Would they ever let Pantami be? By Sunny Ogefere
The recent attack on Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Ali Pantami bring to the fore the unnecessary bickering on things that can pass of for nonentities and frivolities. Issues of premium importance and great relevance like fluctuating oil price, rising food prices, and electronic tariff, among others are ignored.
While other nations have since been focusing their attention on empowering their citizens for economic growth, discourse on a personality is pushed to the front burner here, in our clime.
The Communications and Digital Economy Minister’s case is more worrisome with incessant attacks on his person.
But, my question have always been: “Why Pantami?” when he is not the only public servant in Nigeria. Is it because he rose to prominence as a result of being a renowned Islamic Scholar? Why not look at his portfolio and job schedule to see if he is actually performing or not?
Are these people blabbering over every matter that involves Pantami to shield his unprecedented achievements as a Minister, from the public? It could either be yes or no, but certainly these disgruntled elements have made in publicly known that they are executing the hatchet job of assassinating the stellar character and distinguished personality of Pantami, apparently because of the Minister’s sterling profile.
Last year, these same elements accused him of purchasing multimillion naira mansions in Abuja which turned out be untrue. They later leveled him as terrorists sympathizer though no right thinking person will tag Prof. Pantami as extremist, unless he has sinister motive to achieve one thing or the other.
But need they be reminded that Prof. Pantami was once in the fore front of debating with Boko Haram extremists, destroying their views using the true context of Islam. He challenged the then Boko Haram leaders in debates, actions that discouraged thousand Nigerian youths from joining the dreaded group.
His recent appointment as a Professor of Cyber Security by the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), opened another avenue for these agents of mischief to resurface with their axes to mob him.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) branch of FUTO findings indicated that the appointment followed due process, while the national body of the association said it will conduct investigation on the issue again. So, why not allow ASUU to come up with its findings?
Thanks to Pantami, hundreds of ICT Innovation and Incubation Parks, Digital Economy Centres, Community IT Centres, Emergency Call Centres, and e-Libraries have been deployed in various institutions, communities, schools across the country.
The Communications and Digital Economy Ministry has also secured a mutual partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Coding for Employment programme, and Huawei for ICT Academy Telecom and Information Technology Skills programme.
Through these programmes, the Ministry is committed to developing the capacity of Nigerians in order to build innovative solutions to tackle challenges within our community.
Another initiative of Pantami’s Ministry is the Government Service Portal (GSP) which aims to provide citizens, businesses and non-citizens with easy access to various government services through a one-stop government portal.
This is set to improve government processes, save citizen’s travel time to government offices, and ensure round-the-clock access to government services, thereby revolutionizing efficiency, convenience, and effectiveness.
Under Prof Pantami’s supervision, ICT has increasingly been recognised as the key enabler in promoting knowledge-based economic growth, creating jobs and providing access to information and knowledge in Nigeria.
The likes of Prof. Pantami, should be encouraged, emboldened and cheered for the wonderful job he has been doing since his appointment as Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.
Nigerians are living witnesses to testify on the positive he is making in the ICT sector. He has re-jigged the Ministry and realigned its work schedule, encouraged mutual support and shared goals, cooperation and provides workplace synergy among the Agencies.
With this, Agencies and Parastatals are able to feel a greater sense of accomplishment, collectively responsible for outcomes achieved and feed individuals with the incentive to perform at higher levels.
Prof. Pantami has become the steering wheel leading the Federal Government on strategic implementation of programmes aimed at diversifying the economy.
Prof. Pantami’s uncommon determination, geared towards ensuring that Nigeria attains the required level in Global Information Technology Development Index cannot be overemphasized. He is leading the rescue mission of Nigeria’s transition from natural resource economy to ICT-based economy.
Unique Street, Owerri, Imo State