Pantami Heeds Kperogi’s Advice, Publicly Backtracks on Terrorist Groups
Amidst unrelenting calls for his resignation as a member of the federal executive council over his alleged link with extremist sects, Nigeria’s minister of communication and digital economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, on Saturday said his previous endorsement of Al Qaeda and Taliban was misinformed.
Pantami’s comments of over a decade ago was unearthed by a news medium in Nigeria, following last week’s circulated news of the minister’s alleged inclusion in US’ watch list of terrorists enablers.
Audiographics of the minister’s previous sermons have been circulating where he obviously endorsed some of the known terrorist groups and expressed sympathy for what they represented.
Nigerians, especially critics of the government, have asked Pantami to resign or be sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister’s acclaimed friend, Professor Farook A. Kperogi, advised him early Saturday to publicly denounce his earlier positions on the terrorist groups if indeed he has recanted his stance.
Kperogi wrote: “… the notion that …. he has changed is just my extrapolation. If he indeed has evolved like I think he has, he should address a world press conference and say so. At the very least, he should give the context for his previous incendiary preachments.
“No one can do this for him. Paying media houses to “fact-check” un-fact-checkable claims (such as whether he is on a watchlist) and to cleverly twist facts to deceive a gullible reading public— and social media “influencers” to muddy the discursive waters— won’t help him.
“After all, in December 2020, Sheikh Aminu Daurawa who, like Pantami, countenanced Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the early to mid-2000s, released an audiotape renouncing his past. And he isn’t a government appointee.
“As Desmond Ford reminds us, “A wise man changes his mind sometimes, but a fool never. To change your mind is the best evidence you have one.”
As if acceding to the professor’s advice, Pantami said during his daily Ramadan lecture at Al-Noor Mosque in Abuja later same day that “Some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time, and I have changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity.
“I was young when I made some of the comments; I was in university, some of the comments were made when I was a teenager. I started preaching when I was 13, many scholars and individuals did not understand some of international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later.”
Said, “For 15 years, I have moved round the country while educating people about the dangers of terrorism. I have traveled to Katsina, Gombe, Borno, Kano states and Difa in Niger Republic to preach against terrorism.
“I have engaged those with Boko Haram ideologies in different places. I have been writing pamphlets in Hausa, English and Arabic. I have managed to bring back several young persons who have derailed from the right path.”