The Fayemi’s gaffe on Tony Blair
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.