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Dr Isa Ali Pantami delivering the annual Ramadan lecture.

I have gleaned with utmost interest how a supposed political slander or blackmail has slid into islamophobia perhaps without the understanding of the authors and that is most unfortunate. While reading some of the latest articles regarding Pantamis’s preaching in the past which bordered on terrorism tendencies as well as public service matters, I developed much concern about how being an Islamic scholar has turned into a sort of a ping pong ball for every Tom, dick and Harry who wishes to score a cheap political point using Islam and this cannot be acceptable because those sort of people require education about Islam and how just like Christianity or any cause in the world Islam equally deserves to have scholars who must be respected even if their teachings don’t make sense to the non- muslims.

What even caught me most was my attempt to understand the motive behind such publications. I thought it to be definitely political considering the timing of it and the growing interest in Pantami becoming a Vice President to any candidate from the south. So could be it be an attempt to whittle down Pantami’s acceptability ahead of 2023? If yes, that it’s a wrong calculation using islamophobia especially if they could remember quickly the recent case with Buhari whom Islamophobia made even more popular and finally catapulted him to the presidency by returning the bloc votes of the northern and southern Muslims alike.

Are the promoters of such publications attempting to help the Muslims identify terrorists amongst them? That will be funny and cheap to say the least because the Muslims in Nigeria have been known to always distance themselves from what affects their religion in bad light mostly through the ballots or even protests and all. The promoters couldn’t have been trying to remind Muslims about what’s going on in their religion.

They also went ahead to share preachings of Dr Pantami and I couldn’t also understand if they were trying to teach Muslims how to understand and decipher through Islamic teachings or perhaps trying to insist that non-Muslims must hate Muslims and see every Muslim preacher as a terrorist or sympathizer. Both scenarios are extremely counter productive and should have been thought twice before publishing or engaging in.

Regarding the issue about participation in public service or not, let me refer you to my earlier article titled ‘Pantami and his citizen right to political opinion’ which can be found here I highlighted a scenario where we had all harbored different opinions about the polity in different times depending on the variables and scenarios at the time. Pantami started his preaching and education journey so early in life and that is commendable and sort of mentorship for upcoming generations. He must have grown in experience and understanding of the world politics and must be seen so many things different  while the enormous knowledge of Islam that he is endowed with remains same. Therefore those opinions are immaterial especially because the attitude of the players at the time was enough to make one despise politics and public service. Pantami has however used the opportunity given to him to showcase leadership to be different from those times.

In view of the foregoing, it will be foolhardy to insist on trying to drag the religion of Islam just to make an Islamic scholar look bad before his fellow Muslims and reasonable Christians who through the emergence of Buhari have since understood some of these cheap games. What you end up doing instead is making Pantami more popular especially amongst Muslims whose religion you’re ignorantly trying to drag to pass home your ill thought out strategy.  

Let me take you to history lane to understand that it was same sort of narratives that made Buhari’s profile to rise amongst the Muslim population to extent that the Kardashian states started to chunk out the millions of votes that made Buhari a two term president and the rest is history.

Finally, on behalf of Dr Isa Pantami, I wish to thank the proponents of those mischievous publications for having increased the level of his goodwill to the extent of also vindicating our earlier affirmation of the #DigitalAgenda23 as most ideal political ideology for the 2023 and beyond. Clearly they have succeeded in assembling all the political goodwill that a southern presidential candidate requires to win the election on the feet of Dr Isa Ali Pantami. The various political elites and pundits must take note of this going forward!

God bless Nigeria!

Hashim Suleiman

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