Isa Ali Ibrahim, also known as Sheik Pantami, who currently serves as the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy drove away AIT/ Raypower and Punch newspaper from the venue of the Commissioning of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) annexe office at Ombura, near Jabi, Abuja.
It’s still not clear why the Minister took such drastic action against the representatives of the free world. Ferociously, he went straight for the microphone to announce they should leave with immediate effect. And they quietly did.
In this, maybe he doesn’t know the details of the implications of his action. In the presence of the President of Nigeria and the general public, he did two major blunders. The most shocking was his unruly attitude and disrespect for the office of the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission. The way and manner the minister was hushing Professor Danbatta while the humble man was delivering his speech were bad enough. It was a total embarrassment.
At a point, the minister took the microphone off the EVC’s mouth. As if that was not enough, he made the event a show of shame and lack of respect for the office of the President of Nigeria. The Minister broke protocol three-time whilst the President, Commander in Chief was seated, to stop the Executive Vice Chairman from reading his speech. He timed him the third time to a point where Professor Umar Danbata was to mention the achievements of the Commission – the ECC project, Pantami stopped him. This, it seems, a glimpse of what he is planning against the EVC, as well as what is going to happen to NCC in the future. An unpalatable one.
It’s not still clear the reason the Minister behaved the way he did. He brought ‘naked politics’ and shamelessness to a public-driven engagement regarding government stewardship on whose account public funds were spent? It was not his personal activity or family ceremony that took place today. It was Nigeria’s.
The NCC Annex, Ombura isn’t a new project. The project was already standing tall in beautiful and perfect finishing, and in use long before Pantami came. The project was done and dusted, when he came he took it over as his. Exactly what he did today.
The beginning of it was in one of his tours around the Commission’s facilities and projects when he saw the gigantic annexe building, his eyes popped. Suddenly he realised how useful the project could be to advance his relationship with the presidential Villa and political career. Then through executive fiat, he renamed it Digital Economy Complex, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
Was the Minister trying to pull the wool on the faces of the President and top government functionaries in presenting another man’s project as his? Or organized an effort in trying to prevent them from ever getting to know the achievements of the current management of NCC? If you ask me I will say, yes! The complex, as learnt, has been converted by him to a ministerial office – to house the office of the minister and top echelon of the Ministry’s Staff. He did that by first, chasing out Diaspora Commission from the complex – whose stay was at the goodwill of the management of NCC.
The NCC annexe complex which he brought the President to commission today, is a project conceived and completed by the Commission.
He stole the glory.
From what happened today, it is obvious that he may be going for something bigger. That is, to take over the Emergency Communication Centres built nationwide by the current NCC management as his project. Before Professor Danbata’s eyes, Pantami will drag the President to the Commissioning.
His intentions are very clear from what happened today. He showed utter dislike for the humble Professor and want to corner his glory and thus preventing him from having a shot at the second tenure.
It is obvious that the President and his handler who were present at the event saw through him. With his kind of arrogant and brash attitude, coupled with gross incompetence, no doubt, if allowed, he would ruin NCC.
By Greg Ofor