When the Presidency expressed solidarity with the embattled Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, over calls for his sack due to alleged links to terrorist groups, many were taken aback to see a government claiming to be fighting terrorism taking such a position.
President Muhammadu Buhari, speaking through his Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had insisted that Pantami’s past notwithstanding, the Gombe State-born Sheikh is now “born again,” hence, the decision to “stand resolutely with him because of his work for Nigerians.”
In its usual fashion of always shifting responsibilities and blaming others for its woes, Buhari blamed ICT companies in the country for being behind a alleged campaign against the minister.
Despite having unfettered access to state’s investigative and intelligence apparatus, the presidency couldn’t name any particular firm, neither did it present any evidence to buttress such allegation, but chose to discountenance verifiable facts and evidence of the minister’s radicalized past as insufficient to warrant his exit from the corridors of power.
Telling Nigerians that statements made by a full grown adult a few years back meant nothing today and trying to justify that radical ideological view could dissipate in a jiffy is to live in delusion, radical ideologies and religious extremism hardly change once ingrained and this is the case with Sheikh Pantami.
Perhaps the question that needs to be asked is this: who is the biggest beneficiary of the ongoing insurgency or terrorism? Results from last elections have shown and this should be a major concern whether the government of the day is indeed serious or is just playing lip service.
As long as these crises amount to political gains, hope is not anywhere near the horizon as far Nigeria’s insecurity situation is concerned. In fact, Nigerians should start asking whether terrorism has been adopted as an instrument of state capture. Also, the citizens and all stakeholders in the Nigeria project will want to know how many more Pantamis are yet to be unveiled even as the Buhari administration is hell bent on protecting one of its kinds.
This may just be a child’s play ahead of more damning revelations.
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