Former Education Minister, Obiageli Ezekwesili has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari for supporting the embattled Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami.
Recall that presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, had said that there was a “cancel campaign” against the minister for holding views in the past that he has since renounced and apologised for.
In a statement on Thursday, the presidency added that it was supporting the minister despite widespread calls for his removal.
“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.
“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 Nigerians.
“The Minister has, rightly, apologized 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.
“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 statement read in part.
But in a series of tweets via her Twitter handle on Friday, Ezekwesili said the presidency backing Pantami shows President Buhari’s stance on terrorism.
She wrote, “In that singular act of siding with his Minister of Communication, @NGRPresident @MBuhari
actually conveyed a message on his view of terrorism. Nigerians now know that his views align with that of his Minister.
“It is now left to Nigerians to convey whether we agree with them.
“I do not agree with @NGRPresident @MBuhari and his Minister of Communication that any citizen can get away with such bloodcurdling rhetorics the latter made through the years.
“Worse that one who swore an oath to public office said and did the things @NigeriaGov has waved off.
“Yesterday’s action by our President was an anti-climax. He has persisted in badly managing our country’s diversity.
“Nigeria cannot at this stage avoid a genuine conversation about its Future. The signs are all too obvious for all to see and act on.
“Citizens are the only legitimate center that can midwife credible dialogue. Citizens have to step up.
“Nigeria cannot at this stage avoid a genuine conversation about its future. The signs are all too obvious for all to see. The people of Nigeria are due for a Conversation.”