Pantami and the Presidency’s pathetic defence
Sir: A significant demystification of President Muhammadu Buhari’s avowed war against terrorism was the recent pathetic defence of Dr Isa Pantami, Nigeria’s minister of Communication and Digital Economy, by presidential spokesman, Mr. Garba Shehu.
Nigerians had made legitimate calls for Pantami’s resignation or sack over swirling revelations of his admiration and fervent support for global and domestic terrorism represented by the deadly Al- Qaeda, Taliban and Boko Haram organisations through his public lectures and sermons as an Islamic cleric, before his appointment as a minister.
Shehu in his feeble and incoherent defence attempted to present Pantami as a victim of a “cancel campaign” being spearheaded by powerful forces in the telecoms industry, hell-bent on forcing him out of office over some policy decisions. According to him, Pantami was in his twenties when he made those statements in the 2000s and he has rightly apologised for his utterances.
The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity), views the imprudent defence of Pantami by no less an institution than Nigeria’s Presidency as a desperate, apparent effort to provide a safe haven for a self-confessed sympathiser of terrorism and deflect public opinion from the deluge of calls for his resignation or removal from office
The hollow argument that Pantami was in his 20s when he made those inflammatory utterances was a brazen lie from the seat of Nigeria’s government. There is sufficient evidence in the public space which indicated that Pantami, who is now 48-years-old, was in his 30s and already an adult when he espoused the dangerous Salafist ideology which is one of the bedrocks of global terrorism. There is no proof presented by Pantami or Shehu of where and when, the ‘repented’ minister actually cut ties from the Salafist doctrine.
For the avoidance of doubt, we believe that Buhari’s decision to retain Pantami as minister despite documented evidence of him being unsuitable for that position in the first place going by all ethical benchmarks that dictates the selection for public offices, is an indication that his appointment and subsequent clearance by the security agencies and the Nigerian Senate was not an happenstance. It was a well orchestrated script writ large with impunity from the inner recess of Aso Rock.
The Pantami saga presented the Buhari’s Presidency with a rare opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to the fight against global terrorism; to redeem its faltering image; to prove to Nigerians that it would walk his talk against impunity; and just when there has been a flicker of hope that the President Buhari led administration would rise up beyond parochial interest, it has instead proved cynics right that the administration is irredeemable from impunity.
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