The internet is the best accountant of words, writings, actions, the past and the present.
It can be a kind of brutal judge, also.
It is a swinging double-edged sword that cuts on both sides.
It can give mileage on the popular and notorious index.
Things on the dark recesses of the internet can be summoned as justification, validation or be used to roast a person.
Isa Ali Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy must’ve learned this lesson a hard way!
Pantami is a Muslim cleric -- a Sheik, an accomplished scholar, and a public official.
His past and present are important because they give us direct access to his heart and his person -- his values, outlooks, character, and everything.
As a cleric, he has a past, a past filled with incendiary comments that glorified and justified violence against others -- non-Muslims -- the type Osama Bin Ladin, Amin Al Zawahiri, Abu Musab Al Zarqawi and others like them are known for.
This understandably is concerning to many Nigerians considering that Nigeria is in the fight of her life against Boko Haram, a dangerous and violent terror group bent on spreading sorrows and deaths and destroying the country.
Many are openly questioning the suitability of Pantami as a Minister, and the one in charge of a sensitive department/ministry like Communications -- the data trove of Citizens and their activities.
Pantami has not denied these comments, a good thing, but he has walked away from them.
He said the comments no longer represent his world view on Terror and that he made those comments based on information available to him at the time and as a much younger and easily impressionable man.
He expressed regrets for the comments and said “they no longer represent my thoughts”.
Now if we discount what he said in the past as we are required to do by his mea culpa, we have examined (MRI) his recent sermons, speeches, lectures, and writings to make a determination if indeed Pantami is a changed person or not.
If he is a changed person, it is up to him to decide if he wants to hang on or resign, or for the president to fire him if he thinks his further presence in the government is injurious to the administration.
Pantami’s situation to that of Kemi Adeosun -- former minister of Finance who resigned under the weight of allegation that she forged an NYSC exemption letter, please know the issues are not the same.
While that of Kemi is a potential forgery because NYSC denied issuing the letter, Pantami’s case has National Security implication and dimension.
A suspected sympathizer of terror should never be a heartbeat away from the most sensitive information in the country.
I hold the view that no one should be disqualified from serving or holding office in Nigeria on account of not doing Youth Service because the Law is discriminatory.
If a person is qualified to be president, governor, senator, and any other thing with a First School Leaving Certificate, and he is not required to do Youth Service, why is a degree holder punished for not doing it?
Is it a case that the ambitious deserved to be punished?
I’m of the view that NYSC be replaced with a compulsory one-year military service like it is in Israel, South Korea and other countries.
Kemi’s case is closer to that of Adebayo Shittu, former minister of Communications.
Adebayo did not serve the mandatory one year Youth Service and he did not resign when the issue became public.
He served out his term as minister.
If an x-ray of Pantami’s recent speeches, sermons, and writings, show that he is still in bed with the radical ideology of terrorists, he should resign or be fired by the president.
If they don’t, it is up to him to decide what is best for him and the country.
To those defending Pantami and slamming people calling for his resignation, stop the hypocrisy.
We have not forgotten your calls for the arrest and prosecution of Bishops Oyedepo and Kukah, Pastor Enenche and Apostle Suleiman for incendiary comments.
We must hold people to account for their actions using the same standard.