by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Elder statesman, Tanko Yakassai, has risen in defence of Isa-Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, as some Nigerians insisted on his resignation over his past sermons on Boko Haram and Osama Bin Laden.
The Second Republic politician said in Kano on Tuesday that the minister’s public apology and expression of regret over his past religious utterances were enough atonement.
“A series of reports, complete with audio-graphic accomplishments, had unearthed a number of Islamic sermons delivered years ago by Isa-Ali Ibrahim Pantami, which indicated sympathy for Osama Bin Laden and defended Boko Haram sect,” Yakasai stated.
Speaking with reporters, however, Yakassai insisted that those, who were pushing for his resignation, were not coming out clean to Nigerians, adding that, “I think that his public apology should be enough.
“The people, who are bent on pursuing him up to this moment, even after he had apologized for these remarks, are certainly engaged in the pursuit of something else … maybe a witch-hunt,” he stated.
“When someone admits to his mistake and, in addition to that, apologies for that mistake, I think that, that should be enough. What is expected of him – that is, to own up to his mistake and to apologize – has been done publicly,” he stated.
“If he resigns, does it change anything? Would his resignation change what he said and uttered in the past? Every religion accepts apology and repentance,” Yakassai noted, while adding that, “Every one of us must have made a mistake, while we were growing up,” he said.
Yakassai argued that, if everyone was to be held responsible for his past mistakes, then, none is guiltless, assertiing that, “As people grow up, they gain new insights about life, refine their life-ways and discard some of their old beliefs and positions.”
He also said he was convinced that Pantami had truly repented from his past sympathies, while adding that those, who were still doubtful of his ‘transfiguration,’ would have to wait to see, if he still held those positions or would go back them, before they could charge at him.
He encouraged Nigerians, especially young persons, to be mindful of their public utterances so as not be hunted by those same remarks in the future.