BY ANAYO ONUKWUGHA, Port Harcourt
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has called on the minister of communications and digital economy, Dr Isa Pantami, to resign from office, irrespective of his recent volte-face on his previous support for extremist groups.
The governor noted that in an ideal society, an allegation that the United States of America has placed a serving minister on its watch list as regards to terrorism should jolt any government into action.
Wike spoke yesterday while speaking on a live television programme monitored in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
He said: “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, 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.”
The governor stated that the minister ought to have resigned from the government immediately the information about his extremist views in support of terror groups became a matter of public discourse.
Wike described as worrisome the decision of the federal government to remain mute amidst the raging controversy about the minister’s sympathy for global terrorist groups.
He said: “I don’t understand why any reasonable government will allow such a person to be in the cabinet.”
The governor noted that the All Progressives Congress (APC)- led federal government is known for its proclivity to shield persons of questionable characters, even when the country’s secret service presents overwhelming evidence against such individuals.
Wike said: “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 a power play.”
He took a swipe on the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for not taking stern disciplinary action against former governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, who recently claimed he conspired with others to ensure that President Goodluck Jonathan lost the 2015 presidential election.
The governor said: “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 that 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 done 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.”