An article with the above headline was published in the CICERO column of THISDAY on Sunday, September 19, 2021. Under normal circumstances we would not respond to this write up given the fact that there appears to be a media frenzy going on right now about the fact that Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, the Saduakin Shinkafi, has joined the All Progressives Congress (APC).
However, due to the fact that we hold your newspaper in very high esteem and have immense respect for your editorial team and publisher, we felt it was appropriate to set the record straight and disabuse the minds of your readers with a clarification and short response.
For the record, we have no objection to the writer’s remarks about Chief Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK) or even about his motives for joining the APC or for even participating in politics over the last 30 years. Needless to say we reject such assertions but we lose no sleep over them. We consider it nothing but an opinion which, though unwarranted and unkind, the writer is entitled to have and express. That is what free speech and democracy is all about.
What we do object to, however, and strongly too, is for him to attribute fake quotations about FFK to President Olusegun Obasanjo, and claims that Obasanjo said things about him which he never did.
This is nothing but an attempt to legitimise a false narrative about what FFK stands for and has fought for all his life and to turn fiction into truth. Needless to say, it cannot be allowed to stand or go unchallenged.
For the record it is not true that President Obasanjo ever made such derogatory remarks about FFK to the effect that he is “a good boy who will dance for food” or anything close to it.
Even though this fake news and patently false and fabricated quote has been all over the social media since 2013, we have ignored it.
Fake quotes attributed to high profile public figures is nothing new on social media but for a serious newspaper to use and legitimise them without any recourse to the purported author or attempt to verify their veracity is unacceptable.
We urge you to kindly publish this letter in order to set the record straight.
Meanwhile we continue to hold you and your newspaper in the highest esteem and we wish you well.
• Ndifreke Saviour-Mark, Senior Special Assistant to Chief Femi-Kayode, Abuja