Oby Ezekwesili, former Minister of Education in Nigeria has taken to her Twitter handle to say that President Buhari’s support for Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, is a pointer to his stand on terrorism in Nigeria.
Her tweet was as a result of a video of Isa Pantami of year 2000 that resurfaced again which people believe to have shown he (Pantami) has links with extremist groups like Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram.
Isa Pantami and terrorism link allegations
There is also a report that the government of United States of America had allegedly placed Isa Pantami on a security watchlist over alleged links with dreaded Muhammad Yusuf, the late founder and leader of the Boko Haram group.
Recently, there is a lot of allegations about Pantami surrounding his extreme Islamic views and activities in the past which is now hunting him.
When the video surfaced on social media, concerned Nigerians began to call for his resignation or the Buhari’s government should fire him.
Garba shehu stands by Isa Pantami
The Presidency has refused to heed to people’s call but instead gave public support through the president’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, for him.
“Today, there is an unfortunate fashion in public discourse that makes leaders in politics, religion, and civil society liable in the present for every statement they have ever made in the past – no matter how long ago, and even after they have later rejected them.
This insidious phenomenon seeks to cancel the careers of others on the basis of a thing they have said, regardless of when they said it.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, @DrIsaPantami is, currently, subject to a “cancel campaign” instigated by those who seek his removal.
They do not really care what he may or may not have said some 20 years ago: that is merely the instrument they are using to attempt to “cancel” him. But they will profit should he be stopped from making decisions that improve the lives of everyday Nigerians.
The Minister has, rightly, apologized for what he said in the early 2000s. The views were absolutely unacceptable then, and would be equally unacceptable today, were he to repeat them.
But he will not repeat them – for he has publicly and permanently condemned his earlier utterances as wrong.
In the 2000s, the Minister was a man in his twenties; next year he will be 50. Time has passed, and people and their opinions – often rightly – change.
But all discerning Nigerians know this manufactured dispute is nothing to do with the Minister’s prior words, but solely concern his actions in the present.
This Administration is committed to improving the lives of all Nigerians – and that includes ensuring they are not over-charged or under-protected for those services on which modern life depends.
The Minister has been leading the charge against illegal data deductions and pricing; he has revolutionized the government’s virtual public engagement to respond to COVID-19 and save taxpayers’ money; he has established ICT start-up centres to boost youth entrepreneurship…
and create jobs; he has changed policy to ensure locally produced ICT content is used by ministries, starting with his own; and he has deregistered some 9.2 million SIMs – ending the ability for criminals and terrorists to flagrantly use mobile networks undetected.
In two short years, Minister Pantami has driven the contribution of the ICT sector to the GDP to more than 18 percent, making it one of the top two playing a critical role in the emergence of the economy from the COVID 19-induced recession.”
Oby Ezekwesili Tweeted
Reacting to these tweets by Garba Shehu, Oby Ezekwesili in her Twitter thread opined that those are nothing but public support for terrorism. She tweeted:
“In that singular act of siding with his Minister of Communication, @NGRPresident @MBuhari actually conveyed a message on his view of terrorism. Nigerians now know that his views align with that of his Minister.
It is now left to Nigerians to convey whether we agree with them✍🏾
I do not agree with @NGRPresident @MBuhari and his Minister of Communication that any citizen can get away with such bloodcurdling rhetorics the latter made through the years. Worse that one who swore an oath to public office said and did the things @NigeriaGov has waved off.
Yesterday’s action by our President was an anti-climax. He has persisted in badly managing our country’s diversity.
Nigeria cannot at this stage avoid a genuine conversation about its Future.
The signs are all too obvious for all to see and act on.
Citizens are the only legitimate center that can midwife credible dialogue.
Citizens have to step up. Nigeria cannot at this stage avoid a genuine conversation about its future.
The signs are all too obvious for all to see.
The people of Nigeria are due for a Conversation.✍🏾”.