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Opinion

By Ikem Okuhu

If you add former Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Bianca Onoh (who later became Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu) to the list of Femi Fani Kayode’s known women, the tally comes to nine. They include names like Saratu Atta, Yemisi Olasunbo Adeniji, Regina Amonoo, Precious Chikwendu and of course, his newest acquisition, Chika Nerita Ezenwa. This makes it six. But the number will grow to seven when we add the Moroccan girlfriend who was reported to have borne him a son back in January 2021 while his bitter separation with his last wife was still brimming.

Some people will wonder why I had to add Bianca to this list, especially given her spirited denials when the matter was being feasted upon by gossip columnists back in 2013? Well, since the ex-beauty queen didn’t go to court as she had then threatened, I have no choice but to take Fani-Kayode’s last word for it.

The more you look for the controversial former Aviation Minister’s women, the more you make interesting finds. In the process of digging the Bianca Ojukwu angle of this man’s trysts, the rig pulled up two additional names, namely; Adaobi Uchegbu and Chioma Anasoh. This completes our list of nine. There could be more. But I will dig no further, lest I happen upon a harem buried behind the paper-thin pericardial sac of the gentleman’s apparently palatial heart for beautiful women. The nine mentioned here are more than enough for the statistical journey that, as you erad along, is the bedrock of this essay.

During the challenges that attended his last known breakup, people tried to insinuate that Femi Fani-Kayode was cheating on his then wife, Precious Chikwendu with other women. The only proof they had was the alleged arrival of a son to the ever-flourishing FFK household through his Moroccan lady a few weeks (or was it days) after his public spat with his former wife, who also bore a set of triplets. This article will not try to judge relationship matters. It is way out of my remit. Of importance, however is the fact that while nine may indicate a high turnover rate in the life of man, at least by current circular standards, FFK has, so far, resisted the temptation to marry two women at the same time. He has not even accepted to have dated two at once in spite of efforts to tar him along that line. So, it is safe to call him a serial monogamist.

Economically speaking, I also think the AG and other better-heeled members of the northern elite should begin to compare the quantum productivity of a horde of nomadic herders trekking from Maiduguri to Akwa Ibom, to that of a single rancher growing his animals, for milk, meat, hide or hunk. Once they do this, the debate over the freedom of movement of cows will cease and, who knows, we might grow to the point of discussing animals’ rights, one of which could include the rights to decent cattle habitation.

Even in his chosen serial monogamy path, there seems to be a pattern. And if you are interested in understanding this and its social, political and even economic implications on Nigeria with her life-threatening existentially challenges, kindly join me as I divide up these women along some peculiar physiographics and tribal demographics.

FFK likes his women naturally light-skinned. Most, if not all the ladies that have been associated with him are blessed with beautifully spotless yellow skins. There is also a good assortment of ex-beauty queens among them and even those who were not are drop-dead gorgeous in their rights.

That is as far as the physiography of the women will go. Let us now examine the demographics and in doing this, I recommend we use the only evidential material available to us here – the names of these ladies in question.

First, we have Bianca Onoh. Then there are Precious Chikwendu, Adaobi Uchegbu, Chioma Anasoh and the newest one, Chika Nerita Ezenwa. The rest are; Saratu Atta, Olasunbo Adeniji, Regina Amoo and then the unknown girlfriend from Morocco.  Globally, what we see here is a tilt of the balance towards the eastern part of Nigeria. As can be seen, 55% of the time, Femi Fani-Kayode will date a woman from the south eastern part of Nigeria than from anywhere else in the world. If you then look at it from the national average, by knocking out the foreign Moroccan lady from the log, this ratio rises to 63 percent.

I recall that in an August 2013 rebuttal, FFK had this to say to his traducers: “Those that call me a tribalist are simply misguided. Perhaps they do not know the meaning of the word or its true import. Those that know me well can confirm the fact that I am not a tribalist, a racist or a bigot and that I consider such sentiments as being unworthy of a man of class, good breeding and culture.”

If his preferences in the selection of his women can be used as yardstick, I really think that Femi Fani-Kayode was correct about himself – he is not a tribalist. In fact, his various positions on the Igbo question in Nigeria bears him out as a strong lover of the tribe, my tribe. He has always spoken strongly and forthrightly in favour of giving Igbo people a fair deal in a Nigeria where the “spoils” of our queer federalism is distributed to the poignant disadvantage of the southeasterners.

Shall we then call him a “spare parts” dealer and induct him into the hall of fame of this class of citizens without borders? Since that pathetic commentary by the Attorney General of Nigeria, Abubakar Malami, spare parts trading has become the metaphor for citizens who provide services in all parts of Nigeria (within the ambits of the law) and who do this without threatening the sociological and ecological integrity of the community in which they find themselves. Our friend, Fani-Kayode may have related and separated with as many as five ladies of the Igbo stock, but the fact that he finds reason to keep coming back, again and again, tells of certain values he apparently derives from such repeat patronage even after disappointing encounters.

In an environment often tensioned by thickened sectional sentiments, it would have been convenient for FFK to swear to never have anything to do with Igbo women because of the number of failed relationships he has had with them. But he hasn’t acted along this line and this speaks of someone who judges by the contents of character rather than tribal backgrounds.

When Attorney General Malami, on May 19, 2021, spoke, rather unfortunately, of the possibility of governors of northern Nigerian states banning the sale of spare parts in retaliation against the ban placed on open grazing by their southern counterparts, not a few Nigerians thought someone must have laced the nation’s number one lawyer’ favourite liquid with delusional substances. We live in a country where the importation, distribution and sale of vehicle spare parts are almost exclusively the business of the Igbo people. Across all corners of the country and around some of Nigeria’s neighbours like the Benin Republic and Niger Republic, Igbo traders have been infusing value to local economies, enabling easy access to items for vehicle repairs, thus facilitating commerce, improving social relations and generally powering economic wheels.

But a Malami, befuddled by his bigoted bifocals will not see this. He would rather the spare parts dealers are driven away, even when that might mean that he would be crippled by his inability to fix his own vehicles. Cutting our noses to spite our faces can become a preferred option if the end is to inflict physical, social and economic harms to the ethnic group we despise.

Malami didn’t see value. He saw an afront against his ethnic stock. It did not matter to him that spare parts dealers do not trample on farms and crops; it did not matter to him that spare parts dealers, unlike the herders he so desperately wanted to advance their interests, pay taxes, house rents and engender local transfer of skills and the creation of a cluster of other industries around their areas of operation; It didn’t even matter to him that those in the spare parts business are merely a fraction of the southern Nigeria people whose governors spoke against open grazing. Who could also have reminded our nation’s number one law officer that the spare parts dealers have neither been ever accused of bearing arms, legal or illegal nor have they ever been suspected to have killed anyone.

What history and trends all across Nigeria should teach irreverent public officials like the Attorney General is that should Nigeria decide today to eschew all imaginary lines and unite, the spare parts sellers have provided the raw stock to make this easy. Take a look at the travel history of the Igbos; they are everywhere in the world, developing cities, creating new ones and generally contributing to cultural integration. I doubt if there is any extended family in Igbo land that does not have a son or daughter married to a person from another tribe in Nigeria. If this ethnic group has so united Nigeria, not only by their commerce, but also by borrowing and giving out their DNA to all parts of the country, stereotyping them as Malami did tells of nothing other than ignorance and, some will say, envy.

Economically speaking, I also think the AG and other better-heeled members of the northern elite should begin to compare the quantum productivity of a horde of nomadic herders trekking from Maiduguri to Akwa Ibom, to that of a single rancher growing his animals, for milk, meat, hide or hunk. Once they do this, the debate over the freedom of movement of cows will cease and, who knows, we might grow to the point of discussing animals’ rights, one of which could include the rights to decent cattle habitation.

This should become a future possibility, even if our leaders are fossilized throwbacks with change-resistant DNA. But until we get to this point, the legendary spare parts metaphor as has been exemplified by Femi Fani-Kayode should be amplified until we permanently imprison the meaningless paper walls that we often morph against Nigeria’s corporate opportunities for impactful economic leapfrog.

There has to be an FFK in all of us, even if we all don’t subscribe to his Abiku style of “calling for the first and the repeated time.”

Ikem Okuhu is a journalist, a Public Relations professional, brand strategist and teacher.

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