The Presidency has declared its support for the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami.
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There have been calls for Pantami to resign because of his past statements and actions showing his support for Islamic extremist views.
The presidency described the call for Pantami’s resignation as an orchestrated attempt to “cancel” him.
In a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency alleged that the recent calls for the sack or resignation of the minister is being sponsored by the opposition and some unnamed Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies.
According to the statement, Pantami made enemies because he tried to put Nigeria first and had initiated plans and policies that would profit the public.
It acknowledged that the comments made by Pantami were wrong and in bad taste but said the minister had repented from the views and also apologised, adding that they were youthful errors.
The statement reads: “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.
“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 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.”