Former Aviation Minister and Director of Media and Publicity to former President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 presidential campaign, rambunctious Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, seems to have a method to his action. Fani-Kayode was overcome by emotion at the premises of the Federal High Court in Lagos, where Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia discharged and acquitted him over the money laundering charges preferred against him, that he changed his name. He said the trial, which began in 2008, had almost destroyed his life, family and reputation. Fani-Kayode addressed a press conference at the premises of the court, where he said he would be dropping his surname ‘Fani-Kayode’ “as a mark of honour and respect for the Lord and as a testimony of God’s love” towards him. “The whole process almost destroyed my life, my family, my reputation, my health and my career. I thank God for His goodness, His mercy and for the fact that today the whole nightmare has finally come to an end,” he said. For that, he said his name would no longer be “David Olufemi Fani-Kayode but instead it shall be David Olufemi Olukayode.” After the court victory, he jetted abroad, according to him, to take a well-deserved rest and visit family members and relations.
Some may think that the former minister acted on the spur of the moment, his victory in the trial and the freedom that his predicament has finally ended, to change his name. But he read a prepared text at the event, which means that the change of name was pre-determined and well thought-out. But what will happen to his family pedigree which he has always said he is proud of? His father, Chief Remi Fani-Kayode, an erudite lawyer and prominent politician, was the Deputy Premier of the old Western region. Fani-Kayode would tell anybody who cared to listen that his father was the deputy leader of the Yoruba, a fact some would readily contest. I recall that former Rivers State governor, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, got a bit of Fani-Kayode’s caustic tongue when the ex-governor tried to question his pedigree. Truth is the minister is proud of his father. He is clearly a chip off the old bloc and resembles his dad in words and ways. So what becomes of that pedigree, that background with the change of name? Is Femi no longer proud of his surname and background? Or should Nigerians not take him seriously over the change of name after all?
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