There is no gain saying the fact that Dr. Isa Aliyu Pantami is one of the few most blessed intellectual citizens in Nigeria. As young as he is, he was able to rise to positions of prominence. In deed, he is one of the most popular and respected Islamic scholars the North has ever produced, in addition to being an erudite scholar/academics in the field of Computer Science and Digital Economy. For sure, even among his colleagues, he is distinguished as a young man of distinct character.
However, Pantami’s rise to prominence in Nigerian politics with him ascending the exalted position of the Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has been replete with political vendetta. Initially, Pantami accepted the position of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, with a clear intention to contributing his best in the clarion call for national development and economic progress, at least in that respect.
Barely 2 months in office, Pantami began to face a series of challenges arising from within the sphere of government business and, even outside of it. But the question is: why is he the only target of backlash and sabotage?
The answer is very simple!. First, Pantami is still acting as if he is holding a religious position, while forgetting that it was political processes that brought him to his present position. He is proving himself innocent and religious in a position regarded by many as a conduit to enriching oneself. In essenee, Pantami must note that his position of Minister is just like other political positions, yet with no even slight difference with other ministerial portfolios.
Secondly, Pantami is failing to embrace the fact that Nigerian politics is characterized by backlash, sabotage and sinister attempts to bury someone’s political fortunes. If i were Pantami, i will remove that clergy gown and emball the full fledged political gown. While it’s germane to stick to moral values and principles even while holding public office, it’s also pertinent, if not necessary, to play the game by its existing rules. Realities associated with political dynamics and pattern of politicking in Nigeria, suggests that nobody is innocent or free from real or imaginary accusations.
The respected Sheik and now Honorable Minister, always appears emotionally uncomfortable anytime accusing finger is pointed at him. Prof. Yemi Osibanjo as a Reverend Father is not as well, free from political machinations. Hence, Pantami should always be ready to accept the harsh realities of Nigerian politics. He came through political processes and will also leave via same processes.
Many Islamic scholars in the past years have been approached by political leaders to accepting one political office or the other to help them curry the sympathy of the general public. But many have turned adamant in their quest not to compromise their scholarship with politics or anything associated with it. They have chosen to remain critic of the existing political order. Notable among these scholars were the late Sheik Jafar Mahmud Adam Kano and late Auwal Albani Zaria. These two notable scholars have still, to date, venerated primarily because of their consistent attitude of saying the naked truth to politicians without fear or favor.
On a lighter note, Dr. Pantanmi should either distant himself from partisan politics by way of resigning his position as Minister, or better still, remain in his position but change his political antics (behaviour) by way of absorbing all pressure stemming from the political environment he found himself. In this manner, he should live politically and die politically as the saying goes: if you are in Rome, you should behave like Romans.
Author: Almustapha Abdullahi Jadadi, Journalist and Youth Activist