President Buhari, Isa Pantami Is a Reality you must Face, this is Beyond ‘My brother’s Keeper’

Source: Prof. John Egbeazien Oshodi
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President Muhammadu Buhari welcome back to Nigeria where you promised continuity after been away for two weeks relaxation and getting medical therapy in London.

Not much has changed in terms of our social, political, monetary, economic and security miseries but you now have another much worse one that will keep your administration under public worry and international concern. You cannot just wish this one away, not this time because the invisible and visible cost to our young democracy will be too much.

I am referring to Dr. Isa Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communication and Digital Economy whose weird case now conjures-up images of an apparent terrorist in your administration.

I hope you have the mental and physical rigor to keep pulling through all these issues but this very one wahala or conundrum could cause irreparable damage between your presidency and the Nigeria people, and the superpowers of the world.

There is now an alleged connection between your presidency and al-Qaeda not because of you but due to the name Dr. Isa Pantami.

Dr. Pantami in the eyes of many Nigerians and the free world is now being perceived as a confessed terrorist or terrorist sympathizer. And here is why Sir.

I know you will remember this sense of history. Here it is.

On September 11, 2001 terrorists hijacked four U.S. planes, crashing two into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, New York while a third hits the U.S. Pentagon a few minutes later. The fourth plane, targeted to hit the White House, crashes in a field close to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers attacked the terrorists. The death toll, including the 19 hijackers, was almost 3,000.

The attacks were so shocking to Americans and the world, because of a terror scene Jihad against the West, that undermined the US and the entire global economy.

Osama bin Laden, founder of the rebel Islamist organization al-Qaeda, mastermind numerous terrorist attacks against the United States and today, in your administration is a self-confessed sympathizer of Osama bin Laden. Thank Allah for technology and the social media for the disclosure.

The Afghanistan War began in 2001 and Iraqi war stated in 2003, all triggered by Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network of Islamic extremists and Salafist jihadists.

The two wars to some extent continue especially the Afghanistan war, and thousands of American and other lives from different nations have been lost.

I understand in the name of the Islamic doctrine, you are your brother’s keeper, but at this time you are likely to be unable to maintain this responsibility of being each other's keeper as you will now see.

In his own words, Pantami prayed in the following manner, “Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and to al-Qaeda’ (Allahumma ’nṣur Ṭālibān wa-tanẓīm al-Qā‘ida).”

In your administration presently is a self-admitted sympathizer of terrorist groups, Taliban, and Al-Qaeda.

In one of Pantami’s responses to questions asked as you will find when you hear the audio recordings, he said this about Osama bin Laden’s “killing of innocent unbelievers,” “I still consider him as a better Muslim than myself.”

In a pointed way, Pantami, declared “We are all happy whenever unbelievers are being killed, but the Sharia does not allow us to kill them without a reason.”. I am trying to guess what your Special Advisers, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu are telling you now regarding this. I will never know. But I hope it is the whole reality. As this is an emotional and security matter of national and international dimensions.

President Buhari, this is an official in your administration who is in charge of the digital and data information of all secular, customary, Christian and Muslim Nigerians. Just think about that for one minute.

President Buhari, in your position as an American trained military intelligence and leadership specialist, I wonder what will hit your mind when you hear the following: “Consistent with our standard posture, we can neither confirm nor deny whether an individual is on the watch list.” This was the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) response to the request sent to it by Leadership newspaper.

Such response could have raised the possibility that your Minister, Pantami could probably be in a huge amount of trouble by apparently being on the US terror watch list.

In order words, he is apparently linked to terrorism and may be under surveillance by American intelligence authorities.

President Buhari, this is the official presently in your administration who is privy to intricate national security and intelligence issues as they relate to all Nigerians including citizens referred to as “infidels.”

President Buhari, it was around this time in 2020, that your administration agreed that targeting Christians and Christian villages by Boko Haram is an attempt to spark a religious war and throw the country into turmoil. Even Lai Mohammed, Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture said some time ago, “Boko Haram is targeting individual Christians. In doing so, their target is all Nigerians, and their goal is to divide Christian brother against Muslim brother.”

Yet, President Buhari, we now have Pantami whose words are antithetical to this mission.

Apart from these significant and scary security concerns, Pantami appears to have gender related challenges when it pertains to gender fairness and sensitivity. I am talking about women.

While Islam is generally considered a fair religion; but for Moslems like Pantami, a hardened Muslim as the audio recordings revealed appears to take an extreme view of Islam, as it relates to women's submissiveness, restraint, and subservience.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Ms. Sadiya Umar Farouq, once reportedly openly wept after accusing Pantami of disgracing her before you and other ministers mostly males, during the weekly Federal Executive Council.

Pantami had allegedly evicted Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) Chairperson, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa and her staff out of an office space by using armed security personnel to run them off.

Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa, in a social media post, indicated that Pantami disrespected Ms. Farouq because “she is a woman.”

I do not want to portray Pantami as one with terrorist “personality” as there is no “terrorist personality” but based on some noted and reported behaviors of Pantami some his ways look a lot like terrorist like behaviors and expressions, as in lack of empathy, hostility, insensitivity, defensiveness, hurtfulness, unjust, extremism, and intolerable. That does not mean he lacks some smooth sides.

These behaviors are usually traced to childhood and teenage years, so one tends to see these persons later carrying feelings and thoughts of perceived injustice, need for identity, and need for belonging, which are common liabilities among terrorist related behaviors.

Mr. President, Pantami, finally denounced Al Qaeda and the Taliban after back-to-back and uncoordinated resistances, excuses, or defenses. “My personal driver is Mai Keffi, a practicing Christian. I also have a Christian, Ms. Nwosu, as my secretary , has threatened to sue some media platforms…"major publishers will meet my lawyers in the court on this defamation of character."…“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…”My lectures against the doctrines and all other evil people have been available for over 15 years, including debates that endangered my life against many criminals in Nigeria”…“If you can't understand Hausa, get an objective Hausa speaker to translate for you objectively.”

President Buhari, till this very minute the now known upsetting and traumatic images of September 11th attacks still exist in the psyche of many Americans, and the name of one Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab also remains in their memory. Abdulmutallab was popularly referred to as the "Underwear Bomber", a Nigerian-born terrorist who, at the age of 23, confessed to and was convicted of attempting to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board Northwest Airlines Flight en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan, on Christmas Day, 2009.

Abdulmutallab, a gifted and highly intelligent university graduate had ties to Al-Qaeda. He was sentenced to 4 life terms plus 50 years and incarcerated in America.

I bring up the name not to compare Pantami with him but to remind all of us the legacy of the 911 attack by Pantami’s fan, Osama bin Laden who was killed in 2011. He once declared that “it is the duty of Muslims to prepare as much force as possible to terrorize the enemies of God.”

While I do not personally or professionally see Pantami as dangerous since I have not done any direct psychological testing of him. The perception of many citizens in Nigeria and around the world is that Pantami is a "danger" to public trust if he remains in office.

I am not in the job of firing or making people jobless, that is up to you and the people of Nigeria.

No matter what happen to Pantami, given his confessional expressions around the condition of terrorism, I strongly suggest he engage in deradicalization therapy no matter where he is, a process of moderating one's inner views, particularly extremist ideologies, and while on this thinking pattern, he should partake in gender-sensitive therapy to help him deal more positively with the likes of his indicated female colleagues.

President Buhari these are serious, frighteningly, and unstable times in Nigeria with all the intense matters surrounding ethnic marginalization, religious prejudice, unequal political appointments, and economic insecurity, and now this one with Dr. Pantami. Our nation is on edge. It will be suicidal to pretend about it.

Prof. John Egbeazien Oshodi, an American based Police/Prison Scientist and Forensic/Clinical/Legal Psychologist. A government Consultant on matters of forensic-clinical adult/child psychological services in the USA; Chief Educator and Clinician at the Transatlantic Enrichment and Refresher Institute, an Online Lifelong Center for Personal, Professional and Career Development. The Founder of the Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi Foundation, Center for Psychological Health and Behavioral Change in African settings especially. In 2011, he introduced the State-of-the-Art Forensic Psychology into Nigeria through the Nasarawa State University where he served in the Department of Psychology as an Associate Professor. The Development Professor and International Liaison Consultant at the African University of Benin, and a Virtual Faculty at the ISCOM University, Benin of Republic. Author of over 35 academic publications/creations, at least 200 public opinion writeups on African issues, and various books.

Prof. Oshodi was born in Uromi, Edo State, Nigeria to parents with almost 40 years of police/corrections service, respectively. Periodically visits home for scholastic and humanitarian works. [email protected]

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