Challenges and persecution
Whilst at Public Affairs Femi Fani-Kayode was President Obasanjo's chief ideologue and propagandist. He was loved, respected and admired by those who supported Obasanjo but he was intensely disliked and feared by those who opposed him. This was as a consequence of the passionate and aggressive way in which Femi Fani-Kayode took on Obasanjo's many traducers and defended the President. The office of public affairs within the Presidency had effectively become a shadowy and powerful weapon of war in Obasanjo's arsenal whilst Fani-Kayode ran and headed it. He reported directly to Obasanjo and he was regarded by the President more like a son than an aide. For this he paid a price and he often admitted the fact that his job at Public Affairs had cost him many friends and relationships.
During the senate ministerial screening session in 2006 when Femi Fani-Kayode had to appear before the whole of Nigerian Senate in order to be screened before his nomination as a minister could be confirmed, he shed some light and offered some explanations on his role as Special Assistant to Mr. President on Public Affairs. When asked about the fact that he attacked and hurt many Nigerians as a result of his defence of Obasanjo and whether he had any regrets about doing so , He said the following " President Obasanjo is a great man and I have no regrets about doing my job effectively though i do regret it if anyone was hurt in the process. I was simply doing my job and if i wasn't prepared to do it i would not have taken the job in the first place. I did not wish to hurt anyone and i do not believe that anyone should take whatever may or may not have said personally. If i did hurt anyone then i am deeply sorry and i hope that they will find it in their hearts to forgive me as i have found it in my heart to forgive them for what they have said about me and Mr. President". Many of those that i clashed with and joined issues with on behalf of President Obasanjo were either old friends of mine for whom i had , and still have , tremendous respect for or those that i have always looked up to from the day that i was born. But i had to do my job and my job was to defend Mr. President night and day and take on his enemies and detractors. Even though he is not an angel President Olusegun Obasanjo is the most vilified , misunderstood and misrepresented leader in Nigeria today and yet this man not only loves Nigeria but he also believes in Nigeria and Nigerians , just as he believes in Africa and in Africans.
After President Olusegun Obasanjo relinquished power in 2007, an unprecedented wave of virulent criticism, disinformation, false accusations and misrepresentation was unleashed on him and all those that worked closely with him from various quarters. Femi Fani-Kayode was not left out and has had his own fair share. This is because some believe that it is time to "pay him back" for his vigorous and unrelenting defence of President Olusegun Obasanjo whilst he was his Special Assistant on Public Affairs. Despite this he has resolved to continue to play a role in the affairs of his country well into the distant future.
In 2007, there was a report on the internet and a Nigerian newspaper that Chief Femi Fani-Kayode's Special Assistant Chioma Anasoh was arrested and detained at the airport for laundering 250,000 USD for him. The report also stated that Chief Femi Fani-Kayode was at the airport to plead for her release. This report was totally false as this never happened. The Nigerian customs also denied that she was ever caught or arrested with 250,000 USD at the airport. Chioma Anasoh later denied the allegation and refuted the story in Thisday Newspapers (www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=82302).Presently she is suing The Mirror Newspaper in Lagos High Court for publishing the story.
In June 2008, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode and some others were arrested, detained and interrogated for a few days by the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) over the 19.5 Billion intervention fund of the Aviation sector. After a thorough investigation all charges against Chief Femi Fani-Kayode were withdrawn from the court by the EFCC as it was clear that there was no evidence that he had anything to do with the misappropriation of the intervention fund. As a matter of fact it was established clearly that he exposed the scam (www.aviationsquare.org) and My Mandate page (www.femifanikayode.org/mandate.html). All others that had been originally arrested and detained with him were later charged at the High Court but Chief Femi Fani-Kayode was not amongst them.
On the 22nd of December 2008, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode was re-arrested by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged allegations of money laundering. He was arraigned on a 49 count charge for money laundering. This was clearly politically motivated and provided more evidence of the persecution that the Yaradua regime was unleashing on all those that worked closely with Olusegun Obasanjo. Amongst those that have been subjected to similar persecution are Nuhu Ribadu , Nasir El-rufai and Bode George.There is absolutely no evidence of money laundering against Fani-Kayode and he has sworn to clear his good name in the court of law.