The ancient city of Kano is bubbling at the moment with politicians, government officials, and cronies of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), as his son, Yusuf, marries Zahra, daughter of the Emir of Bichi, Nasiru Ado Bayero.
As expected at such a society wedding, the display of raw opulence and the presence of top members of the ruling All Progressives Congress including governors dominate the spectacle.
However, what many may never have anticipated was the conspicuous presence of a controversial member of the Peoples Democratic Party, Femi Fani-Kayode, who hobnobbed with Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, whom he once described with unprintable names.
In photos shared on his Facebook page on Thursday, Fani-Kayode disclosed that he flew into Kano yesterday, a day before the wedding ceremony.
Fani-Kayode, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation from November 2006 to May 2007, also grinned sheepishly as he posed in photos with APC members, governors and ministers including Pantami, whom he suddenly described as his “friend and brother”.
“Flew into Kano with my friends and brothers Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state, Governor Babagana Umar Zulum of Borno State, Senator Sani Ahmed Yarima, Senator Ali Ndume, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, Hon. Minister Isa Pantami, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and others for the wedding ceremony of President Muhammadu Buhari’s son, Yusuf Buhari, to HRH Nasiru Ado Bayero, the Emir of Bichi’s daughter, Zahra Ado Bayero.
“The flight was great and we thank God for journey mercies. Kano is a massive, pulsating city which is steeped in tradition and history.
“It is a pleasure and a joy to be here. Will keep you posted,” FFK wrote on Facebook.
The ex-minister’s fond appellation was a sharp contrast to what he had labelled Pantami in a piece in April. Fani-Kayode had lampooned Pantami, a member of the presidential cabinet from Gombe State, for his extremist Salafist views and sympathy for the Taliban, currently on the rampage in faraway Asia, precisely in Afghanistan.
“Simply put, Pantami is a homicidal, sociopathic and psychotic individual…Who is a hater of Christians and non-Muslims. He is a religious bigot, an ethnic supremacist, an unrepentant jihadist, a lover of bloodshed, carnage and terror and a psychopathic and clearly insane individual who may well have been responsible for the slaughter of many innocent Christians over the years as a consequence of his inflammatory rhetoric and reckless actions,” Fani-Kayode had stated in the piece he authored in April when Pantami came under fire over his past controversial comments supporting Sunni Islamic terrorist group known as the Taliban.
A former lecturer at the Kaduna State University, Kaduna, Prof Samuel Achi, had told The PUNCH that Pantami was the Chief Imam at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University mosque in Bauchi State in 2004 when the Muslim community issued a fatwa on his son, Sunday.
According to the don, his son, a Christian fellowship leader on campus, was later killed in the middle of the night inside the ATBU mosque over allegations that he circulated a tract that contained blasphemous content.
In one of his sermons in the 2000s, Pantami had reportedly prayed, saying, “This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria… Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and to al-Qaeda.”
The minister later recanted in April, saying he now knows better.
Many Nigerians called for the Pantami’s sacking or resignation but the Buhari regime exonerated the minister, saying that he should be forgiven because he made the statements at a much younger age.