Following the outcry from citizens that the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami should resign, over his past comments in support of terrorist groups like Taliban and Al-Qaeda, the Federal Government has revealed that Pantami’s ordeal in the hands of those calling for his sack was not about his past utterances, but about his current job as a Minister.
This was revealed in a statement by the SSA to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
According to the statement, “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”.
The statement made it known that “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, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami is, currently, subject to a ‘cancel campaign’ instigated by those who seek his removal”
The statement added that, “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 Nig”.
“The Minister has, rightly, apologised 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”, the statement read.
The statement further revealed that, “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. The administration stands behind Minister Pantami and all Nigerian citizens to ensure they receive fair treatment, fair prices, and fair protection in ICT services”.
Speaking on the Minister’s achievement, Shehu said, “In two short years, Minister Pantami has driven the contribution of the ICT sector to the GDP to more than 18 per cent, making it one of the top two playing a critical role in the emergence of the economy from the COVID 19-induced recession”.
He however revealed that, “The government is now investigating the veracity behind these claims of attempted inducement, and – should they be found to hold credence – police and judicial action must be expected”.