Former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, and a member of the Board of Trustees(BoT) of the All Progressives Congress(APC), Buba Galadima, have disagreed with the Presidency over its support for the embattled Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.
The Presidency, through the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had on Thursday threw its weight behind Pantami amid calls for his resignation or sacking.
The calls followed the unearthing of sermons delivered by the minister in the past which had him allegedly sympathising with the terror groups – Al-Qaeda and Taliban – a thing he says he has repented of.
Addressing calls for the Pantami’s removal, Shehu in a statement said: “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.”
“The administration stands behind Minister Pantami and all Nigerian citizens to ensure they receive fair treatment, fair prices, and fair protection in ICT services,” Shehu added.
Reacting, Ezekwesili revealed that the position of the Presidency in regards to the case involving Pantami shows the view of President Muhammadu Buhari on terrorism.
“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,”Ezekwesili said in a series of tweets.
Also, Galadima, said Pantami should face the consequences of his past actions.
Galadima, who spoke on Arise News programme on Friday, stated that the situation with Pantami “is a clear example of opportunist Nigerians who speak to the gallery just because they wanted to get into a position.”
He said: “It is opportunism for these clergymen on all sides to play to the gallery because they want to draw attention. He did that at a certain period, and now he’s reaping the fruit of it because he has been recognised and given an appointment. Now that his past was bad, it is important that he faces his own music.”
“Pantami has already admitted his crime. So, there is no need even to investigate anything because he has already admitted, he has apologised. Whether the apology is good enough to exonerate him, that I wouldn’t know,”Galadima added.
He faulted the Federal Government for standing in support of Pantami on claims that he has apologised for his past statement.
“If anybody commits an offence, apologises and is set free, then let the Federal Government today release Jolly Nyame and Chief Dariye of Plateau State. They have been jailed despite having remorse in court. Why can’t the Federal Government release them? Or those that are being interrogated for theft, they should be let off the hook if they apologise,”he said.