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The Fayemi’s gaffe on Tony Blair


Former Ekiti Governor, Kayode Fayemi

Former Ekiti Governor, Kayode Fayemi

IT is not by sheer accident of event but by self-design that wherever the All Progressives Congress party (APC) president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari finds himself, there is always Dr. Kayode Fayemi, a doctorate degree holder in War Studies with specialisation in Civil-Military Relations.

While Ekiti, where he was governor, continues to boil, Fayemi enjoys being referred to as the head of Policy, Research and Strategy directorate of APC Campaign Council that invited former British Premier, Tony Blair, to deliver its keynote address on the implementation of the Agenda for Change at the party’s two-day policy dialogue in Abuja recently.

What is quite objectionable is the fact that Blair diminished the significance of the lecture, probably because of his ratings of the organisers when he deemed it unnecessary to attend but send Peter Benjamin Mandelson, who was Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in his administration, to deliver the keynote lecture on his behalf.

For whatever it’s worth, it is an indubitable fact that the campaign council has compulsorily finished its duty immediately after the general elections and all other party duties revert to the appropriate organs set up by the party hierarchy to discharge such duties; hence, the latest one performed by the Policy,

Research and Strategy directorate under Fayemi is no exception in this regard since such was ultra vires its essence.

The gaffe of Fayemi and his committee was unambiguously exposed in Olatunji Dare, Professor Emeritus’ recent column in The Nation newspaper titled: ‘

An unwelcome visitor’ in which he, in his usual frank nature, highlighted the animalistic posturing of Blair while serving as British Premier against especially Irag and in other places and his subsequent deployment of such exalted position, after leaving office, to pursue mercantilist neo-colonial inclination among less powerful countries of the world.

This globally revered journalism teacher and internationally respected columnist also in that piece exposed the disdain of most Europeans and the British people for their former premier.

This is the character that Fayemi beckoned on to grace such an epochal occasion of the APC and its president-elect, to deliver a keynote lecture.

Professor Dare described Blair, Fayemi’s policy discussant in his recent piece where he said: ‘It was entirely in character that Blair should have presumed at every stop to speak for the “international community,” though he holds no public office and is in fact a hugely discredited politician who, in a just world, should be in prison serving time for war crimes.’’

He  continued: ‘So unpopular and discredited had he become at the end of his record tenure as prime minster that he could not embark on a farewell tour of Britain, where he was sure to be greeted with shouts of “Liar, Liar” and pelted with tomatoes and eggs.

They even re-christened him Bliar. And so, he travelled instead to bid farewell to British troops in Basra, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan. Blair’s quest to become president of the European Council ended in humiliation.

The British Government withdrew its backing when it became clear that member countries wanted nothing to do with him…

The last time Blair went to testify before a parliamentary committee looking into how the UK entered the unholy alliance that invaded, occupied and destroyed Iraq, he had to be smuggled into the committee room through a back door, to save him from the wrath of protesters.’’

Blair would not be globally forgotten for his infamous role in the crime against humanity in Iraq just to send only Saddam Hussein, its leader packing from office. Professor Dare gave a picture of how it happened when he wrote that Blair ‘published a dossier on what he said was Iraq’s weapons-of-mass-production programme.

It was a “dodgy” document, copied in part from a sophomoric doctoral dissertation that an American university had rejected. Next, he put it out that Iraq had sought to buy uranium cake from Niger Republic.  The document detailing the alleged transaction was a transparent forgery.

The minister who purportedly signed on behalf of the Niger Government had left office at least eight years earlier.’’ What then informed the invitation of a forger to such an important policy discourse?   Dare further wrote: ‘

He also claimed, falsely, that Iraq had developed nuclear weapons that it could assemble and deploy for combat within 45 minutes – the same Iraq that could not shoot down a single plane from the armada that had been patrolling its air space and since the end of the Gulf war and bombing military and non-military assets at will…

For his domestic audience, Blair declared that Iraq had developed missiles capable of hitting British forces in Cyprus. Why Iraq would want to attack British troops in Cyprus he never explained…

Whenever he prefaces a statement with “to be perfectly honest” or “to be absolutely candid,” which he does very often, you could be sure that he was going to zap you with a falsehood, a barefaced lie… That is the quintessence of Tony Blair. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq.

But by the time British forces pulled out, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi had been killed.

Hundreds of thousands more had been displaced, and Iraq lay in ruins.  Hundreds of British soldiers had also been killed – all for a lie.

No wonder then, that when Blair offered to donate the earnings from his memoir to the families of British troops killed or wounded in Iraq, they rejected it angrily, calling it “blood money… In a just world Tony Blair would be serving a long jail term.”

The problems of Nigeria are not the organisation of policy discourses as such were had in abundance in the past.

What Nigeria wants is how the current power problem could be resolved permanently; how fuel would return to the filling stations at a cheap price per litre with a permanent end to its scarcity; how insecurity will disappear from this clime; how gainful employment will be available to millions seeking for it; how the economy and the naira will stabilise and how infrastructure and institutions of state would be rebuilt and restored for good.

Discredited leaders like Blair cannot make that happen. • Dr. Adamolekun, an educationist, wrote in from Ado-Ekiti.

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  • Welwyn Manager

    Dear Mr Jide, You problem is unclear here.
    1. Is the problem that Blair was not a good PM, he was incapable or that he went to Iraq
    2. If you really know politics and what UK politics, then you will not be slighting Lord Mandelson. I need not say more
    3. So what is Fayemi’s gaffe then, is it that he invite Blair is the last Labour leader to win an election in the UK for about 40 years i.e. since Ed Heath
    You are like many Nigerian commentators, they dont know much… and they confuse the Nigeria populace by dropping names.
    Whether you like it or not, Blair is the most important PM in the UK since Thacther. The fact that he won 3 straight election and no other labour leader can do that in 40 years is evident.
    What’s more, Fayemi is the only Nigeria politician who can bring Blair or Lord Mandelson for that matter to Nigeria at this stage. I challenge you to name any Nigerian politician who can, you cant obvious.
    Welwyn Manager writes from South Korea.

  • uduakomiri

    This is rubbish journalism. Whoever wrote this nonsense ought not to have been allowed to even publish this in an imaginary toilet tabloid not to talk of cosmopolitan Guardian Newspapers. It is embarrassing to read this sort of poorly written, incoherent, incomprehensible, disjointed piece lacking any objectivity in one of the best newspapers in Nigeria if not Africa. While Tony Blair is one of the most hated British politicians due to his misadventure in Iraq, Blair helped define modern Britain by some of his policies as PM such as social housing, welfare, education, and social mobility (getting individuals from poorer families into positions of influence in society). Journalism is a profession that deals with facts, and as such this piece ought to have considered the context of the issues discussed as a whole rather than paint one-sided picture of Blair. Again, the issue in question was the so-called Fayemi’s gaffe rather than Blair’s political failures. The writer abandoned the main issue to concentrate on Blair’s personality rather than discuss facts of how Fayemi had made an error of judgement, or how he had committed some kind of blunder in his speech because the noun gaffe is synonymous with unintentional blunders. Thus one is likely to conclude from this disjointed piece that either the writer does not understand the meaning of the word “gaffe” and its proper use or the writer had a score to settle politically with someone and chose to do so indirectly. Either way, the piece exudes incompetence, bias, and insuppressible presence of bitterness. This piece ought not to have been published by the Guardian because, to call a spade by its real name, it is complete hogwash

  • Bello Barriga

    A surface reading of this garbage indicates the writer is a PDP sympathazer. Dissecting one or two of the issues he raised shows biases – First, Ekiti state is boiling and burning under PDP administration (Gov Moonbeam). Second, Nigeria is
    not the problem – the people (Nigerians, people like the writer) are the problems. Let the change begin with individual. For example, if one has the habit of throwing empty plastic water nylon & bottles on the streets, please from today May 29th 2015 STOP this bad habit. JUST STOP ONE BAD HABIT FROM TODAY

  • Iaac A Olayinka

    This is rubbish. Is the write saying that Fayemi is not free to invite anybody he deems fit? Our journalist these days are very different from the likes of Segun Osoba, Peter Ajayi and Felix Adenaike. Most of the present day journalists are after brown envelopes, so they must write to please their ‘contractors’

    • Abidilagungun

      That is an opinion article; what have journalists got to do with it?

    • Uzoh63

      All that the erudite Prof wrote in the article are they truths or falsehood? You talk like an illiterate,Tony Blair was forced to resign as Prime Minister in his own counrty but now the mentor of APC and Buhari,tragedy of anti corruption man-General Muhammad Buhari.

      • Eyesofman

        You are the fail one here now, how can you call a prime minister who lead the Labor Party to three straight win a failure? Name other British PM who has done that feat in the last 40yrs of British elections. We know you jona people are note always objective in your reasoning.

      • Iaac A Olayinka

        What does Blair’s forced resignation have to do with his invitation? It is in Nigeria that our politicians hold on to power and never let go until they are voted out shamelessly like Jonathan. If it were in Nigeria, Blair would not have let go.

  • Eyesofman

    Another agrieved PDP ranting, pray tell me what is your concern if Dr. Fayemi is always visible around Buhari? Dr. Fayemi is the resource person, the engine room of the APC policy formulation groups, why must you demonized him now on the interest of governor Fayose? You talk so much falsehood about British former PM Tony Blair on his Iraq’s war policy, if you must know the falsehoods about Iraqs weapons of mass destruction, that falsehood is an excuse the American president George walker Bush used to deceive the people to justified his war against Saddam Hosain the Iraqi president. Before you blame Tony Blair on this Iraqi war, you must go back in time to know about the special pact between the Americans and the British nation on war pact. The UK is the mother of Nigeria, how can you now be advocating policy shift from the UK, president Jonathan and the PDP had it’s chances fritters away by their bad policies and corruptions which made the western world Abadan Nigeria. I believed the new forward looking foreign policy’s now with a new focal point on our old friends is a welcome development and must be encouraged.

  • amador kester

    Apropos your last paragraph or so where you pontificated on how to make nigeria work in effect.Point of information: britain is now a conspicuous mentor of nigerian governance if not a godfather of its new leadership with all the socioeconomic ramifications this encapsulates..British politics is a subtle continuity and mr blair might begin to play a formidable adversorial role for nigeria tomorrow.Why then are you averse to someone telling us the truth about this man or are we so allergic to truth?

  • Linchbin Resources

    Blair is one of the most respected and
    admired world leaders in the last 50 years,for the fact that he made a mistake by supporting US George Bush by going to war in Iraq does not lower his reputation as a good and visionary Leader.So this write up a bit of bollocks.