President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces
Aso Rock Villa, 3 Arms Zone
Garki – Abuja
Federal Republic of Nigeria
We have observed keenly the events of past weeks concerning the allegations levelled against the incumbent Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami. We have tried as much as possible to listen to arguments in favour of and against his sack as a Minister of the Federal Republic.
It is in view of the foregoing that we have taken a position on the matter based on the various allegations as stated below:
ü In April 2021, a publication by an online media company linked Pantami to the then leader of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf as allies, and that Pantami has been listed by the American Government under its terrorist watch list.
ü There are series of audio and video messages of Pantami, which has gone viral on social media, in which he publicly supported the activities of Taliban and Al-Qaida.
ü There has been a steady stream of new evidence of the views he held in the past and the latest are documents that appeared online recently. The documents are purportedly from a 2010 meeting he chaired at the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), a top Islamic body, where it was agreed that Christians should be prohibited from building churches in city centres across northern Nigeria, which has a majority Muslim population although millions of Christians also live there.
ü Among other things, he also said, “Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and to al-Qaeda,” and, “This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria.” In another, he reportedly endorsed the killing of “unbelievers.”
ü In a 2006 speech, Mr Pantami publicly offered his condolences after the death of al-Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
ü In one audio clip, where he talks about the Nigerian army’s war against Boko Haram, he appears to be on the verge of tears as he passionately describes the militants as “our Muslim brothers” who did not deserve to be “killed like pigs”.
ü In another audio recording, he declares he is always happy when infidels are massacred.
ü Audio and video recordings have also emerged of Mr Pantami’s fiery prayers and sermons at different stages of his career as an imam. In one sermon he volunteered to lead a force of the Sharia police, Hisbah, to Shendam in Plateau state, where there had been a deadly religious conflict, to fight in defence of the Muslims. So many more extremist views have been attributed to Pantami.
He has not denied the authenticity of these texts, audio and video clips. In his defence, Pantami argues that he has repented; that he erred as an innocent youth.
After the backlash and calls for his resignation continued, Pantami disavowed the statements on April 17, saying “some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time, and I have changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity.”
Mr. President, we wish to state unequivocally that the fact that Pantami has developed the level of orientation that made him uttered those grievous words and statements as stated above, cannot be wished away by mere recanting which some people in your cabinet are claiming he has done.
Ideological issues are ingrained in the mind of those who pursue it. Even when they denounce it they are not to be trusted because they can always go back to that conviction that led them into accepting that extremism and for somebody who has said that people should be killed and that he is happy when he sees that and who has supported terrorists in the past, we want to believe that it cannot get out of his mind so easily.
Moreover, due to the sensitiveness of the Ministry that he is supervising, he can provide information about anybody to the terrorists, because terrorists don’t work with their foot soldiers alone, they also work with those who pretend to be part and parcel of the decent society and Patami can be some of those conduit pipe through which information are streamed to them.
Furthermore, in the area of the security system, the ministry also could have a link with the way security communication are being organised and deployed and Pantami could sabotage the process by facilitating access to the terrorists to kind of jam the communication system of the military and other security agencies in the country.
Your Excellency, we are of the opinion that Pantami is a dangerous person that ought not to be a minister of the Federal Republic if all the agencies of government that screened ministerial nominees including the Senate and the State Security Service carried out their due diligence before he was sworn in as a Minister.
A situation whereby the Senate would ask a Ministerial Nominee to take a bow showed the level of mediocrity among those in government considering the fact that governance is a serious administrative endeavour guided by international best practices. He is indeed one of the tares sown by the enemies of the country in your cabinet when Your Excellency was asleep. His continued presence in your cabinet is like leaving a venomous snake under the bed and someone goes to sleep or leaving a spark of fire on the roof and someone goes to sleep. He is dangerous to the peace and security of Nigeria, he is a security risk to the nation. Even if he has denounced his extremist orientation, our mind would only be at rest if he is removed.
Therefore, we are aligning with calls on your office to immediately swing into action by removing and sacking Isa Pantami as Minister of Communication and Digital Economy now and also ask the Department of State Services to investigate him!
On Monday, 9th April, 2018, the Nigerian and international community of activists were jolted with rude shock of sudden death of Comrade Olawale Salami familiarly called by all as the ‘Don’. A perplexing death coming almost immediately after the celebration of his fiftieth years of sojourn on mother earth on Saturday, 24th March, 2018.
He was not the first Nigerian of the Leftist persuasion to transit to the beyond, nor would his demise be the last of his ideological school of thought. However, by his living, he demonstrated what it truly means to live honestly and in service to humanity. In simpler terms, he spent his entire short adult life trying to make the world as he knew it, a better place for generations yet unborn.
Born in the late 1960’s, at a time when the country was trying to find her footing amongst other nations of the world, having secured her ‘flag independence’ and lowered the Union Jack, less than 10 years ago, and also witnessed its first political disruption through a military coup de tat that later snowballed into an unnecessary civil war leading to the death of over one million Nigerians on both divides, he grew up with an experience of a country that was so full of potentialities and possibilities that, as at her independence in October, 1960, Nigeria was rated as one of 10 most viable and potentially great nations for the future. To a discerning and impassioned mind, this was no surprise, considering the fact that NIGERIA, with a population of about 45 million people had a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD 4.196bn (Four Billion American Dollars) while China that was grouped together with Nigeria as one of future prospects had a GDP of USD69bn (Sixty Nine Billion American Dollars) with a population of 662, 070,000 (Six Hundred and Sixty Two Million) people.
On political fronts, though Nigeria is currently enjoying almost 20 years of uninterrupted civil rule with a neo-liberal, pseudo capitalist economy that barely allows majority of the people to eke out a living while more than over 75% (Seventy Five percent) of her Universities, Polytechnics’ graduates are without jobs and no much prospects of any, the last elections held in the country have attracted more than 5, 000 litigations, signaling one of most contentious elections ever held in the country, whereas China with a mixture of its Communist and neo-liberal economic system has taken majority of its citizens out of poverty zone and poised to do more for its people in the future.
In questing for a better future with assurances that should enable Nigeria to take her rightful place in the comity of nations, Wale joined many other Nigerians from different walks of life to agitate for a system change that could only be a product of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) that must be truly sovereign, in deed and in truth. His conviction was hinged on the belief that the Neo-Liberal economy being imposed on Nigerians is incapable of eradicating poverty amongst the mass and allowing the country to achieve true greatness on independent terms. All these and many more symbolize what Wale Salami, the Don of Popular Struggle, represents in his lifetime by his pro-people, Socialist ideological bend. He strongly believes that until our economic system was able to completely take humanity out of poverty range, the struggle for a better life must continue.
Comrade Don was a great loss to the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) because even with his intimidating revolutionary credentials, he was one of the earliest compatriots to believe in the need for the establishment of CACOL even when a host of others never gave the then Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders a chance to survive. He helped CACOL at that initial stage to manage its online contact and correspondences. Don served as volunteer worker at various capacities even before, as fate would later compel it, that he had to be a full-time staff of the organisation wherein he was serving as the Director of Research, Programmes and Documentation (DRP). He turned out to be the most diligent and committed worker, and the intellectual backbone of the Centre until death snatched him away on that black Monday, the 9th day of April, 2018. Whatever may be the plans of death, history has shown us that no revolutionary activist die with his ideas. Don’s ideas shall definitely outlive him in our hearts and actions
ADIEU, OUR INIMITABLE COLLEAGUE!
ADIEU, A TRAILBLAZER IN THE CRUSADE TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE!
The Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has welcomed the news of the eventual passage of 2018 budget by both chambers of the National Assembly with bated relief and cautious optimism.
CACOL Executive Chairman, Mr. DeboAdeniran, noted that the national budget is finally seeing the light of day almost five months behind schedule with N9.12tn (Nine trillion, One Hundred and twelve Million Naira) approved as against an initial proposal of N8.612tn (Eight Trillion, Six Hundred and twelve Million Naira) submitted on November 7, 2017, by the Presidency.
In same statement by the CACOL Chairman noted that the budget document shows provision for debt servicing of about 23% (Twenty Three percent) of the entire budget and reflected on how “this calls for a serious rethink in our debts accumulation, management and dispensation if we were to ever break from a depressing state of national dependency and underdevelopment”. While agreeing that borrowing for infrastructural development and other avenues that could rejig productivity and self-reliance are not condemnable, Mr Adeniran noted that “the resultant effects of such debt profile should be made manifest within a reasonable length of time while conscious efforts are made towards a healthier economy through bigger Gross Domestic Product (GDP), National Security of people and their properties and other veritable indices of growth and development”.
Mr. Debo Adeniran further said, “CACOL greets the increase in budget volume for the Health sector by a significant shift, especially the final approval of 1% of the overall budget voted towards primary health care provision, which is long overdue. However, the organization decries the embarrassing low budget allocation to Educational sector. Though the N541.2b (Five Hundred and Forty One billion, Two Hundred Million Naira) allocation seems a significant increase from less than N400b allocated to same sector last year, the import of less than 7% macro allocation pales when compared to 26% (Twenty six percent) UNESCO recommendation to education.”
“Also, Nigeria’s allocation to Educational sector has consistently remained one of the lowest even in the West African sub-region with countries like Cote D’ivoire allocating 25 percent, Ghana- 23%, Cape Verde -13 percent, Benin Republic- 15%, etc. On face value, this gives a veiled abhorrence to Education in an age where it is generally agreed that education remains the key to individual and national rebirth, i.e., growth, cohesion and development”, the CACOL Chairman opined.
Advising on the need to fast-track the implementation of the budget due to the late passage of the law, Debo Adeniran averred, “Due to the importance of budget as a veritable mechanism of financial interpretation of and list of to-do by the Government, we call for speedy Presidential assent and strict adherence to its faithful implementation by all organs of government. We also hope and pray for a more robust and speedy passage of our national budget in future”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has urged the nation’s Anti-Corruption agencies to be more diligent in the execution of their duties.
The call was made by the group in a press release issued today by its Executive Chairman Mr Debo Adeniran.
Reacting to the failure of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and Independent and Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission, ICPC, to arraign Senator Jonah Jang and Yusuf Pam before The Plateau State High Court on Monday, the CACOL boss expressed the group’s displeasure with the turn of events leading to the delay in the prosecution of the former governor and his suspected accomplice.
Media reports had indicated that the EFCC’s reason for not producing Senator Jang who has been in its custody for over 168 hours was due to logistical challenges while a court clerk who was queried by the presiding judge on the matter said ICPC officials refused to pick their calls when attempts were made to contact them through telephone.
CACOL’s boss further observed that the average Nigerian was aware of the “African Time Syndrome” in which important arrangements and commitments are left pending until the eleventh hour.
Mr. Adeniran opined that the inability of the EFCC in carrying out its duties effectively can also be on account of inadequate preparedness as the excuses given by the EFCC could have been easily avoided or managed if effective preparations were carried out.
According to him: “While the Centre was not pleased with the delay in prosecution and trial of the Former Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, and his accomplices, it would be an unforgivable offence to condemn outrightly all the Anti-Graft Commissions for this uncalculated mistake. The EFCC’s and other various Anti-Graft Commissions and Agencies have been quite pro-active in their contributions to the Anti-Corruption Struggles and their commendable efforts are evident in the various victories that have been recorded in the diligent prosecution and convictions of corrupt individuals in recent times.”
The group therefore urged the Anti-Graft Commissions to be diligent in their activities towards curbing Corruption and all its vices.
According to CACOL: “In the same light, we call on the Government to be more responsive and supportive in rendering assistance required to ensure the fight against corruption is fought holistically.”
Opening Remarks by Comrade Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman, Centre For Anti-Corruption And Open Leadership, CACOL, at the Exploratory Conference on the Lagos Open Parliament (Part four), LOP-4, held on 3 May, 2018 at the RIGHTS HOUSE, 48, Adeniyi Jones Street, Off Oba Akran Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos
I, on behalf of the entire members of the Centre For Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, am glad to welcome you all to this event. We deeply appreciate the honour you bestowed on us as demonstrated by the timely arrival of everyone here today, for this Exploratory Conference; a key component of the process that will culminate in our periodic Publication called the ‘Lagos Open Parliament, LOP’. We say, a big thank you to all for coming.
Majority of us here today, are conversant with the LOP and can simply aver that, “there goes CACOL again, doing what they know how to do best”. But some are probably just getting to know about the LOP as a Project of our Centre for the first time. It thus becomes imperative to give a background on what the LOP is all about. I therefore crave your indulgence to briefly do so.
The LOP, as a project of CACOL, focuses on the periodic analysis of government’s general performance in Lagos State. The programme utilizes public and media assessments’ of government’s performance including field work (empirical and practical assessments). The research strategy deploys government activities with the goal of ensuring transparency and accountability. The tool includes questionnaires, interviews, news analysis, visual investigations involving the usage of videos and photographs etc.
This exploratory meeting involves gathering of citizens from all local governments in Lagos State to give individual and collective opinions on governance in Lagos State as it affects budgetary implementation and to advise if the tools used and the data collated so far is adequate for such assessment, and if not adequate, this conference is meant to advise on other plausible means of assessing budgetary implementation in Lagos State.
The present LOP is the fourth in the series; the first and second editions were published in 2012 and 2014 respectively during the administration of the immediate past governor of Lagos state. The third edition was done in 2016 during the tenure of the present governor Mr Akinwumi Ambode. The present edition, LOP 4, currently under processing is the second under this administration. It is intended to assess budgetary implementation in Lagos State within the last two years. It is also to serve as an avenue to find out areas that we ought to assess and which we are yet to, as well as a channel to find out if there are areas we have over-assessed that the Lagos public would want us to adjust. This is with a view to ascertaining what the expectations of citizens are so that the State Government can make additional efforts towards meeting them.
We therefore, ask everyone here, to mobilize his or her compatriots towards indentifying the projects we are going to mention here and others that you know of that the Government is embarking on in your area and might not have been captured by what we have compiled so far.
Since our research strategy utilizes different tools to carry out what we consider to be self-assigned patriotic task of monitoring government activities; including questionnaires, interviews, news analysis, visual investigations involving usage of videos and photographs etc., we want you to utilize all the channels that are open to us to give us feedback, so that your contribution will be part and parcel of the final compilation that is going to be published as a booklet called LAGOS OPEN PARLIAMENT 4:
Everybody here is expected to respond to a questionnaire right here and whatever your individual input through the questionnaire shall be computed with the one we have earlier gathered. We also expect you to take some copies of the questionnaire of which photocopies you can also make for other compatriots back home, so they can also respond in their own way and you can transmit them back to us through electronic media if physical return of them may be difficult for you. The electronic links to the LOP-4 questionnaire are: https://goo.gl/forms/EAXMlEVPUlKZRH5C3, #
The LOP, as a Project of our Centre, was conceived to be done annually but dearth of fund and hands, it has not been easy to meet such annual target. For this therefore, we solicit everyone’s cooperation in our efforts to make our government more accountable, more responsible, more responsive to the citizenry who are the original owners of the instrument of governing that is entrusted to the government for public good.
I want to conclude by thanking you all again for honouring our invitation. Please we encourage us all to participate in the deliberations which we promise to be very incisive. We also urge you all to be diligent and candid in your responses to the questionnaires which is meant to enhance true assessment of infrastructural development of our State.
Keynote address by Comrade Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman of Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL at the Summit on Civic Education #EkitiVote2018 organised by Ekiti Project Vote 2018 at Christ School Alumni Hall, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria on 22 February, 2018
I must express my delight and appreciation for the honour and privilege of being Chairman/Keynote Speaker at this all important and very auspicious Summit on Civic Education organized by #EkitiVote2018. I am truly humbled and doubly honoured as I have also been nominated for the esteemed ‘The 2018-2019 Ekiti Project Vote Role Model /Ambassador Award’, just as I thank the organisers for deeming me worthy of this honour.
The significance of today’s event at such a crucial and decisive period when our country, Nigeria is preparing for yet another set of elections coming up between 2018 and 2019 cannot be overemphasized considering that the coming electoral processes present another opportunity for Nigerians to decide those that would govern them in the nearest future through the ballot.
Our Vote, Our future
The theme of the Summit “Ekiti 2018: Our Vote Our Future” is very apt based on the nexus it highlights; that is the connectivity between voting in the present and the socio-political and economic consequences on the society in future. As they say the people deserve the kind of leadership get because they through their votes establish a social contract between them and those that govern.
The importance of voting as a civic responsibility is paramount to the success of democracy as it is the only legitimate way to participate in deciding how governments emerge and the means through which the people can take control of their socio-economic destiny indirectly through their elected representatives. By engaging in civic responsibility, citizens ensure and uphold certain democratic values enshrined in the founding document, that is, the constitution of the country.
The voting process empowers and grants the people the right to voice their opinion, and agree with or disapprove of the actions taken by the stewards of public trust, who we help put into office to represent us. Many people do not exercise this right yet they will bash, ridicule, make declarations about and slander the people elected into office and the government itself and ultimately condemn themselves to a fate of ‘suffering and smiling’.
It is instructive to highlight that with the experience of recent elections, particularly the 2015 general elections, the chaos that hitherto characterized our electoral system have been greatly diminished whereby the votes of the people are evidently counting as the country’s democratization process deepens.
If as a people we are worried about the trajectory and direction of our country, if we are concerned about our fate as a people; then we must bring down the walls of apathy by shunning petty sulking and complaining, we should instead take action by performing our civic responsibilities.
We must accept that the present in terms of governance performance is as a result of the choices we made in the past elections in same the way our future socio-economically will be determined by our voting patterns in the oncoming elections.
It is based on the foregoing that civil populace must be enlightened on the consequences of their actions or inactions as far as carrying out their civic responsibility of voting is concerned particularly.
It therefore behove on the civil society organizations, community based organizations, political parties and relevant government agencies especially the National Orientation Agency, NOA and the Independent National Election Commission, INEC to make concerted efforts in the civic education of the people. Efforts such as this summit and other strategic tools must be deployed in reaching the minds of the people achieve a populace that is at all times conscious of their civic responsibilities.
Since the return to democracy in 1999, less than 40% of registered voters [28 million out of 58 million in 2015]; meaning less than 20% of our total population have been deciding our fate as a nation through their votes in elections! With less than 20% of the population that have been voting; the reality is that the winners of the [presidential] elections have been elected by less than 10% of the population [in 2015, the winner of the election had less than 15 million votes out of a population of more than 160 million in total]. With our population being very youthful, the number of registered voters in Nigeria should be within the range of 90 million to 100 million people!
The implication of all these is that only a minority of our population has been participating in elections, even worse, is that our leaders have been elected by an even a smaller minority of our population.
We must wake our people from their sleepless slumbers; we must facilitate a qualitative and quantitative collective consciousness that would enhance the participation of the silent majority. It is such a consciousness that can galvanize people to getting registered on the voters register; getting their PVCs; participating in the campaigns by interrogating the candidates and parties with the coming elections.
Quintessentially, it is significant to point out that routine election as a democratic practice does not necessarily translate to collective control of the socio-economic existence of the people. Even though our constitution provides for government to ensure the socio-economic rights of the people whereby their security and social wellbeing is prioritized in a way that the wealth of the people is not concentrated in a few hands as required of a democracy, the aberration of this reality is what obtains.
Consequently, as the 2018 – 2019 elections approach and with the excruciating conditions of living of the majority, Nigerians must rise in unison to struggle for the assertion of their socio-economic rights as dialectically required components of a democracy under best practices. Chapter 2 of the Nigerian constitution should be the guide in the choices we make in the elections by ensuring that the governments at all levels commit to the security and social welfare of the populace before earning their votes.
The economic practice of neo-liberalism that has continued to be imposed on country by successive governments is antithetical to democracy given that it has only succeeded in widening the gap between the rich and the poor. The Bretton Woods institution dictated neo-liberal policies which have failed almost in every country it had been imbibed must be abandoned to achieve a socio-economically harmonious existence of the people.
Beyond elections, Nigerians must invigorate the struggles for social emancipation holistically because the present status quo will perpetually ensure penury in their lives if the system is not overhauled and replaced with a more humane one that would guarantee the social welfare and security of life and property. Today, if Beko was to be alive, he shall definitely lead the campaign for socio-economic rights, not campaign for one thieving party or the other through the rituals of four yearly balloting:
SOCIO-ECONOMIC RIGHTS ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE: LET’S DEMAND FOR ITS ENFORCEABILITY IN THE COURTS OF LAW AS NIGERIANS:
The right of all Nigerians to work and to be well remunerated must be recognized
Right of all to be well Sheltered – Housing for all
Right to Education at all levels at the expense of the State
Right to receive medical treatment at the expense of the State
Social Welfare Schemes for Nigerians, for the aged and physically and mentally challenged
Unemployment Benefit Package for all adults that not productively engaged.
Fair wages for fair labour
Management of the commanding heights of the national economy for the benefits of the entire nation and never concentrated in the hands of a cabal.
Bridge the gaps between the wretched and the super-rich, economic inequalities and social injustice.
“Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.” — Frantz Fanon
The electorates of Ekiti must shun amala and ‘stomach infrastructure’ politics now, and that is the generation role history has imposed on us. Once again, I thank the organizers for this delightful opportunity, I am humbled.
Thank you all for your attention. Long Live Ekiti! Long Live Nigeria!!