By: Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi.
“Identity crisis and the name on American watch list on terrorism”; was promised to be the title of this article; but “Pantami Gate” is a milestone in global terrorism revelation. The saga has been very dynamic, articles upon articles has been written viewing the situation from various angles and analysing the contentions.
An agitated nation is lost in confusion of an unborthered President. Muhammadu Buhari seems not disturbed and his Presidency unconcerned. If the President is hoping that this will die a natural death as the reason he chose to be quiet on it. Is the cabinet also compromised? That they had a meeting without a mention of the leading public issue. After the President’s return from the UK, it was expected that the issues will be addressed. He has gone on for days and weeks without any mention on the most contending issue. He Presided over the cabinet meeting and our debt burden was made heavier without any attempt to lighten that of our hearts. If the cabinet appointees of the President are cowed by the saying; “he who pays the piper dictates the tune”, and are thus forgiven. Then we should be challenged by the ‘hear nothing, say nothing’ attitude of our elected representatives and Senators at the National Assembly.
APC alleged sponsorship of terrorising against the Nigerian State in a bid to win election at all cost in 2014 by APC Chieftain Alhaji Baraje seems to have experiential evidence on the floor of the house of representatives when Honourable Ndudi Elumelu representing Aniocha North and South and Oshimili North and South Federal constituency had the floor and moved to have the house reflect on the accusations against Isa Pantami. The manner in which the Speaker Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila shot him down is reminiscent of Honourable Giblah’s encounter and the public experience of disappointment that greeted same with Deputy Speaker. It is now an open fact that what interests Nigerians doesn’t interest or bother our representatives.
The President gave us a proverbial response on his arrival from the UK, when he promised “continuity”, finally after a long unnecessary silence, the President spoke through Garba Shehu, in a statement that renews the commitment of Muhammadu Buhari led Administration to rehabilitation and integration of ‘repentant’ Boko Haram. The statement based Government position on the apology of the minister, when it says it “stands behind Minister Pantami”, the statement in an unethical expression described public outrage and calls for the minister’s resignation as “cancel campaign”. Without any known investigation on this all important issue in a country with our level of insecurity. Buhari led administration showed its impunity and insensitivity to process and protocol.
Nigerians must stand up on this for so many reasons; the facts available about Isa Pantami are damning and brutal, it should generate questions such as; why has this person never been arrested, questioned or investigated by any security agency as it also turned out now?
Are we having on our hands a spiritual authority to which our Governmental authority deferred?
If our Government isn’t willing to engage Isa Pantami for whatever reasons, must we also be quiet?
I must appreciate the maturity of Christian Association of Nigeria for maintaining silence on this; we must not allow this to act out the script of religious war by actors who have been rehearsing daily with organized banditry and kidnapping. Our Government must be pushed further on this. Our lesson from the #EndSARS protests must be applied, our youths must again insist on words from the President directly. FG must not find it convenient to ask the Vice President to address the nation, this must be avoided so as not to send the wrong signal to millions of our out of school armies having capacity to maim and kill who may perceive the duty of the office of the VP at such moment; as a Pastor against a Sheikh. This is a very delicate moment for us as a nation and we only hope that leadership will rise twice as tall.
Though it is almost impossible for the public to have access to American watch list on terrorism due to the strict protocol involved with such information. The complication of multiple names is another challenge. For whatever reasons, Ali Ibrahim, is also Isa Pantami this identity crisis must be resolved. Intelligence regarding who between the two is our Minister can be sourced by our Government and her relevant agencies from concerned international organisations against terrorism. While this hasn’t been done is left to our imagination, and if they have, not sharing it before it decided the CONTINUITY of Isa Pantami isn’t spelt out. This arrogance of power is a tickling time bomb that will do nobody any good.
Our appeal must now go to the international community, knowing that pattern of terrorism mindsets is very well established in Pantami’s case, with several failed reports of de-radicalization process by individual terrorists, Osama Bin Laden who was Isa Pantami’s mentor is a clinical example. The world must not allow Isa Pantami to grow into a monster else, it will regret it later. The possibility of the power of access to vital information of people’s data at the tips of Isa Pantami’s fingers should be given global consideration.
The struggle of the state of Egypt against the terrorism activities of Muslim Brotherhood should be a lesson to the world never to allow terrorism have control of Nigeria.
The brotherhood infiltrated the Egyptian Government and her agencies; carrying out several terror attacks on the nation and tourists. And its attempt to overthrow the Government led to the assassination of President Anwal Sadat.
If with the incontrovertible evidences tending towards establishment of facts made available online since the breaking of this news, the world is not bothered about how Pantami has come this far to have a place in Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidency then the world may not be able to stop what may be Isa Pantami’s plan against her in the future, that is, if he is nursing any.
In one of such audio available online Pantami said; “and therefore we are praying to God that based on our understanding, we pray for days when images on the notes in our pockets will be removed, NO MUSLIM CLERIC HAS EVER SPOKEN AGAINST THIS IMAGES AS FORBIDDEN; may we be self sufficient enough not to need this currency. It is against religion to put even images of the companion of the Prophet on the currency. May Allah help us to see that day when the Georgian calendar, calendar of the infidel that is on the note will be removed and that day is coming when it certainly will be removed”
If we are to treat Isa Pantami as a personal brand and establish his existential purpose, it will be:
- To remove the secularity of the Nigerian State.
- To take images on the naira notes away.
- To change us from Georgian calendar to Islamic calendar.
How more extreme will Isa get before we accept that it is an existential threat to Islam, the Nigerian state and the world at large.
A man who could dare to teach rejection of currencies based on the pictures of Heroes that adorns them as forbidden in Islam. Insinuations he himself said no other Clerics of Islam has ever made before. Is Isa Pantami Allah subuana robikah? The danger this personality portends to Islam is grave.
His existential purpose as stated reflect the summary of the aims of Muslim brotherhood which is to remove secularity of states and western influences. To build an organised Islamic empire with self sufficient economy and currency control.
A man with a Governorship ambition of his home state; Gombe come 2023, one of the alleged supporters of Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s bid from which the rice flooding the North may be coming from. Supposing his determination to see power shift to a Muslim from the South West for the next 8 years is to remain relevant in National politics as Governor of Gombe state and President in waiting after Tinubu when power will return to the North.
Can the world afford a man with Pantami’s mindset as the President of over 250 million people in the next 10 years? Can we afford to have the most populous black nation fall under the control of a presumed terrorist?
Our West African sub region is replete with growing organised terrorism. With this official support of Nigerian government to a terrorist, how does the world hope to fight ISSI West Africa? This nightmare is better aborted in our imagination.
The day of terror that Pantami threatened us with, as coming, may be closer than we can comprehend. The world should act now!
DR. BOLAJI, A PUBLIC AFFAIRS ANALYST AND CONVENER APOSTOLIC ROUND TABLE.