Sequel to the furore over past pronouncements of the Minister of Communications and Digital Planning, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami and the confidence-imbuing statement issued on him by the presidency, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on Nigerians to allow the country to move on.
The call was made on Tuesday 27th April, 2021 by MURIC’s director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, in a statement circulated to the media.
“In a tweet dispatched yesterday 26th April, 2021, Dr. Ben Gbenro (@bengbenro) opened another vista to the Pantami discourse. He disclosed how he was trained in martial arts and weapon handling for the church in the past but that he no longer subscribes to the idea. ‘I was once an impressionable young man. I was a member of CAN brigade trained in martial arts and weapon handling to fight for d Church in late 80s & early 90s, I was a strong advocate of Nigeria’s break up in mid 90s, today, I no longer subscribe to any of these ideologies.’ (https://twitter.com/bengbenro/status/1383678818569789450?s=20)
“This is a very honest disclosure of one’s past which no longer has any influence on the speaker. We expect Dr. Pantami’s critics to have a better understanding of the Pantami affair if they can juxtapose his own case with that of Dr. Ben Gbenro who sent the above tweet.
“Although today was born from the wombs of yesterday, it can still effectively sustain an independent life and character which is completely different from the previous day. History is a continuum. It has a remote past, an immediate past and a present. You cannot amputate the remote past for use as parameter on the actions of today without considering the immediate past and the present. Otherwise you would have mutilated history and done tons of injustice to homo sapien.
“What the minister’s critics tried to do was to hold on tenaciously to his remote past of twenty five (25) or more years ago and to cut off his immediate past and the present. The radical statements were uttered in the remote past when he was still easily impressionable. He made up for these more than ten (10) years ago by condemning violence and terrorism. He also challenged the tgerrorista to debates at that time, and actually engaged them. At present, he is into a project that is expected to debilitate terrorism and criminality (NIN) and the terrorists themselves have threatened to kill him because of it.
“It is not healthy for our country to find that a large chunk of his critics come from one part of the country and from a particular faith while his supporters come mainly from another part of the country and from the other religion. It does not portray us as people who are objective.
“The desperate attempts to nail him made by critics who go as far as circulating fake documents are ludicrous. How far can we go to ensure that we implicate an innocent man? When will Nigerians learn to allow meritocracy? When shall we stop sacrificing excellence on the altar of mediocrity? Who did this to Nigeria?
“We call on Nigerians to allow the country to move forward. We have dissipated too much energy on this debate. It is time to move on. In the words of Richard Paul Evans, ‘I think the secret to a happy life is a selective memory. Remember what you are most grateful for and quickly forget what you are not.’ According to Raquel Cepeda, ‘For some, excavating the past isn’t an adventure, it’s more akin to tearing a Band-Aid off an open wound.’
“MURIC commends the presidency for its bold statement on the matter. We can watch open debates and listen to criticism without feeling hurt. But there comes a time when the leadership must demonstrate indisputable clairvoyance and guide the citizenry to objectivity and what is best for the nation.”