The national leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has suspended the caretaker chairman of its Gombe State chapter over a congratulatory letter addressed to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Ali Isa Pantami, on his promotion to the rank of a Professor of Cybersecurity.
Recall that a letter written by the Gombe CAN Secretary, Senior Apostle John Adedigba, on behalf of all the members of the caretaker committee, the body had extolled Dr. Pantami for the feat describing him as a ‘son’.
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Gombe CAN further claimed that Dr. Pantami had achieved a lot in his current position stating that he had made them proud.
However, another letter, signed by the General Secretary of CAN, Joseph Bade Daramola, ordered the dismissal of the Gombe Caretaker chairman.
The National leadership stated that the letter was written without authorisation and clearance undermining the CAN NEC Executive.
The letter reads, “Following the recent publication of your congratulatory message to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, we write to inform you that your actions have generated a lot of concerns amongst members of the Christian Association of Nigeria.
“This action of yours in publishing and release made on behalf of the Association is tantamount to unilateral decision of you and overzealousness on your part, which was done without authorisation and clearance.
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“It is not only provocative but undermines the CAN National Executive Council (NEC) Executive. It does not in any way represent their position.
“In view of the above, you are hereby directed to relinquish your position in Gombe CAN Executive with immediate effect and hand over all CAN’s property to your next in line in your Bloc.
“In future, you are advised to consult and get approval from the Authority of CAN National Level so that WE ALL MAY SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE.”
Reacting, human rights’ activist, Omoyele Sowore wrote, “National CAN has suspended its Gombe Chapter’s caretaker chairman who was induced to write a congratulatory letter to validate Pantami’s professorial fraud.
“Now, who will suspend ATBU’s VC for giving in to pressure to congratulate a PantamiSed FUTO Fraudfessorship.”
The letter by the Gombe chairman, which had caused the controversy had partly read, “We happily rejoice and congratulate our own son and brother Prof Isa Ali Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, MCPN, the Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy on your promotion to the rank of professor of Cyber Security and your two years in office.
“We join you, your family, Gombe State and Nigeria at large to celebrate this promotion, we are proud of you as a son in Gombe State and we pray that it will be useful to Nigerians and humanity at large.”
This is despite the allegations against the Minister of his involvement in terror-linked activities.
“This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria,’’ Pantami was quoted as saying in one of his vicious preaching in the 2000s.
“Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda,” he was quoted to have also said.
In other audio clips that surfaced online, Pantami was also heard as sympathetic to Boko Haram members when delivering sermons at several worship centres in the 2000s.
However, Dr. Pantami claimed he had renounced his radical comments and said his views had changed over time. He said he had in the past 15 years been traversing the country to preach against terrorism.
Despite the Minister’s claim, most Nigerians said the minister ought to have resigned due to public backlash and be investigated by the authorities. Should he fail to resign, some commentators said he ought to be sacked by the President.
But the Presidency, showing support for Dr. Pantami, dismissed the possibility of sacking the controversial Minister because he had allegedly apologised for his radical views.