Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, says the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami should 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 terrorism should jolt any government into action.
He stated this during an interview with the African Independent Television (AIT) in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on Tuesday.
“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 to regards to terrorism, no government can fold its hands and allow it.”
Governor Wike, said 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.
The governor 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.
“I don’t understand why a reasonable government will allow such a person to be in the cabinet.”
The governor noted the All Progressives Congress-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.
“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.”
Governor Wike also 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.
“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 the 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 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.”
Governor Wike stressed that as a leading opposition party in Nigeria, the PDP cannot afford to accept acts of gross indiscipline and impunity, because it might undermine its chances to wrest power from the APC in 2023.
He said it was heart-breaking to hear that while himself and others were campaigning for the PDP to win the 2015 general elections, the likes of Aliyu who ran for the Senate in the same general election, had hatched and executed a scheme to undermine the party.
“I sit back here as State governor, I suffer, I struggle and campaign for my State to produce the highest vote for PDP. somebody sits somewhere and he is boasting how they fought Jonathan and you want me to be happy? You have even insulted the people of the South-South.”
The governor demanded that Aliyu Babangida, who is a member of the Board of Trustee of the PDP should offer an unreserved apology to the party that provided him a platform to serve as two-term Governor of Niger State.
Governor Wike observed that the PDP as an opposition party has not been forceful in its attack on the policies of the ruling APC.
He emphasised that the business of any major opposition like the PDP is to bring to the fore inhumane policies of the ruling party before the public on daily basis and spur the people to vote out the government.
“I am not here to help APC. It is not my duty. My duty is to make sure APC fails. Because if I help them to win, then I (PDP) can’t take over government. So the business of my party is not to help them but to make sure they leave.”
The governor described the growing insecurity across the country as worrisome, particularly in the South-East. He said security agencies in Rivers state have taken proactive measures to ensure there are no security breaches.