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​[OPINION] Pantami: Finally, the knives are out

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Pantami and NIPOST 1
Dr. Pantami

BY: Desmond Ekweme

The knives are out. The hangman’s noose has been weaved. The pit is dug. The en​​emies of state are at work. They are poised to strike. They are hell bent on pulling down the system. Their targets are close allies of President Muhammadu Buhari.

What is the bone of contention? What is their grudge or grouse? What do they want? Why are they desperate? Why are they mischievously wicked? Why are they on manhunt of Buhari’s close friends, trusted hands or loyalists?

Simply put, it is all about 2023. The race is on. “Operation bulldozer” may have been secretly launched. It is to bring down all those or anyone likely to be considered by Buhari (in the imaginations or thoughts of the enemies of the system) as a possible successor outside them.

The real enemies of Buhari’s administration are out in a dog eat dog battle. They are not outsiders. They are not members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). They are not from the South East perceived to be foes of Mr. President…and they are not from the military. They are insiders and members of this government…Yes, his government.

They are sworn enemies of Mr. President who have been hiding under the guise of friends, associates and party loyalists cum chieftains. They are now ready to show their true colours as Buhari is gradually winding off his send tenure. Their days of pretence are over. They are now poised for war. They have put on their armour of war. They feel that Buhari may not consider them fit to replace him. They want to create anarchy.

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Three weeks ago, Yours Sincerely did a piece on this space titled Who Is Afraid of Pantami? I tried to paint a picture of the ordeal of a young, vibrant, enterprising, brilliant man in the person of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.

His closeness to Buhari is a pain in the neck of his detractors. Despite his result-oriented reforms in the Communications and Digital Economy ministry, he remains the target of his enemies who indirectly are enemies of Buhari himself.

His sin is why should his name be mentioned among the six persons earlier considered as replacement for the Late Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Abba Kyari. His sin is that he is even being considered in a proposed joint presidential ticket of Osinbajo/Pantami come 2023. His sin is giving Nigerians leverage by reducing the crazy tariffs of telecommunications network providers. His sin is quietly creating employment opportunities for young qualified Nigerians in his ministry

I raised the alarm that Pantami is the target of these highly influential and powerful group who have employed all manners of ancient and modern, analogue and digital….and crude and refined means of nefarious acts including employing a section of the media to pull him down.

Nigerians who have been following the malicious story of Pantami and the purported houses he bought for his three wives must have understood the rational, sense, motive, mindset, target and intension of its sponsors. Sheer wickedness, cheap blackmail and mere witch-hunting.

Nigerians should wonder when it has become a crime for a Muslim to marry three wives? Nigerians should wonder why the wives of the Minister should be dragged into the acquisition of properties? Of course, their story will not sell if they fail to attach the wives angle to it. Nigerians should wonder why owning properties if true becomes a crime especially if the said properties were not corruptly acquired.

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But ironically, the man says, the properties are not his. He added that since he became a minister he has not bought any property in Abuja or elsewhere. Yet, despite this clarity, many are forced to believe that the properties are his even when the architect that designed one of the properties has confirmed that Pantami is not the owner.

But is it a crime if a minister legitimately acquires a property or properties without tampering with public funds or misappropriating funds under his or her care? Are all properties acquired by public office holders gotten through embezzlement of public funds? If yes, is it no longer the duty of anti-graft agencies to investigate?

Are the sponsors of this malicious report playing the role of whistleblowers? Has any petition been written against the Minister in connection with missing funds in his ministry? So what is or are the basis for this report? These and many more are the questions well-meaning Nigerians should ask the sponsors of the report and the medium or reporter(s).

Perhaps the reporter(s) should furnish Nigerians with a dossier of all the properties and family background of all the cabinet members of Buhari’s administration or government. Picking on Pantami alone to discuss and disclose his number of wives is not only an amateurish job, it is equally a myopic, naive and childish act….and as well a clear witch-hunting exercise especially in a situation when and where there is nothing negative to say or write about him.

Mr. President should be watchful as his second term cruises very fast thus, approaching 2023. The knives are out. His loyalists are targets. His party men are his foes. The spoilers are at work if not at war. They want to wreck the sailing ship. If they don’t get it, no one else should. They are desperate predators out to feast on loyalists of Mr. President as potential preys.

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Mr. President should beware of the Isle of March! He should equally warn the enemies to leave Pantami alone! The enemies are within his government!

*Desmond Ekweme wrote from Abuja

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