From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, should resign irrespective of his recent volte-face on his previous support for extremist groups.
The governor described as worrisome the decision of the Federal Government to remain mute amid the raging controversy about the minister’s sympathy for global terrorist groups.
He said in an ideal society, an allegation that the United States of America had placed a serving minister on its watchlist as regards terrorism should jolt any government into action.
He said the minister ought to have resigned from government immediately the information about his extremist views in support of terror groups became a matter of public discourse.
The Rivers governor stated this during a TV interview monitored in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
“If it was really where a government is working, if an American government says your minister is on a watch list, it calls for concern for you to say look there is a problem. The moment a high government official is on a watch list as regards to terrorism, no government can fold its hands and allow it. I don’t understand why a reasonable government will allow such a person to be in the cabinet.”
He said the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government was known for shielding persons of questionable characters, even when the country’s secret service presents overwhelming evidence against such individuals.
“But, you were here when DSS wrote a report against (Ibrahim) Magu. What happened? Look, I have never seen a country that your secret service wrote a report about the nominee of Mr President, questioning his character and the rest, and that he is not appointable. What happened? So, what are you talking about. What removed Magu is power play.”
Governor Wike also took a swipe on the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for not taking stern disciplinary action against former Niger Governor, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, who recently claimed he conspired with others to ensure that President Goodluck Jonathan lost the 2015 presidential election.
Said Wike: “If I was the leadership of the party I would have suspended Aliyu for that comment he made. But, you see nothing will happen. The National Working Committee will not do anything. Why? They need Aliyu to support them.
“I cannot understand why you are a leader, so to speak, you come out and tell the world why you fought your party. I have never seen a thing like this in my life. Assuming you did it, you now want to rub it on them and that nothing will happen.
“If I was the leadership of the party, I would have suspended Aliyu and heavens will not fall. What does he want to achieve. This was 2015, we have adone 2019 election. Jonathan had lost in 2015, why do you come out now to say how you fought him. Look at where we are today. So, you are telling us you made us to be in this position where we are.
“You are telling Nigerians that you are one of those who have kept Nigeria in this state that we are. And then the National working committee will not do anything because Aliyu Babangida is one of the untouchables.”
The governor stressed that as a leading opposition party in Nigeria, the PDP could not afford to accept acts of gross indiscipline and impunity, because it might undermine its chances to wrest power from the APC in 2023.