria constitutional crisis looms", FT.com, 6 January 2010
  36. ^ "Resign Now: Choose the path of honour, Obasanjo tells Yar’Adua", Sahara Reporters, 21 January 2010
  37. ^ By Sufuyan Ojeifo and Paul Ohia,"Yar’Adua: National and global pressure mounts • Gowon, Shagari, Shonekan, 200 House members demand vacation letter • US, UK, France, EU worry over ‘uncertainty’", THIS DAY, 29 January 2010
  38. ^ "Yar'Adua Did Not Speak With Jonathan'", Leadership Nigeria, 30 January 2010
  39. ^ Femi Fani-Kayode,"Corpsology: Umaru's gift to the modern world ", Next, 30 January 2010
  40. ^ "Charles Taylor: A Man Betrayed", National Daily, 7 August 2010
  41. ^ "Charles Taylor: A Man Betrayed", Next, 9 August 2010
  42. ^ "Femi Fani-Kayode: Who Killed Sir Tafawa Balewa?", Modern Ghana, 6 September 2010
  43. ^ "he Death of Tafawa Balewa: the Segun Osoba angle", AllAfrica.com, 19 September 2010
  44. ^ "Obasanjo, Yar'Adua, Buhari And Power Sector", All Africa, 28 March 2010
  45. ^ "major hamza al-mustapha; a grave and grievious injustice ", Elendu Reports, 27 July 2010
  46. ^ "Between Igbo, Yoruba and the Nigerian Women", The Wille, 7 April 2011
  47. ^ "The Poor Husband, the Rich Wife & Boko Haram", Pointblank news, 7 July 2011
  49. ^ Ibeh, Nnenna (8 February 2016). "First photos of Fani-Kayode's son". NAIJ. Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  50. ^ "Fani-Kayode's wife delivered of a set of triplets". 25 May 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2018. 
  51. ^ "Fani-Kayode, Rotimi (1955–1989)" Archived 16 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine., GLBTQ Arts

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