Category: News Written by Amina Alhassan Hits: 847
The controversy generated by former Aviation Minister Femi Fani-Kayode claiming to have had ‘intimate relationship with Bianca Ojukwu shows no sign of abating, even as a third party waded into the matter. Weekly Trust reports
Ex-Minister Femi Fani-Kayode came under attacks for justifying the deportation of Igbos by the Lagos State Government, with many calling him an ethnic bigot. To prove to his bashers that he is not a tribal champion, Fani-Kayode went down memory lane to exhume the ghosts of relationships he said he has had with Igbo ladies. Now the ghosts, it seems, are all out to haunt him.
Writing in an article titled ‘A Word for Those Who Call Me a Tribalist’, which was widely circulated online and in the print media, Fani-Kayode said: “I was not a tribalist when I had a long-standing and intimate relationship with Miss Bianca Onoh, an Igbo lady, who later married Colonel Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu the leader of Biafra and who is now our Ambassador in Spain. I was not a tribalist when I had a long standing and intimate relationship with Miss Chioma Anasoh, another Igbo lady, who I almost married. I was not a tribalist when I had a long standing and intimate relationship with Miss Adaobi Uchegbu, another iIgbo lady, who was exceptionally close to me and who is now a leading figure at the National Headquarters of the ruling PDP.” he said in his latest article.”
Interestingly, it was the former minister’s comment on Bianca that has refused to die even after tendering a public apology to the former beauty queen. Bianca’s lawyers, Wall Street Attorneys, wrote to Fani-Kayode on August 27, urging him to not only retract his statements but also offer an unreserved apology to their client in two national dailies, failing which they may be forced to initiate legal action against him.
Many said Fani-Kayode was forced to eat his words after Bianca Ojukwu’s lawyers gave him seven days to retract his statement. In what many described as a move to pacify Bianca, over possible embarrassment his ‘revelation’ might have caused her, Fani-Kayode withdrew his statement on ‘intimate relationship.’
In a statement released on his behalf by his lawyers, Fani-Kayode said he erred in his comment, even as he described Bianca’s claim that they were never acquainted as “bizarre, absurd and inexplicable.”
The former minister insisted that he knows Mrs Ojukwu (then Bianca Onoh) in the early 80s up till the mid 80s. “They were good friends at the time and they had a few mutual friends who are still alive today. The bizarre, absurd and inexplicable assertion that they were not friends and that Ambassador Ojukwu has never met our client is patently false. Though he has not seen her for over 25 years, he spoke to her on the phone when her husband passed on last year,” lawyers of the former Aviation Minister said in the statement. He said some of those who knew about his relationship with Bianca are still alive and can testify.
However, Fani-Kayode’s retraction fell short of what Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu, now Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain, expected. She, therefore, rejected his retraction and dismissed it as a ‘riposte’. In another letter to the former minister, the lawyers had said, “whilst it is important to reiterate that Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu has never met Chief Femi Kayode and does not know him in person, it is pertinent to note that the statement issued through Mr. Akinola Babatunde Rotimi, falls far short of an apology and retraction of Chief Femi Fani-Kayode’s false and libelous outbursts and is merely a desperate attempt to lend credence to fabrications, which he seeks to present as reality with intent to gloss over the very serious issues arising from the reckless publication.
“In the circumstances, Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu is left with no option than to leave the matter in the hands of her lawyers.”
But rather than attract another letter of apology from Fani-Kayode, what Bianca’s lawyers got in return was not what they expected. Fani-Kayode, in his reaction to the lawyers’ position, released a statement through his Personal Assistant, Tosin Emmanuel, where he said he was ready for “whatever course of action” Mrs. Ojukwu’s lawyer intends to pursue.
Fani-Kayode threatened to file a case against the widow of the late Biafran warlord “for her barefaced and malicious lies and consistent claim” that she has never met him.
“We really do wonder what Mrs. Ojukwu really wants from Chief Fani-Kayode and what her agenda really is? Throughout this matter Chief Fani-Kayode has chosen the path of peace and has attempted to avoid an ugly and public quarrel with Bianca Ojukwu out of respect to the memory of her late father Chief C.C. Onoh and the memory of her late husband, Dim Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu,” he said, wondering why Bianca has refused to let the matter die even after withdrawing his comments.
Meanwhile, the emergence of a third party has added another dimension to the controversy. Ms Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo, daughter of former Oyo State Governor, waded into the matter. In several posts on her Facebook page, Kemi said Bianca lied when she denied having any affair with the former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode. She said it was public knowledge during their student days in London that Femi Fani-Kayode and Bianca dated, adding that she was ready to testify in court if need be.
The question on the lips of Nigerians is: who blinks first between Fani-Kayode and Biance. Many will also like to see how this matter will end, even as they wait to see the next line of action.